Her customers describe her as “bubbly, smiley, welcoming and friendly” – and now award-winning Transdev bus driver Stephanie Graham is the voice of the Government’s safety campaign during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Stephanie, who works for Transdev subsidiary The Keighley Bus Company in West Yorkshire, has been chosen to become the voice of the nation’s bus drivers in a new radio advertising campaign reminding everyone using public transport to follow three simple instructions – observe social distancing, wear a face covering while on the bus and wash or sanitise hands before and after travel.
The radio advertisements will be heard by millions of listeners to national and local radio stations.
Stephanie was selected by the Department for Transport (DfT) to take part in the campaign after she became the first winner of a new “Customer Choice” prize at parent firm Transdev’s Amazing Awards earlier this year. Transdev bus companies serving Yorkshire and Lancashire competed to be named among the region’s finest, and Stephanie’s warm and friendly personality combined with her smooth and safe driving saw her chosen by customers to win the award.
Stephanie said: “I’m very proud to play my part in helping to get essential safety information across to people who travel by bus across the whole country – at a time like this, it’s vital that we do everything we can to make sure customers are well informed before making a journey with us.
“I’m looking forward to hearing the radio messages, and while I’m sure one or two of my regular customers will know it’s me, the most important thing is to get the message out there that bus travel can be safe for everyone if we all follow the simple guidelines to control the virus and save lives.”
Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “We’re delighted that Stephanie’s voice will be heard on radios across the country – Stephanie epitomises everything that’s amazing about the people who deliver our services to thousands of customers across the North every day.
“Buses have a vitally important role to play in restarting the nation’s economy safely, after helping key workers and those who depend on us to access essential services throughout the lockdown. We fully endorse the safety messages behind this campaign, and with Stephanie as it’s voice, we’re sure it’ll be heard and heeded throughout the country.”
The DfT’s search for a friendly bus driver to become the voice of its new campaign was supported by the Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT), the trade association representing the UK’s bus and coach industry. Throughout the pandemic the CPT has supported the Department for Transport’s Safer Transport campaign to communicate safety information to customers, using posters at bus stops and social media images to deliver clear guidance covering every stage of a journey by bus.
Stephanie became the first to receive the “Customer Choice” prize at Transdev’s Amazing Awards in February after the bus firm invited thousands of its customers across the North to name their favourite driver via postal and online nominations – and to give reasons for their selection.
As well as the kind words for Stephanie’s personality, many also commented favourably on her skills behind the wheel, with added praise for her smooth and safe driving which makes customers feel safe and comfortable every time they travel on her bus.
Comedy star Ted Robbins, famed as villainous Den Perry from Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and for roles in Holby City, Doctors, Brookside and Coronation Street, guest hosted the event alongside Master of Ceremonies and Yorkshire’s favourite newsreader, BBC Look North’s Harry Gration.