Double awards success for Stagecoach

Posted: 8 November 2012 | Stagecoach | No comments yet

Stagecoach is celebrating after its businesses scooped two top honours at the 2012 Route One Operator Excellence Awards…

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Transport operator Stagecoach is celebrating after its businesses scooped two top honours at the 2012 Route One Operator Excellence Awards.

Stagecoach Manchester was named Large Bus Operator the Year at the Birmingham ceremony last night (Wednesday 7 November) while the overnight sleeper coach won the Coach Innovation of the Year honour.

Stagecoach Group was also shortlisted for the Green Award at this year’s event and Stagecoach Manchester Engineering Director Peter Sumner was named as a finalist in the Bus Engineer of the Year category.

Winning the Large Bus Operator of the Year title, Stagecoach’s Manchester operation was praised by judges for the consistent passenger growth it has achieved through continuing innovation, good customer service, vehicle presentation and the use of new technology. Stagecoach Manchester – which recently announced plans to acquire private operator Bluebird as well as FirstGroup’s Wigan bus business – currently employs 1,850 staff and operates 630 buses, carrying around 100million passengers a year.

The company has increased passenger numbers by 24% over the past 10 years through a series of innovations including the introduction of smart ticketing, the use of hybrid-electric vehicles, the launch of new routes and the construction of a state-of-the-art, green depot at Sharston.

Stagecoach Manchester Managing Director Christopher Bowles said: “To be recognised by our peers is a reflection of everyone’s hard work and dedication. We strive to ensure that our passengers receive the best possible service, which includes offering a greener, cleaner journey.

“We look forward to continuing our success in 2013 and further improving our service offering, which includes launching 40 more eco-friendly hybrid buses.”

The sleeper coach, which is operated through the Scottish Citylink joint venture between Stagecoach and international transport group ComfortDelGro, scooped the Coach Innovation of the Year award after establishing itself as a successful new transport option for people travelling overnight between Glasgow and London.

The service was launched in October 2011 and offers fares between £1 and £40*. It provides a direct, non-stop service between the two cities and offers passengers a bunk bed as well as a seat for their journey. The sleeper coaches, which operate one journey in each direction every night, have been specially converted to provide 24 berths and 24 seats. Customers also benefit from free wi-if, as well as a duvet and pillow and refreshments during their journey.

The service has proved popular among passengers, and has operated at 95% capacity since it was launched. Stagecoach has previously announced that it is now working in partnership with Belgian manufacturer Van Hool on a new 15-metre sleeper coach vehicle which would see the vehicle fitted with 55 seats and tables for use during the daytime, with the potential to be converted into 41 bunks for overnight services. General Manager Ian Laing said: “Winning this award is great recognition for everyone involved with the launch of the sleeper coach. More and more people are choosing to travel long distance by coach and this service has shown that, by introducing a new and innovative transport option, it is possible to attract even more people on to greener, smarter coach travel. We are delighted to win this award and I would like to thank all of our staff for their hard work in making this concept a reality.”

The Route One Operator Excellence Awards recognises and celebrates excellence among coach, bus and minibus operators across 16 award categories.

At last year’s Route One Awards, Stagecoach won the Green Award alongside bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis. In addition, Stagecoach London Engineering Director Darren Roe won the Bus Engineer of the Year Award at the 2011 event.

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