Double Delight for Stagecoach Manchester at 18th UK Bus Awards

Greater Manchester operator wins Best UK Operator and Best City Operator awards

Optare Solo MK59 BLU, Stagecoach Manchester, Ashton-under-Lyne bus station
Up to now, 2013 has been a memorable year for Stagecoach Manchester. Their recent acquisition of Bluebird Bus and Coach is illustrated by the treatment of this Optare Solo in their standard livery. This is seen at Ashton-under-Lyne bus station about to begin a journey on the 317 to Stockport. Quite a difference from its previous stamping ground in North Manchester.

The eighteenth UK Bus Awards was a memorable one for Stagecoach Manchester, who walked away with two awards at London’s prestigious Hilton Hotel [Park Lane] today. GMS Buses’ forerunners have already been commended and have won smaller awards in previous events. This time, they have picked up the highest honour in UK bus operation.

Over 650 movers and shakers from the UK bus industry were present with prizes in 21 categories covering all operational aspects, marketing, planning and delivery. The finalists were chosen from over 250 entries by panels of independent judges.

As well as Stagecoach Manchester’s success, Stagecoach London’s West Ham operation was named London Bus Garage of the Year. The Independent Operator of the Year award went to Norfolk Green.

Congratulating all the successful finalists, UK Bus Awards chairman John Owen commented; “Once again the awards have provided a magnificent showcase for the many projects and organisations delivering quality and innovation in a wide range of disciplines. But it’s more than clever marketing and embracing new technology. It’s about the people delivering excellent standards of service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“Few would have believed the current difficult economic conditions would last this long, yet we see evidence everywhere of optimism and investment,” he continued.

The Keynote Address was given by Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport, believed to be her first appearance at a major industry event since her appointment.

John Owen added; “Being our 18th year, it could be said that the UK Bus Awards have truly come of age. Each year we have seen the bar being raised, which now makes every finalist a true winner.”

The lunchtime ceremony was hosted by BBC News Presenter Jane Hill and Lord Snape, Chairman of the Bus Appeals Board, presented the Awards.

In the last year, Stagecoach Manchester has acquired First Greater Manchester’s Wigan operation, and Bluebird Bus and Coach. It has also continued its investment in electric hybrid buses with a fourth batch of 38 vehicles to follow. Here’s to an equally successful 2014!

S.V., 19 November 2013.

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