Alex Hornby, the company’s Chief Executive, received the prize in front of more than 200 guests representing the town’s business and tourism community at a gala dinner at Harrogate’s Edwardian Royal Hall.
More than 1,500 nominations were received in 12 categories for the awards, organised and hosted by Destination Harrogate, a trade association representing the leading 10 hotels in the heart of the town.
Together they welcome almost 300,000 guests each year to enjoy Harrogate as a superb visitor destination, and as a base to explore the wider region.
Alex Hornby’s nomination for the award was led by Brian Dunsby OBE, former Chief Executive of Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce and current Managing Director of the company which operates Harrogate’s highly successful Christmas Market.
In the winning nomination, Mr Dunsby notes that The Harrogate Bus Company “brings literally thousands of people into the Harrogate District every day” and says of CEO Alex Hornby: “He has led the repositioning of a 500-vehicle, 1,200-person business through a customer and product focussed strategy that is bucking the trend to deliver passenger growth.
“He is a keen promoter of partnerships with both public bodies and private sector organisations, which have helped resolve funding gaps and brought significant innovation to his industry,
“In his role as Chief Executive Officer he has transformed a network of bus services across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire - but most notably in Harrogate, where The Harrogate Bus Company leads the way on several industry-leading innovations.”
Mr Dunsby also highlights The Harrogate Bus Company’s achievements on the national stage, as winners of the hotly-contested UK’s Small and Medium Bus Operator of the Year prize at the industry’s premier 2018 Route One Awards – with the Manager of the Year prize at the same event going to CEO Alex Hornby.
The company has also won recognition closer to home, being named as the Best Large Company of the Year in this year’s Harrogate Advertiser Excellence in Business Awards.
Alex Hornby said: “As someone who strongly believes that buses should have a positive impact in the towns they serve, it is with great pride - and a superb reflection of the work of our people - that we are recognised in this way in a town we are proud to serve, at our company I am immensely proud to lead.
“Our shared business vision to create Britain’s first Low Emissions Bus Town has come to life in our unique and innovative Harrogate Electrics buses, which provide a highly popular service to residents and visitors.
“We also work closely with local business partners, such as The Spirit of Harrogate, owners of the famous Slingsby Gin, to provide free travel for everyone on our electric buses every Sunday.
“Marketed as Sunday Freeway, it’s proving a great success, with customer numbers up by 70 per cent, while delivering a significant boost to Harrogate’s economy.
“Every single person in our team in Harrogate and across each of our operating centres makes a valued contribution to our shared success, and as always, our people are at the heart of everything we do.”
There’s more good news for Alex and his Harrogate team, as they have now been nominated again as finalists in the 2019 Route One Awards in the Environment Award category for the Harrogate Electrics project to deliver Britain’s first Low Emissions Bus Town.
The winners will be announced in London on October 2.