The Harrogate Bus Company is celebrating triple wins at the Route One Awards, which are widely seen as the coach industry’s most sought-after accolades.
Awards judges at the presentation in Birmingham named The Harrogate Bus Company the UK’s Small and Medium Bus Operator of the Year, a prize hotly contested by companies running up to 150 buses.
The company’s service delivery manager Andy Turnbull – who only joined the operator as a graduate trainee in 2016 – was named a joint winner in the Rising Star category, which recognises the UK bus and coach industry’s brightest prospects.
And the Harrogate firm’s successful night was completed as Alex Hornby, CEO of its parent company, Transdev Blazefield, was named Manager of the Year among larger bus operators.
Mr Hornby said: “These awards are the perfect way to cap off an outstanding year of progress here by our amazing team here in Harrogate.
“Alongside our class-leading luxury bus product in the 36, we’ve made great strides towards creating the UK’s first low emission bus town with our Harrogate Electrics receiving widespread acclaim from the people who matter most of all – our customers.
“That pioneering approach has clearly caught the judges’ attention and I’m delighted that, in spite of fierce competition in this category, we are the UK’s Bus Operator of the Year.
“Our own Andy Turnbull – a great young leader of the future in the UK’s bus industry – is someone we’ve been proud to develop and invest in, and to see him named as joint winner of the Rising Star Award is a reflection of his talent and his commitment to deliver the best service we can.
“Most people who know me personally know how much I love what I do and I am extremely proud of how we run our business, and so being named Manager of the Year simply for doing something I enjoy so much really means a lot.
“But our success is really all about being part of a winning team of great people, and delivering the best experience we can for our customers every day is and always will be our number one passion.”
Based at Starbeck, a few miles from the town centre, The Harrogate Bus Company runs 75 buses, employs 204 local people and firm celebrated its 110 year birthday in 2016.
As well as a network of town services, it runs the frequent route 1 to Knaresborough and is perhaps best known for its luxurious 36 fleet.
Continued customer growth on the 36 has seen a 17 per cent increase in customers in 2018, with 65 per cent of users having access to a car but choosing to use the bus.
Further pioneering innovation saw the company successfully bid and win several rounds of Department of Transport funding to help create the UK’s first low-emission bus town, with nearly 20 buses now fitted with SCRT equipment which reduces NOx emissions by 96 per cent, alongside a fleet of 10 zero-emission 100 per cent electric buses used in the town and through Nidderdale.
A total of 80 bus and coach operators across the UK were shortlisted for this year’s Route One Awards.