Today the UK Bus Awards will honour the commitment to quality and innovation in the bus industry. You'll be pleased to hear there's a special category for London promoted by TfL which "focus especially on the challenging task of running reliable and high-quality services in the capital." So there will be awards for Best London Bus Garage, London Bus Service Quality Award and Top London Bus Driver.
The last category will be a major challenge as I rarely meet a cheerful bus driver (one of my brothers is a London bus driver so I speak from experience) and they seem to take pleasure in charging past stops when you're running for a bus. Another skill is looking as though they're about wait for you as you're running & then pulling off sharply. It'll also be interesting to see if a bendy bus driver wins this category.
Earlier in November, I missed blogging about the Railway Interiors Innovation and Excellence Awards. These worldwide gongs were handed out to "recognise and reward the rapidly increasing sophistication of railcar interior design, equipment, technology and furnishings."
I don't think the London Underground is classed as a railway as the Tube weren't in the shortlist for any of these awards. Although the Tube's not exactly sophisticated or that innovative when it comes to interiors. It tends to take the lead from other countries.
However, amongst all the overseas winners, there was one UK winner. Virgin Trains won Passenger Service Innovation of the Year for "overall passenger service excellence".
Had the judges travelled on a Virgin Train recently? I hadn't noticed anything particularly innovative about their "passenger service". Maybe apart from the fact they're calling us passengers now and not customers.
Ross Spicer, operations director Virgin Trains, collected the award and said, "Upping the standards of service is our goal, across all passenger classes. Investment in new trains is part of this, but there must also be investment in staff to improve the service. It's about the people, not just the trains."
Very noble and if you've any examples of Virgin Trains excellence (or otherwise) in passenger service, I've love to hear them.
Good luck to all in the UK Bus Awards today. But it's sad to report that UK's most famous bus driver, Reg Varney, died on Sunday 16th November. Varney played Stan Butler in the long running Seventies ITV sitcom "On The Buses".
Transport for London gave a nod back to the cheerful seventies image of London Transport in their recent campaign for the Freedom Pass for senior citizens (see the picture above & at the start of this blog post).
On the Buses painted a picture of London bus drivers as a group of work shy, lecherous, sexist, union driven, cheeky chaps. However, it was a big part of my TV viewing as a kid and part of me hopes there'll be a re-run of the series or films.