The awards were for people who were "making a real difference to transport across London". Although "people" in most cases meant "organisations", it was was lovely to see that there were some awards for individuals, such as "Frontline Employee of the Year". Two London Underground staff were nominated & two bus drivers from First London Buses. I was personally delighted to see Tim Pinn (aka Mr Warwick Avenue), who was nominated not just for his cheery white board notices, but his "excellent rapport with customers" and that he "always takes time to ask after family members and share a joke with them. He is constantly on the lookout for customers who may need assistance and always greets customers as they pass." Mystery shopper & customer feedback demonstrate "he is always active in his willingness to provide impeccable customer service and leave a very positive impression of LU on customers".
I met Tim after the ceremony (he didn't win the overall prize, that went to Dagenham Driver Phil Hiett), and Tim was charming, bubbling over with enthusiasm and a naturally likeable man. You can see why he was nominated and it was great to see a Tube member of staff who has a Facebook page "We love extraordinary Tim Pinn", for all the right reasons.
I didn't meet the other LU nominee, Andy Cutting, line specialist at Baker Street, but learnt that he was behind solving problems with customer information at Edgware Road "by advising that the key to improving this area was by improving communication between the signal cabin and the station team" leading to a reduction in complaints. The drivers were nominated for competent driving (obviously) but also charity work and awareness of the community. Phil had spotted an elderly pedestrian who was disorientated and took her to the nearest police station so she could be cared for.
In our everyday commutes, its all too easy to think of all London Underground or bus staff as 'faceless' individuals, jobsworths or strike happy union members, who really don't care about us. Obviously people don't just work to win awards, but it's pleasing to know there are are a lot more people like Tim around and good to see them publicly recognised - not just through awards but in the press, on blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook pages. If you have any stories of Tube staff that make your day, I'd love to hear about them.
All of the winners and nominees for the London Transport Awards can be found here. Other London Underground related awards went to Kings Cross St Pancras for LUL Customer Service Team of the Year, South Quay for Rail Station of the Year (beating King's Cross St Pancras Tube, Streatham Hill and Mitcham Junction) and London Overground won Public Transport Operator of the Year. The Oyster Extension to National Rail won the award for Excellence in Technology and Innovation.
Thanks very much to the press team at TfL for inviting me along the awards and for being great company at dinner! Thanks also to John Bull at London Reconnections for being an excellent drinking partner and fount of knowledge for all things London Transport related. There's a few more pictures from the Transport Awards here.