With over 1500 employees, the local bus operator is celebrating its staff success as top trio Simon Broughton from Peterlee, Dan Jones from Thornaby and Colin Brown from Redcar are recognised for their exceptional driving.
Hartlepool-born Simon, 30, until recently a bus driver and now deputy duty manager at Stagecoach North East’s Hartlepool depot, has won the Regional Bus Driver of the Year accolade for the second year. He was joined by colleagues Dan, 34, a bus driver at the Teesside bus depot in Stockton in second place, and 44-year old Colin Brown in third place, also a bus driver at the Stockton depot.
All three drivers had to complete a series of vigorous tests to challenge their driving skills, including a theory test on all aspects of the Highway Code, road safety and hazard awareness, and a comprehensive driving test assessed by Driving Standards Manager Joe Carr, who organised the competition. The drivers had to achieve at least 85 percent score, and were given penalty points for any incorrect answers or marked down for wrong manoeuvres.
Each driver was also assessed on their individual record, with a low Ecodriver score from the company’s green driving programme, excellent attendance and no accidents.
A bus driver for four years, Simon was delighted to win again and also represent Stagecoach North East as a finalist at the national Bus Driver of the Year Awards in Blackpool. He said: “Although I didn’t place as high as I did last year in the national competition, I was delighted to make the finals for a second year and to be placed in the top twenty for all Stagecoach drivers across the country. My wife and I had an excellent weekend and to come top in the north east again is a real achievement.”
Dan Jones, a bus driver for only two years, has completed his first driving challenge and was delighted to achieve second place. He said: “I was encouraged to take part because of my low Ecodriver scores. I’m really pleased for my first attempt, as I have never done anything like this before. It all adds to the role as bus driver, which I really enjoy as love meeting new people and it can be different every day. ”
Colin - a bus driver for 15 years who also works as a relief cash clerk and provides reliability monitoring – also entered the regional competition for the first time and was happy to be placed third. He said: “I wanted to do it myself because it is very much part of my job and I enjoy it. It is a proper challenge and I like a challenge. Competitions like this make the job even more varied and interesting, as well as the customers and the team back at the depot, who are very supportive.”
Colin Newbury, Operations Director at Stagecoach North East presented prizes to the top drivers, with Simon winning a cash boost of £250 for first place, Dan receiving £150 for second place and Colin taking home a £100 prize for third place.
He said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Simon, Dan and Colin and we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate our drivers and their outstanding results. Alongside our initiatives such as Ecodriver, Fleet Elite and Rosco Safe Driving Awards, the bus driver awards are another example of our drivers taking training to the next level and providing excellent customer service along the way.”
Joe Carr, Driving Standards Manager for Stagecoach North East, said: “It is great to see so many of our staff put themselves forward for this competition and represent the company. Simon, Dan and Colin have pushed themselves to set a very high standard for others to follow and they can feel justly proud of their achievements.”