It’s been a momentous week at Bus & Coach Buyer because after over 20 years at the Publishing Centre in Spalding the team, along with those of Coach Tours UK and Market Trade News, has moved to AT Graphics’ Peterborough headquarters. Sadly, a few of our number, including long serving production manager, Sandy Brooks, have decided not to relocate and we will miss them, but I’m heartened that the sales team led by Sallyanne Davis, are all settling into their new environment where production designer, Andy Smith and staff writer, Chris Peat, have been for a little while. For me, packing up 24 years worth of accumulated printed matter, photographs and other assorted clutter in my office has given me a strange feeling; a combination of great memories and new possibilities tinged with just a little trepidation.
The UK Bus Awards ceremony on Tuesday was one of the more uplifting days of the year and well done to everybody who was shortlisted. Stagecoach Manchester did fabulously well to cap the Top City Operator title with the overall UK Bus Operator of the Year title. I always think it is difficult for an operation within one of the big groups to differentiate itself, on top of which Manchester isn’t the easiest of patches and the standard of the competition was incredibly high, so this was really a most impressive victory clinched on the basis of a great showing in the mystery traveller checks. It wasn’t the one that made me smile the most though, nor, I think, the one that raised the biggest cheer, that was for Lothian Buses’ Raul Campos Folgado, the Top National Bus Driver. Raul, who came to Edinburgh from Spain five years ago, was so clearly overjoyed at his victory that he skipped, whooping, to the stage to collect the award where he grabbed the microphone to say ‘thank you’. It was fabulous to see such passion and illustrates why awards that recognise the contribution of individuals are so important.