The rather splendid Troxy, nestling in the heart of the City of London, will be the swanky venue for the 2019 UK Bus Awards. I am as ever really looking forward to attending, although this year I will not be presenting the Young Bus Manager award on behalf of CILT. The reason being that this year I am delighted that Metroline are sponsoring the award, and I am indebted to my very good friend Andrew Hunter, the co chairman of the Bus and Coach forum, who has stepped into the breach and is sponsoring the award. To be fair CILT have sponsored the Young Manager award for the last 10 years, and while this year budgetary issues intervened, I am optimistic that they will be back at the awards next year.

So, this year I can enjoy the event without having to worry about tripping up, or make an idiot of myself, as I hand out the gongs to the winners in the past. It also interesting to note just how well many of them have done since they won the award. This in many ways is indicative of the validity of the award, and the tenacity and lively scrutiny of the judging process. I have been honoured to be a judge for several years now, it is a great experience, but believe me, you do need to put a shift in, as the judging process is comprehensive and passionate. And quite frankly, so it should be, these awards are important and hard fought, and more importantly they really do celebrate the great people, products, and Companies that this amazing Industry produces year on year.

In many ways this years awards finds the Industry in a very exciting and potentially positive position than it has been in for many years. The General election has seen the main political parties actually endorse the role of the bus industry more than ever before. The promotion of a national bus strategy following the recommendations of the Transport select committee, offer some excellent growth options for the Industry, after years of isolation, withdrawal of funding, and declining passenger numbers. The UK Bus awards seeks to promote all the great positives that go unheralded, and even better propose excellent PR stories to get the upbeat messages of success out into the local communities that we serve.

So, all the very best of luck to all those who were short listed, it is a great feeling when you get that email telling you that you are in the mix. It would be human if you did not feel that excitement that guess what it might be you. And it is always great when you see the joy that people feel when they win an award, and fair play to all of those individuals and Companies for putting themselves forward. As ever, there can only be one winner, but the event itself is a great celebration, as well as a superb networking event, that lives up to its mantra to inspire, recognise, and reward. I will as ever report back on who wins what and where, Onwards and Upwards

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