So, my facebook page tells me that the judging has now formally begun to find the worthy winners of the 2019 UK Bus Awards. These awards are excellent and unless I am mistaken this year will be the 24th year that they have been recognising, rewarding and inspiring the people who are the members of the UK Bus community. Winning an award is an amazing experience, I have been lucky to have both won the Innovation award in 2013 when uTrack were crowned the winners for the National Express Coach App. Back in 2009 I came second, as they say no one remembers the runner up, and maybe that is true, I dont know.

What I do know however is that a huge amount of work goes into the planning, organising, judging and then presenting these prestigious awards. I know because I have been a judge for the past 6 years. I know how hard the small but very dedicated team work to make this event not just happen but each year work hard to keep the event and the categories topical and attractive. In fairness this constant attention and stakeholder reviews result in a range of new initiatives and categories reflecting changes in the industry. The other thing that I notice is just what winning and indeed being shortlisted means to those who get to that stage, and the tangible excitement of those who wait with baited breath when those golden envelopes get opened and winners name revealed.

I have also been lucky enough to present the award to the Young Bus Manager category, which CILT sponsor. It is an exciting experience to be honest as you stand on standby in the wings waiting to go onto the stage and have your 30 second to plug your organisation, and why you are sponsoring an award. I was once famously told after I had done my bit by one legend of the bus industry, that he always enjoys my spot, as I come over with all the conviction of a game show host. Mind you it is always a slight gamble when you try and be funny. I once said when doing my bit “Remember ladies and gentlemen an young Manager is for life not just for Christmas”, Thinking it might raise a laugh or two, it did not just a very still silence and tumbleweed blew across the stage.

So, I will as ever enjoy the rough and tumble of the fiercely fought debates to select the very best of the best. The debates do get quite heated but that is a good thing as it means that the judges are passionate and care about the results. Fortunately the one and only John Owen OBE, a stalwart of the awards is on hand to referee when passions and tempers get high. So we will wait and see who the winners are in November at the Troxy in central London will host the event for the third year running, and I will as ever report back my dear chums.

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