The region’s biggest bus company, Go North East, has been shortlisted for 11 top accolades in recognition of its commitment to excellence in the transport and tourism industries.
Celebrating the bus operator’s achievements on a national and regional stage, the succession of results was announced by the UK Bus Awards, North East England Tourism Awards and North of England Transport Awards within the last month.
The acclaimed UK Bus Awards acknowledge Go North East’s success in seven categories, spanning the areas of environment and sustainability, marketing excellence and innovation.
One of the projects in with the chance of scooping an award is Go North East’s new Service Delivery Centre – codenamed the ‘Nerve Centre Revolution’.
The £250,000 facility utilises the eyes and ears of real-time tracking; a rapid-response on-the-ground team; live CCTV traffic cameras; roadworks intelligence; ticket-machine messaging; radio and telephone calls; a smartphone app; and social media to bring universal customer benefits.
Two members of staff have also been recognised for their individual contributions, including bus station supervisor, John Gordon who is competing for the Unsung Heroes prize.
John, bus station supervisor at Eldon Square, was nominated for consistently going above and beyond the call duty to help Go North East customers, including undertaking sign language training in his own time to better support hearing impaired passengers. John’s efforts have also seen him shortlisted for the Frontline Employee of the Year category at the North of England Transport Awards.
The inaugural awards, aimed at celebrating efficient, high quality transport services across the region has shortlisted Go North East for the Transport Project of the Year category, as well as the highly anticipated Public Transport Operator of the Year award.
Go North East will go head-to-head in the race for the prestigious title, facing competition from regional public transport providers based in the North West, Yorkshire and the company’s native North East.
Also among its 2016 honours, the Gateshead-based bus operator has been selected as a contender for the Inclusive Tourism category at the North East England Tourism Award.
As a shortlisted entrant, Go North East will automatically go on to compete nationally at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2017.
The award is aimed at recognising organisations that have demonstrated commitment to providing inclusive tourism experiences for all visitors, particularly disabled people and others with physical and sensory access needs such as older people.
As part of the shortlisting process, the judging panel was welcomed aboard Go North East’s new Castles Express service to experience the fleet’s accessible features first-hand.
Starting at Go North East’s flagship Riverside bus depot, the judges journeyed on the easy access bus around Gateshead, taking a scenic tour along the Tyne while experiencing inclusive travel features such as audio-visual next stop announcements. The party passed Saltwell Park, where the bus operator has sponsored a ceramic dog on the Great North Snowdog’s trail – a charitable initiative led by regional hospice St Oswald’s, before visiting the Angel of the North and returning back to the depot.
Kevin Carr, managing director at Go North East said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for these awards as each of the 11 categories showcases the breadth of our commitment to providing high-quality services right across the organisation.
“This year, we invested £10.5m into the business which has helped us to continue to raise the bar for bus travel in the North East. By introducing new technologies, services and vehicles to enhance the customer journey, we ensure we can meet all our customer needs, no matter what they may be.
“We will look forward to the results of the awards and regardless of the outcomes, Go North East will remain focused on working closely with our customers to constantly improve and innovate within the industry.”
Winners of the North East Tourism Awards will be revealed on 22 November 2016 followed by the UK Bus Awards on 23 November. The North of England Transport Award winners will be announced on 7 December.
For more information about Go North East, visit www.gonortheast.co.uk.