Reading Buses has been shortlisted for three categories in the 19th annual UK Bus Awards which includes the opportunity to defend their title of Top Shire Operator which they won last year.
Talking about their nomination once again for Top Shire Operator, the company say the key to their success is ‘putting customers at the heart of everything they do.’
They have improved their staff training year on year, invested in newer, cleaner buses and improved frequencies on many services to increase passenger numbers which they hope will stand them in good stead on the night the winner is announced.
As part of the company’s ongoing quest to keep improving services for customers, they are being recognised for their marketing and communications activity with a nomination for the ‘Sustained Marketing Excellence Award.’
Covering all elements of marketing from branding to customer communication, the nomination shows that Reading Buses understand the importance of getting the right information out to customers at the right time.
Jake Osman, Reading Buses Marketing and Communications Manager, said all activity in this discipline is driven by thinking about the customer and what they need, or want, to know.
“This has seen great results, with activity such as the smartcard campaign making more people aware of the savings through buying their travel online,” Jake said. “This has helped us to encourage more people to travel by bus.”
They have also been nominated for the category ‘Making Buses a Better Choice’ which encourages people to take the bus instead of other transport.
Using their Lower Caversham Shuttle as the example, they have shown that listening to customers – and examining passenger usage – simple initiatives can increase bus users. The company lowered the fare to a simple £1 flat price which helped to steadily increase passenger numbers – which was supported by a complete rebrand and improvement of the service – including free WiFi and next stop onboard announcements.
The company says that the service is something that new and existing customers can be proud of. Customers have voted with their feet with 13% more customers in the past year.
Jake said: “It’s fantastic to be nominated in these three categories for such a prestigious awards ceremony.
“We work hard to offer our customers the best possible service. We are indebted to all our staff who work tirelessly year in year out to provide a service that we hope the people of Reading are truly proud of.”
He continued: “We have a great relationship with the people of Reading and their feedback is vital so we can evolve and grow. We are able to increase our service as more people choose to travel by bus – something that is remarkably illustrated by having a second route, claret 21, becoming a 24/7 operation.
“Obviously there are still challenges, such as our experiences with current roadworks, but these nominations show that the work our staff are doing on the ground and behind the scenes really is paying dividends,” he added.