[Bath bus driver Andy Evered, who was named First Bus’ Driver of the Year and came fourth across the UK receives his awards from First Bus Chief Operating Officer Andrew Jarvis]
A bus driver from Bath has been named the second best driver in England and Wales at a national competition.
Sixty-one-year-old Andy Evered, who has been with First Bus for almost 36 years, received the top accolade at the bus industry’s prestigious Bus Driver of the Year awards. The prize also helped him clinch the title of First Group’s highest placed competitor, securing him £1,000.
Overall in the UK he was placed fourth, behind two Scottish drivers in second and third place, which helped Andy scoop an additional £750.
Meanwhile, First Cymru’s Michael McDonnell, who is based at the company’s Bridgend depot, was named the best driver in Wales.
Doug Claringbold, Managing Director of First Wales and West of England, said: “Massive congratulations to Andy and Michael who have done our team proud, and helped put First Cymru and First West of England on the map.
“They were put through their paces among dozens of other drivers, and, rightfully, have come home with these great prizes, and the hugely sought-after titles of being among the best drivers in the UK.
“As one of our colleagues said recently, being a bus driver means carrying the most precious cargo – our passengers – so, being judged some of the best drivers by our peers in the industry is a huge accolade for our company, and, more importantly, for Andy and Michael as individuals.”
The awards were handed out by First Bus Chief Operating Officer Andrew Jarvis at a ceremony in Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel where 300 supporters and family congratulated those scooping awards.
Mr Jarvis commended the high standards of driving on display and used his own 30-year career experience to illustrate the progression that can be achieved in the bus industry.
This was the 55th Bus Driver of the Year awards, which are annually held in Blackpool, where competitors are put through their paces in a competition on the seafront that sees them compete for the sought-after Driver of the Year top prize.
On competition day, those taking part are tasked with working for the fictitious Middle Walk Bus Company, and are all expected to adhere to the fictional company’s code of conduct, including rules on dress code, drink and drugs policies and its general driving style.
The day simulates the driver’s normal day, with each driver receiving their own personal timetable, and for up to four hours, the Bus Driver of the Year awards operates the most intensive bus service in the UK, with competitors leaving every two minutes on the three-mile course where they are judged for about 20 minutes.
Joe Mackie, Chairman of the UK Bus Driver of the Year Association, congratulated all the trophy winners and thanked the dedicated volunteers who make the competition possible.