Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop MSP, gave the keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Transport Awards. She welcomed a sell-out audience of 425 transport industry professionals to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow on 22nd June 2023, to celebrate the people and organisations that make a real difference to transport across Scotland.
Ms Hyslop said:
"It was a tremendous honour to speak at tonight's awards ceremony and recognise the achievements of some previously unsung heroes in our transport sector.
"In my first full week as Transport Minister I was keen to attend this event and pay tribute to our bus drivers, ticket collectors, planners and people who keep the network running, even in the most challenging conditions, which we sometimes take for granted.
"It was also a welcome opportunity to set out my early priorities in my new role, as we look forward to an exciting summer for transport, not least the Cycling World Championships in August."
SPT were big winners on the night, picking up a hat-trick of awards. They won Best Bus Service for their work on keeping communities connected; Excellence in Travel Information & Marketing for delivering a Step-Change in Bus Passenger Information and Standards and an individual award for their Chief Executive, Valerie Davidson for her Outstanding Contribution to Transport.
It was also a big night for Lothian Buses who won two awards for their Excellence in Accessibility and Excellence in Technology & Innovation. The winning entry, LB Roads, in the Excellence in Technology & Innovation category particularly impressed the judges as the system was developed with their drivers in mind providing them the necessary information they need to make journeys safely on routes affected by hazards, accidents or diversions. What is more impressive is that there are direct spin-off benefits for passengers thanks to the improved customer service the system provides.
Edinburgh Trams scooped the coveted Public Transport Operator of the Year award with last year's winners, McGills Bus Group, picking up a commendation. The judges were impressed with Edinburgh Trams placing their staff at the heart of what they do which has paid dividends. Edinburgh Trams have spent the last year delivering more than 2000 tram journeys a week between Edinburgh city centre and the Airport, but it has also been rigorously preparing for the launch of its Newhaven extension, which launched earlier this month. Data from the system that tracks interactions with customers showed 70% were extremely satisfied with the service. Over two thirds were very satisfied with their first impression and almost all were happy with how they were treated.
Transport Scotland won the Transport Team / Partnership category for its hugely impressive and complex no-notice task associated with the death of the late Queen - the scale of which had never been seen before in the United Kingdom. Transport Scotland as the accountable and responsible organisation for the movement, established a Cortege Working Group which brought together representatives from partner agencies to ensure there was a consistent look and feel to the cortege movement, whilst ensuring the safety and security of all of those involved.
The Rail Supplier of the Year award went to Story Contracting for its social value strategy which tries to benefit all sections of the community and is a highly inclusive employer. Story is a partner supplier on Network Rail's framework and prides itself on delivering civil engineering projects on time and to budget and, importantly, to use the framework as an opportunity to give back to communities across Scotland's Railway. Story is one of only four plant providers in the UK to be awarded 'Gold' on Network Rail's Route to Gold for reliability and continuous improvement. AmcoGiffen received a commendation in this category.
Glasgow Airport won Airport of the Year. Its winning entry gave interesting insight to the operational challenges faced by airports once Covid restrictions were finally lifted in March 2022, and the strategy and staff response is commendable. Glasgow Airport, which had seen a third of employees leave the sector during the pandemic, went from a standing start to one of its biggest peak periods. Glasgow's Sustainability Strategy sets out its climate change responsibilities, which is tough for a company in the aviation sector, but its commitment to build the largest Scottish airport-based solar farm is impressive.
The Contribution to Sustainable Transport award sponsored by Addleshaw Goddard went to WSP and Highland Spring Group: for their Blackford Rail Freight Facility. The judges felt it was fantastic to see rail freight - often the Cinderella of the rail network – being given the opportunity to show its critical role in achieving Net Zero through a brand new facility delivered on the back of growing demand for Highland Spring bottled water. This is a really excellent entry which has brought immediate carbon reduction benefits in a way that has been considerate to the surrounding communities.
The Frontline Employee of the Year was won by Lindsey Reid of Transform Scotland. Lindsey leads the #LoveMyBus engagement programme for Transform Scotland and spends her days thanking people who use, or work on buses sharing information and encouragement with current non-users to help them make the switch, making sure everyone who has a free bus is making use of it. She chats and listens to feedback she receives from everyone, logging comments and helping where she can. This role can only be delivered by someone friendly who genuinely loves engaging and helping all sorts of people, yet someone who is resilient enough to weather some undoubtedly negative feedback that she is given on a daily basis. Lindsey is clearly a passionate, caring and committed advocate of buses and the communities that benefit from using them and a very worthy winner of this award.
Commendations in this category were awarded to Glenn Taylor, McGill's Bus Group; Craig Ross, Stagecoach East; Brian Stewart, Jack Austin, Hugh McLelland & Lorna Jones, Stagecoach West.
To see the full list of winners and commendations please click here.
The Scottish Transport Awards are organised by Transport Times Events, supported by the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, Network Rail, Scotland's Railway, CPT Scotland, the Railway Industry Association and Passenger Transport magazine.
The awards were judged by:
• Alison Irvine; Chair of the Judging Panel & Interim Chief Executive, Transport Scotland
• Dr George Hazel OBE; Director, George Hazel Consultancy
• Prof Iain Docherty; Dean, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling
• Daisy Narayanan MBE; Head of Placemaking and Mobility, The City of Edinburgh Council
• Bettina Sizeland; Director of Bus, Accessibility and Active Travel, Transport Scotland