Tuesday 6th September
Craig Lockyer beat 113 other bus drivers from all over the UK to become the nation’s 2016 Bus Driver of the Year.
Speaking after Sunday’s (4 September) competition, Craig said:
"It hasn't quite sunk in yet! I took my dad with me to the competition in Blackpool - he got a bit emotional when they read the results out. My missus and the kids were ecstatic. I went out in Wolverhampton today and saw some other drivers - they congratulated me. It's absolutely brilliant."
The prestigious national annual competition tests every aspect of a bus driver’s skill. Drivers take written tests on even the most obscure details of the Highway Code before climbing into buses they’ve never driven before to perform fiendish driving and manoeuvring tests. Their performance is measured to the millimetre by a tough panel of judges.
Mark Simcox, National Express Head of Driver Training and Recruitment, says:
"We're really proud of all of our competitors, who put on a great show. I'm delighted with Craig, who took first place after joining the business as a trainee only five years ago. National Express' UK Bus division made a fantastic mark on this year's competition. The results are even more special with this year being the 50th anniversary of the national competition. I'd like to thank the driver training team, who worked really hard putting our drivers through their paces to get them ready for the competition."
Other National Express drivers also performed well, with Walsall driver Stephen Bale coming 9th overall.
The National Express results in full:
1st place - Craig Lockyer, Wolverhampton garage
9th place - Stephen Bate, Walsall garage
20th place - John Black, Xplore Dundee
30th place - Paul Jarvis, Birmingham Central garage
37th place - Darren Dunbar, Perry Barr garage
40th place - Andrew Rait, Xplore Dundee
To even get to the national final, hundreds of drivers competed in heats across National Express’ ten West Midlands bus depots - Yardley Wood, Acocks Green, Birmingham Central (Digbeth), Bordesley, Perry Barr, Coventry, Pensnett (Dudley), Walsall, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich. Xplore Dundee also held its own final.
The 25 best drivers were then put through their paces on Sunday 26 June 2016 at the National Express stadium in Kings Heath. They were put through a surprise set of practical driving tests which go way further than the normal National Express professional driver training. The top four finishers on the day won a place at Blackpool.
National Express HR Director, Madi Pilgrim, said:
“Our priorities at National Express are safety and customer service. Everything about Bus Driver of the Year shows how seriously we take those two things. I’m very proud of everyone who competed. Being a bus driver on the busy roads of the West Midlands is a hard job, but these drivers do it fantastically well.”
Published 6th September 2016