Wolverhampton bus driver ready to defend national title

In September, National Express will be sending six of their best bus drivers to the national Bus Driver of the Year competition in Blackpool. Craig Lockyer, a local Wolverhampton driver, will be returning to Blackpool to defend his current title as the UK’s number one bus driver.

On 2 July 2017, National Express UK Bus held their annual qualifiers for the Bus Driver of Year competition. Contestants from garages across the West Midlands, Coventry and Xplore Dundee arrived at Kings Heath’s Transport Stadium to battle it out for the prestigious title. 

Thirty-six drivers were put to the test with a series of tricky manoeuvres and challenges that covered customer service and driving ability. This year’s competition involved driving a route carrying a bowl full to the brim with water. Every drop spilt lost the contestant points. 

Competitors were faced with various challenges along the journey, including an unplanned road closure. Drivers also had to put their training into practice by helping a passenger in a mobility scooter safely onto the bus.

These components re-create just some of the many challenges bus drivers are faced with on a daily basis.

Mark Simcox, Head of Driver Training, said: 

“I want to thank all of the staff at our Walsall driver training school, who volunteer their own time to make this event a success. Their commitment underlines how proud we all are of the quality of our drivers.”

The top four drivers from the West Midlands and the top two from Dundee will be representing National Express in the national Bus Driver of the Year finals in Blackpool in September. 

The finalists are:

  • Craig Lockyer from Wolverhampton garage
  • Stephen Bate from Walsall garage
  • Paul Jarvis from Birmingham Central garage in Digbeth
  • Lee Williams from Pensnett garage, Dudley
  • Andrew Raitt and David Conacher from Xplore Dundee

Madi Pilgrim, Director of Human Resources for National Express, added:

“Each year all of our drivers put in an outstanding performance and this year’s standards were the best yet. The competition is just one of the ways we endeavour to celebrate the achievements of our staff and recognise the incredible talent we have.” 

In 2015, National Express rolled out the Master Driver programme, which assesses, trains and rewards exceptional drivers. The company also holds an annual Values Awards ceremony, where employees nominate each other for going above and beyond in their service.

We look forward to seeing how the contestants do in the national finals - we wish them all the very best of luck!

Published 14th July 2017