Published: 30th April 2024

Celebrating exceptional performance at our Partner Operator Awards

We recently celebrated our coach partner operators a tour annual National Express Operator Partnership (NEOP) Awards. These awards play a vital role in recognising the crucial role our partners play in ensuring we can deliver reliable, safe, and comfortable coach travel for millions of passengers each year.

Our 16th annual NEOP Awards were held at the Best Western Plus Windmill Village Hotel in Coventry, where we welcomed attendees from across the UK and Ireland.

The NEOP Awards are a testament to our commitment to maintaining the highest standards across our network. Each operator's performance is evaluated based on specific criteria, including driver excellence, coach cleanliness and quality, and customer service. The winners are determined by their outstanding performance and scores in these areas.

Bennetts Coaches crowned National Express Operator of the Year 

L-R: Alice Rodrigues from Caetano, Alex Jensen, CEO National Express, Simon Alderton, Paul Geroge, Gavin Bennett of Bennetts Coaches, Ed Rickard, Network Director National Express

We were thrilled to see Bennett’s Coaches crowned as Network Operator of the Year for the third consecutive year. Other notable winners included Travelstar European for Best Fleet, National Express Start Hill for Most Improved Operator, and Loris Wharton of Parks of Hamilton in Plymouth, who received the prestigious Driver of the Year title. These awards highlight the dedication and excellence that our partner operators consistently demonstrate in their service delivery on behalf of National Express.

Driver of the Year Loris Wharton of Parks of Hamilton (second from left) alongside Alex Jensen, CEO National Express, Paul Lawrence, Addsecure MD, and Ed Rickard, Network Director National Express

Ed Rickard, Network Director for National Express UK and Ireland, praised the exceptional performance and commitment to excellence shown by the winners. He said: 

"Our partner operators play an essential role in our network and we are delighted to recognise their hard work, dedication and outstanding service through our annual awards. We’re proud to have them on board and extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all the winners!"

Full List of Winners:
  • Best Fleet - Travelstar European

  • Driving Out Harm (Safety Excellence) - Travelstar European

  • Go Green Award - Llew Jones International

  • Most Improved Operator - National Express Start Hill 

  • Customer Experience Excellence - Bennetts Coaches

  • Driver of the Year - Loris Wharton from Parks of Hamilton Plymouth

  • Engineer of the Year - John Bruce Jnr. from Bruces Coaches

  • Operational Manager of the Year - Simon Alderton from Bennetts Coaches

  • Best Network Operator of the Year - one to five vehicles: E Stott & Sons 

  • Best Network Operator of the Year - six to 10 vehicles: Worthing Coaches 

  • Best Network Operator of the Year - 11 to 20 vehicles: Bennetts Coaches

  • Best Network Operator of the Year - over 20 vehicles: Edwards Coaches Wales

  • Gold Standard Operators: Bennetts Coaches, E Stott & Sons, Edwards Coaches, Parks of Plymouth, Travelstar European

  • Overall Network Operator of the Year: Bennetts Coaches

Golden Spanner Awards, recognising operators who have consistently met and exceeded expectations, introducing best practice across engineering:

  • Ambassador Travel

  • Bennetts Coaches

  • Bruces Coaches

  • E Stott & Sons

  • Edwards Coaches

  • Galloway European

  • Go North East

  • Llew Jones

  • Lucketts Bournemouth

  • National Express Start Hill

  • National Express Wandsworth

  • National Express Transport Solutions - Aston

  • Oxford Bus Company

  • Parks of Hamilton Plymouth

  • Selwyns Travel Runcorn

  • Stagecoach Chesterfield

  • Kings Ferry Dover

  • Travelstar European

  • Yeomans Canyon Travel

Sustained High Achievement Awards:

  • Travelstar European - 14 consecutive years

  • E Stott & Sons - 14 consecutive years

  • Bennetts Coaches - 13 consecutive years

  • Edwards Coaches Wales - 13 consecutive years

  • Bruces Coaches - 10 consecutive years

  • National Express Transport Solutions Aston - 10 consecutive years

  • Parks of Hamilton Plymouth - 10 consecutive years 

  • Edwards Coaches Bristol - 6 consecutive years

  • Yeomans Canyon Travel - 6 consecutive years

  • Galloway European - 5 consecutive years

  • Kavanagh - achieved their first year


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