Heanor bus driver wins award

trentbarton : Hero of the Year Tom Holmes (left) and Driver of the Year Abdul Jabar (right) with celebrity guest Shaun Williamson aka Barry from EastEnders (centre)
trentbarton : Hero of the Year Tom Holmes (left) and Driver of the Year Abdul Jabar (right) with celebrity guest Shaun Williamson aka Barry from EastEnders (centre)

A bus driver for Heanor has not only won his passengers hearts, he has won an award voted by the customers who use trentbarton buses.

At the compnay’s annual Really Good Service Awards, driver H1 driver Tom Smedley – known as ‘Scouse’ won teh Customer Choice Award.

Tom, 53, drives the Alfreton-Heanor-Derby route and customers described him as cheery, warm and the highlight of their day.

Trentbarton managing director Jeff Counsell told staff: “You do an amazing job, day after day, helping the public. Well done to each and every one of you.”

Scooping another win for the area was Brand of the Year winner wich was the Rainbow One, which is an important transport link for towns such as Heanor, Ripley, Eastwood and Alfreton, taking customers right in to the heart of Nottingham.

Indigo and skylink bus driver Abdul Jabar was crowned as Driver of the Year at the awards, less than four years from switching careers to get behind the wheel.

Abdul said: “Being recognised with this award is absolutely amazing. The people I work alongside are phenomenal, there is so much team work and team effort.

“I was previously in management jobs and decided to try something completely different. I’m a people person, so this was the perfect move. I enjoy it so much.”

He received a trophy, £1,000 to spend on a holiday and an extra day off work every year from celebrity guest Shaun Williamson – of TV’s EastEnders and Extras – at a ceremony at Derby’s Silk Mill Museum.

Other winners included Tom Holmes who was named Hero of the Year after receiving a string of commendations from passengers and their families.

Tom said: “I’ve always done what any good human being would do. Winning this award is a surprise. I really love the job, it’s really gratifying and I thoroughly enjoy it.”

Runners-up for Hero of the Year were Richard Barton, who helped a distressed young girl who was trying to hitchhike to London, and Anthony ‘Spike’ Steeples, who gave a lift home to a man who boarded the wrong bus at night.

Trentbarton’s passengers make 95,000 journeys each day on the 300 strong fleet, covering 20 million miles each year with a 96 per cent customer satisfaction rating.

Apprentice of the Year was Jordan Riddings, 19, who is two years into his apprenticeship, said: “It’s nice to have been noticed in such a way and to know that the work, which I enjoy, is appreciated and that you make a difference.”