NCT Celebrates Colleague Excellence at 2022 Awards and Crowns 10th Bus Driver of the Year

1 month ago Sun 17th Apr 2022

Nottingham City Transport has crowned its tenth Bus Driver of the Year alongside recognising and rewarding engineers, teams and unsung heroes at its annual Excellence Awards.

Eleven bus drivers received Customer Commendation Awards for going above and beyond and two colleagues received Special Recognition Awards for their outstanding efforts throughout COVID and NCT’s cyber-attack last summer.

group photo of all finalists and winners

Hosted by NCT’s “voice of the buses”, David Lloyd, over 200 people attended the Excellence Awards, held at Nottingham’s Albert Hall on Sunday 10th April.

Jonathan Smallman, who joined NCT in 2019, was crowned NCT’s tenth Bus Driver of the Year.

Jonathan’s exemplary work record and a fantastic set of mystery traveller results saw him pip finalists Louise Kremin and Mba Kebba Singhateh to the top prize. The mystery traveller said of Jonathan:

“This driver is 100% perfection. The way they speak to every single passenger is amazing. The driver treats passengers with so much respect, it’s as if they are friends and family. They handle traffic lights, corners and bends with ease, giving a very comfortable ride. They are totally committed to their job, a great role model and an asset to NCT”.

NCT Driver of the Year, Jonathan Smallman

David Astill, NCT Managing Director said, “Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners and it was great to celebrate the achievements and successes of colleagues from across NCT. Well done to Jonathan on being crowned the tenth NCT Bus Driver of the Year, who received some very complimentary remarks from the mystery traveller and is a great front line ambassador for NCT.”

On winning, Driver of the Year Jonathan said, “Winning Driver of the Year means a lot to me and my family, who are filled with pride and joy that I won and it was great to have them there on the day to see me collect my prize. It feels fantastic to be up there with the past winners who still work for NCT, who I know well professionally, and to be a role model for others starting out their career with NCT”.

The full list of winners:

Driver of the Year:

  • Jonathan Smallman

Driver Customer Commendation Awards:

Customer commendation winners
  • Marilyn Vardy – ensured a lone toddler was safe when they wandered on to their bus unaccompanied
  • Joe Marshall – came to the aid of a motorist who was involved in an accident involving a school child who ran in front of their car, staying calm, dialling 999 and ensuring the child was cared for until the paramedics arrived.
  • Thomas Holmes – helped a mother get the right bus to the QMC in time for her daughter’s operation when the tram wasn't running because of an incident.
  • Elliot Taylor – protected a 15 year old girl who was being followed by inviting her on to his bus and waiting with her whilst she called her dad to meet her.
  • Jason Brown – assisted a passenger who had collapsed at the bus stop with chest pains, staying with her and reassuring her until the ambulance arrived.
  • Chris Doran – saved the life of a child who was on their own who looked like they may run into oncoming traffic, by persuading them on to the bus, sitting quietly with them until the police arrived.
  • Dave Chamberlain – praised for his “insanely quick” reaction after someone stepped in front of his bus, managing to pull the bus around a pedestrian, missing them by inches in a manoeuvre described by a passenger on the bus that defied the laws of physics.
  • Paul Henderson – got off his bus to help a blind passenger and their guide dog across the road.
  • Richard Travers Ayre – helped an 82-year-old man who had fallen on the pavement back to his feet and home again
  • Paul Gaunt – assisted a distressed passenger by passing their charging cable to them so they could contact home to arrange to be picked up, when they had no money or phone charge left
  • Mark Dawson – performed first aid on a school girl who was choking and saved their life

Charity Champion:

  • Rob Squires - who raised over £4,000 for the local NHS by walking or cycling every single one of NCT’s bus routes. His 11-day journey covered 330 miles, which consisted of walking 175 miles and cycling 155 miles.

Unite Made A Difference Award:

  • Chris Hall – who interacts with everyone in NCT. Whether it’s sorting out driving licences, arranging medicals, contacting new recruits, ordering stationary or sending the post, without Chris, there are so many little, but vital, things that just wouldn’t happen.

Unsung Hero:

  • Tina Christian – described as the glue that holds many departments together, with her extensive knowledge, attention to detail and problem solving skills. Tina helps colleagues throughout Admin, Payroll and Service Planning and gives her colleagues confidence to try new things and ways of working.

Rising Star:

Joanne Mitchell, leader of Payroll
  • Joanne Mitchell – recently taken over the running of NCT’s Payroll Department.  Despite challenging times to ensure everyone got paid during COVID, working out furlough payments and then responding to NCT’s cyber-attack, Jo stayed calm and led her team perfectly.

Team of the Year (Joint Winners):

  • Service Planning
service planning department
  • Operations
operations team

Running a bus service has been very challenging over the last couple of years and it’s thanks to the Service Planning Team for designing and building the network and the driver rosters – several times – and the Operations Team for managing it on the road, that NCT has been able to provide a good level of service. Both teams have worked tirelessly to try and ensure NCT serves its customers as best as it can.

Engineer of the Year:

mark swanson
  • Mark Swanson - provided excellent maintenance support and emergency responses to the numerous problems that can arise from NCT’s century old premises. Mark lends his hand to most jobs to keep our buildings and facilities safe and secure.

Special Recognition Awards:

  • Mario Mastrangelo – swiftly, decisively and sensibly responded to a cyber-attack on NCT in summer 2021 as the IT person on call. Mario made the difference between an awful scenario and a truly catastrophic one, that could have prevented NCT from trading for days or weeks.
mario with his special recognition certificate
  • Aaron Lockhart – acted as NCT’s Covid Marshall, helping minimise the impact of staff absenteeism during the pandemic, as well as providing a single point of contact for advice and guidance to colleagues who were self-isolating, ensuring they knew what to do, were supported and safely returned to work.
aaron lockhart, COVID marshall