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A driver at Stockport bus and coach hire firm Belle Vue Manchester has been crowned the best in the UK.
Miguel González was named top UK coach driver at the 2019 UK Coach Awards.
He was among a clutch of Belle Vue winners at the 11th annual awards, a national scheme which recognises and rewards excellence in the industry.
Miguel, 44, a married father-of-two who hails from Tenerife, joined Belle Vue in 2016.
He mainly drives on school and college routes and has become hugely popular with pupils and students. He plays their favourite music radio channel and allows them soft drinks and snacks. In return, the youngsters help him clear up their coach at the end of their journeys.
On one occasion, when Miguel switched routes, students successfully organised a petition demanding he be reinstated as their driver.
Phil Hitchen, managing director of Belle Vue, said: “Miguel is a great asset to the team and we are thrilled for him in winning this accolade.
“He has a friendly, helpful and professional attitude and receives numerous commendations from customers for his punctual, efficient and safe driving performance.”
The judges said: “School contracts are the bread and butter for many coach operators, so to find a driver who is able to keep unruly pupils under control assuring a safe and well-behaved journey while also becoming the children’s most popular driver is quite exceptional.”
Miguel was a coach driver in Tenerife until tourism waned and work became more difficult to come by. He contacted Phil on Facebook, saying he found Belle Vue appealing because of its ethos of caring about teamwork.
Phil was impressed and invited him over for a trial. Miguel studied online to get to know the main routes across Manchester and the motorway network and, after a successful trial, landed a full-time job.
Miguel said: “Just being chosen from more than 60 drivers to represent Belle Vue at the awards made me extremely proud.
“I’m so happy that everyone has welcomed me to the business and the area, and to win the award is a tremendous honour.
“I’m so very grateful to the company, and especially to Phil Hitchen, for giving me the chance to work here. Without his belief in me, my dream could never have come true.”
Belle Vue’s other winners at the awards included transport supervisor George Docherty, who won gold in the unsung heroes category.
Contracts manager Mike Mitchell won silver and mechanic Adam Tailby took bronze in the customer service and support staff category. Maintenance manager Jason Cotgrave won silver in the engineer of the year category and Belle Vue picked up silver in the innovation category for its use of the iMA teambuilding and management programme.
Phil said: “It’s great to see so many of our staff recognised in this way, demonstrating the strength in depth of our entire team.”
George, 56, was praised for literally going the extra mile in his role. He looks after route planning, co-ordinates vehicle repairs, driving assessments and training, is a fire marshal and health and safety team member, and helps out as a driver at a moment’s notice when required.
He works six days a week and organises charity events, as well as co-ordinating transport for large events, including the One Love Manchester concert in 2017.
The judges said: “George is shown to be someone who is happy to get stuck into whatever job is needed. He has a good eye for detail, even for tasks that he’s given at short notice. He regularly goes above and beyond and is a true unsung hero.”
So much is happening at The Lowry Outlet this Winter, we thought you’d like to make a special trip to get it all in one visit! There’s more detail on our FUNTASTIC site: http://www.funtastictrips.co.uk/coach-trips-lowry-outlet-salford-quays
Fancy a day at the races … or a night at the opera? Belle Vue takes you to places you really want to visit. How about booking #Aintree for you Christmas party? There’s more detail on our FUNTASTIC site: http://www.funtastictrips.co.uk/coach-trips-grand-national-aintree/
Freeport Fleetwood has been renamed Affinity Lancashire and that’s just the beginning! A shopping experience with exciting brands at up to 60% off. Book your day trip today! http://www.funtastictrips.co.uk/coach-trips-freeport-fleetwood/
It has been a testing few weeks with the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Some Group Organisers are nervous about venturing into the cities. We are writing to inform you our team are prepared and vigilant and have been trained in prevention and protection.
In October last year, long before any attacks in Manchester, our team attended the Greater Manchester Police Headquarters for a training session in counter terrorism. In the spring we have rolled our Counter Terrorism training programme out across the team weeks before any events in Manchester had happened.
Our team are trained in how to stop an attack from happening and if that’s not possible then how to mitigate the impact. We are trained to seek out suspicious behaviour and packages. We know how to take actions to strengthen passenger security and keep our passengers safer. Although the UK is on a severe security grading the chances of an incident happening on your trip are extremely low indeed.
Over the last 10 years there’s been 1.4 deaths per year in the UK due to terrorism – which, according to research from BuzzFeed, means you’re more likely to be killed by dogs (18 deaths per year), hot water (100 deaths per year) or using your phone while driving (2,920 deaths per year).
On the night of the Manchester Arena attack we had numerous coaches out on conference work which ended up in the city on lockdown all night. Our team handled the events of that evening superbly. We also provided complimentary transport for the councillors attending the vigil in Manchester and provided transport for the victims families at the One Love Concert.
Manchester is a City United. We don’t live in fear and we go about our daily business as normal. You should too. You can be assured that the safety of our passengers is paramount and we take whatever steps necessary to make our services safer for our passengers.
Thank you for your continued support. Assuring you of our close and personal attention at all times.