A BUS depot in Barrow has been recognised as the best in the region.
Stagecoach has awarded its Barrow-in-Furness depot as the top-performing operations department within its Cumbria & North Lancashire operating company.
The newly-established award takes into account each depot’s Key Performance Indicators (KPI) across the year, including management of budgets and numbers of complaints.
Willie McPhail, Operations Manager in Barrow, said: “I was as surprised as anybody, because this is the first time Stagecoach has done this – we didn’t know about it until they said we had come out on top.
“We are a very small depot in comparison to somewhere you have hundreds of drivers – we have 68. Some people might think a small depot is easier to manage, but it just means there are fewer resources available to you.
“I think where we benefit is that I can get to know each one of our drivers and build up that personal connection, where that would be impossible at some of the larger depots.”
As a reward for their achievement, the Barrow staff were treated to new items for their staff lounge, including a coffee machine.
Mr McPhail said that his staff were proud of being named the best depot, but he acknowledges that they will have to work hard to maintain their position at the top.
“I’m ex-forces and have very high standards anyway, but I’m realistic about what can be achieved,” he added.
“In my role, I can’t look after the passengers, but my staff can – so it is my job to look after my staff.
“We’ve looked at ways to improve our rest facilities, and if anyone comes to me with a problem then it is my job to try and sort it for them. Whatever we are doing in Barrow seems to be working, but we can’t rest at being number one – the challenge is to make sure we’re number one again next year. If we don’t make it, it won’t be for the lack of trying.”
“I think that being able to say we’re the best depot is something that our staff are proud of, and I know that introducing this competition element will be a good motivation, as we want to stay at the top.
“Our biggest challenges in Barrow are the amount of roadworks – like the ongoing works on the bridge to Walney – and closures on the A590. They are out of our control but it is all about how we manage that and we’ve got really good at that.
“We always have room to improve, so how well we do next year just depends on how much of an improvement we can make.”
Lee Trengrove, a driver from Barrow, said: “It’s a good place to work and people are friendly.
“It can be a stressful job at times and sometimes the amount of hard work that goes on seven days a week to run a bus service can be taken for granted. Being the best depot in Cumbria isn’t something the public would necessarily be aware of, but hopefully people can see that we’re doing a decent job here.
“The low number of complaints we get means we must be doing something right. In a professional sense, the support we get from the company is really good.”