A bus service in Skegness has won a top national award, beating competition from across the UK.
The Skegness Seasiders, run by Stagecoach East Midlands, was launched in the spring, providing residents and holidaymakers with six open-top double-decker buses each transformed into individual characters.
The annual awards, now in their 19th year, recognise and reward the crowning achievements of the UK bus industry.
The winners were announced at a glitzy ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London, yesterday (Tuesday, November 18).
The Skegness Seasiders won best Marketing Initiative of the Year.
Michelle Hargreaves, Stagecoach East Midlands Managing Director, said: “We’re thrilled. We want to do our bit to put Skegness on the map and this honour is part of that.
“Skegness is a wonderful holiday town and deserves a fantastic bus service that customers can be proud of. The award is testament to the great work of our staff in Skegness and how the Seasiders have been embraced by people locally and holidaymakers alike.”
Jon Donnelly, Stagecoach East Midlands Operations Manager, said: “We’ve had brilliant feedback from bus users and have seen a big growth in passenger numbers. Each bus is a personalised character, creating a look and feel that has now achieved national recognition. Children love the Seasiders and they’ve become an attraction in their own right.”
The family of Skegness Seasiders, ‘Rocky’, ‘Sandy’, ‘Shelly’, ‘Salty’, ‘Pierre’ and ‘Candy’ have become a familiar sight along the town’s seafront in recent months.
Stagecoach teamed up with local attractions and worked alongside the town council and chamber of commerce to develop the service, which was created in partnership with PR and marketing agency Astley Media.
Along with accompanying storybooks sold for charity and goody bags handed out at events, children collect badges for travelling on the different buses.
One bus, Salty, was designed and named by Skegness youngster Poppy Bagnall.
The timetable booklet is also packed with money-off vouchers for tourist attractions along the route.
Since the introduction of the Skegness Seasiders, passenger numbers have increased by more than 20 percent on the seasonal route, which connects Skegness and Ingoldmells on service number three between April and September.
Events, partnerships with local attractions, holiday parks and Skegness RNLI, are among other elements of the re-vitalised service.
Tony Depledge, chairman of the UK Bus Awards, said: “I’ve been delighted to see at first hand so many great projects. Clever marketing, innovative engineering and how outstanding customer service are built on the commitment of everyone who works in the industry and it’s that commitment and hard work that we’re also celebrating at the UK Bus Awards Ceremony.”
The Skegness Seasiders service has also been shortlisted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in its annual regional awards.