Coventry bus driver wins international customer award
CI Kerry Blakeman with National Express Coventry Master Driver Sammy Khumalo
A Coventry bus driver has beaten off competition from 45,000 employees from across the whole of the National Express Group, including colleagues from Spain, Morocco, Germany, Bahrain and America, to win the Customer Value Award for 2016.
Sammy Khumalo had already won the National Express UK Bus Award for Driver of the Year in February, so he was put forward to the global awards, which were presented in London on 27 April 2017.
Managing Director of National Express Coventry, Martin Hancock, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled for Sammy and proud of this impressive achievement.
“Sammy joined National Express in 2013 and after only three years, he’d already gained the additional skills required to become Coventry’s first Master Driver.
“During 2016, Sammy also got 12 consecutive “gold” driving scores, measured by the on-board bus telematics. That’s a remarkable achievement.
“Combined with a 100% attendance rate, with zero incidents or customer complaints on his record, Sammy is clearly a real credit to National Express Coventry.
“Sammy always sets himself the highest standards in driving and customer service, and our other drivers frequently seek his advice and guidance.”
To achieve just one gold score, a bus driver must demonstrate exceptional vehicle control and fuel efficiency combined with smooth braking and acceleration. A driver who can achieve this is providing an extremely comfortable ride for his passengers. It is almost unheard of for any driver to maintain that consistency for a 12-month period.
National Express Master Drivers have to pass advanced motorist and customer service qualifications over and above basic driver training, as well as recording exemplary driving scores on the in-bus computers.
Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman of West Midlands Police met Sammy when presenting him with his Master Driver graduation certificate. On hearing about Sammy’s triumph, he said:
“It’s wonderful news that Sammy has won this international customer award. Sammy is a great advocate for National Express and really sets the benchmark for drivers to aspire to in terms of great customer service. The award is thoroughly deserved and is a huge endorsement of Sammy’s achievements and the Master Driver programme.”