‘Cheers Drive’ awards launched to recognise and reward excellent customer service

Broadmead BID is working with bus operator First West of England to drive up standards of customer service amongst bus drivers by recognising and rewarding those who regularly go the extra mile to help those people from, and those visiting, Bristol Shopping Quarter.

The organisations have come together to launch the “Cheers Drive” awards, the title being a direct reference to the informal way many Bristolians thank drivers for a pleasant trip as they get off local buses (ie ‘Cheers Drive’)

While many of Bristol’s 900 bus drivers already deliver a good standard of customer service, First recognises that improvements can always be made. It is considered that by rewarding the positive attributes of those drivers who are already making a difference – brightening a customer’s day with a cheery hello or goodbye, or by going the extra mile to help someone who is lost and in need of assistance – others will be encouraged to adopt similar behaviours, and standards across the board will rise further.

John Hirst of Destination Bristol agrees. He says “A business visitor to Bristol recently took the bus to Bristol Zoo Gardens and told me that she was overwhelmed by the exceptional welcome that the driver gave all his passengers.  Almost half our customers travel to Bristol Shopping Quarter by bus and we would like them all to enjoy this positive experience during their journeys here.”

The Cheers Drive awards will initially run for six months, with residents and visitors encouraged to nominate those drivers who they feel have gone the extra mile to help bus users.

The nomination process will be easy: you’ll simply need to log onto www.firstgroup.com/cheersdrive and complete a short form about the driver concerned. Alternatively, and importantly for those without internet access, bus users will also be able to nominate drivers by calling customer services on 0117 244 4040, providing details over the phone about the driver they wish to nominate and why.

Once a month a panel of people from First, Destination Bristol and Broadmead BID will meet to choose a winner from the nominations received.

The winning driver will then receive a special ‘Cheers Drive’ thumbs up pin badge, a certificate and, thanks to the generosity of Bristol’s Shopping Quarter, a £100 voucher to spend in the store of their choice.  The individual successfully nominating the winning driver will also receive a prize in the form of free travel on the local bus network (worth £66)*.   At the end of the six month period one overall winning driver will also be chosen, and rewarded accordingly.

Talking about the awards the managing director of First West of England, James Freeman, says: “We want to continually drive up standards of customer service amongst our drivers and this seems to be a great way to recognise and reward those people who are already delivering great service.

“We know we don’t always get it right – and always we’ll take the appropriate action if and when we find those people who let the side down – but conversely we also know that we have a number of fantastic bus drivers out there, doing a hard job in difficult conditions. Those who make a difference to the lives of their passengers, either stepping in when something has gone wrong, or simply by delivering excellent service with a smile day in day out, deserve to be acknowledged, and this is what we’re seeking to do.

“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with Broadmead BID and Bristol Shopping Quarter on this awards programme.  Bristol is a fantastic place to live, work and visit, and if we can play our part in making the city even more attractive – by ensuring our drivers are ready and willing to help residents and visitors – then that can only be a good thing.”

To find out more about the Cheers Drive awards, or to nominate a driver who’s delivered excellent customer service, log onto:  www.firstgroup.com/cheersdrive (website will be live from 24 April 2015).