Passengers steer local bus operator to top UK award

Clockwise from top right: Richard, Linda and Roddy Perryman, the driving force behind the sucess of family business Perryman buses, winners of the 2011
Clockwise from top right: Richard, Linda and Roddy Perryman, the driving force behind the sucess of family business Perryman buses, winners of the 2011

THE Perryman family behind the local bus company believe team work and a drive to satisfy their passengers helped steer them to success at a prestigious industry award ceremony.

They received the best small bus operator in the UK award from the Route One Operator Excellence Awards, at a glittering ceremony at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.

The family-run businesses has gone from strength to strength since moving to Berwick more than a decade ago, and now has a fleet of 30 services buses and coaches as well as a number of mini-buses.

Director Richard Perryman said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award, it recognises our company’s commitment to providing our customers with the best possible service. It’s the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by all of our staff.

“In recent times our industry along with many others has faced very tough trading conditions but to ride the storm and come out being recognised with this award is an absolute delight.”

He added: “Obviously, our continued growth wouldn’t be possible without the loyal support from our customers for which I am very grateful.

“We hope by continuing to provide our customers with the best levels of customer service and modern safe vehicles we will continue this success story.’’

Perryman’s beat off competition from four well-known companies from across the UK to win the award.

The judges, who included industry leaders and former traffic commissioners, commented: “If, as an operator who values customer feedback, you are receiving fantastic testimonials from your local authorities, you must be doing something right. If, at the same time passenger numbers are increasing, so much the better.

“However, Perryman’s Buses has not only achieved significant growth, it continues to demonstrate that it is ready and willing to meet new and existing challenges, keeping its eye firmly on the ball when it comes to maintaining the highest standards.”

Speaking to The Berwickshire News, Richard, along with wife and fellow director Linda and their son Roddy, who is operations manager, said the award was a complete surprise. Richard said: “We can’t go any higher in terms of business awards.”

Roddy added: “This is the one everyone wants to win. We’ve always believed in ourselves, but to get this recognition from people in the industry is excellent.”

The company employs a total of 46 staff, and Linda said the award was thanks to the hard work of all involved.

“It is a big team effort we’ve got here,” she said. “We’ve got a really good structure and it goes right down to the cleaner, who cleans the floors of the buses right up to us. We are all delighted.”

Roddy added: “We just do our best, but to see our name up in lights at national awards was quite amazing. We were delighted to be finalists and to come out on top against some of the best known small companies in the country is brilliant.”

The business was nominated by industry suppliers, but then had to supply a wide range of information to the judges, including financial details, vehicle service records, customer feedback and testimonials.

Linda said: “A big part of it was about quality and customer satisfaction and we had to give evidence of all that and we also had two excellent testimonials from Scottish Borders Council and Northumberland County Council, who we operate various contracts with.”

The company took a gamble when it invested in new vehicles at a time when very few operators were doing so. Richard explained: “We took a chance and financially it was a very big commitment to the area when we could have sat back and left things as they were.”

Linda believes the company’s success on the cross-border routes has been largely down to the quality of the vehicles providing the service.

Indeed, she thinks the arrival of First Bus in competition for a short period recently on the Edinburgh to Berwick route can be considered a complement to Perryman’s and the service they were providing.

Roddy said that the investment in new buses and ongoing servicing by the company’s dedicated engineers was a major factor in the reliability of their buses, and their “exemplary” vehicle service records were a significant factor taken into account by the award judges. Although the business is 37 years old, the move into Berwick 11 years ago proved the main catalyst for the development of the business, helped by the commencement of the Berwick town centre service in 2002 after Arriva pulled out.

Richard added: “We want people to choose to come on our buses and leave the car at home. The buses are coming past their door and the buses are warm, fresh, safe, the drivers are friendly.

“That is what we are committed to and it has been recognised and we’ve got to keep it going.”