A Hastings man has been crowned one of the UK’s top ten bus drivers.
Graham Hall, a 37-year-old father of five, was one of 91 drivers who battled for the ultimate accolade for passenger transport professionals; to be named Bus Driver of the Year at the national finals in Blackpool.
Graham, who has worked as bus driver for Stagecoach for six years, received a trophy and a cash prize after being placed fifth overall in the national contest. He was also the third highest rated Stagecoach driver in the UK.
He said: “You don’t get much bigger than the national competition which is why I wanted to apply. I like a challenge!”
This was the second time Graham has entered the Bus Driver of the Year having achieved 35th place last year.
He added: “I was determined to do better this year and although I’m very pleased with the result I’m aiming to improve further and win next year.”
Graham regularly drives buses in and around Hastings, including the coastal route 99 to and from Eastbourne.
Finalists secured their places following tough regional heats. Graham was the winner for the South East region and therefore went through to the national final.
The drivers undertook a series of driving tests in a bid to win the title. Drivers are required to drive on a simulated route that can include any of the hazards normally encountered during their working day.
All competitors are also required to complete a combined written test on the Highway Code and Driver CPC Knowledge.
Hugh Loy, Stagecoach operations manager for Hastings, said: “To achieve fifth place in such a prestigious national competition is a superb achievement. The competition was fierce and it’s great to know that one of our drivers from Hastings is one of the best in the country.”