Bus driver Jason Dalladas celebrated his first wedding anniversary in style by driving off with a top national award.
The 33-year-old, who works for Yellow Buses, received the Passenger Focus trophy and £500 at the prestigious UK Bus Driver of the Year final in Blackpool.
Jason picked up the award after becoming the highest placed competitor from an independent company.
He was placed 17th overall in the competition which attracted a field of more than 90 entrants from across the country. Fellow Yellows’ driver Dennis Maheve was 68th.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking taking part but I was very happy to receive the trophy and money,” said Jason who lives in Bournemouth and joined the Yellows in 2007.
He added: “The final took place on the same weekend that I celebrated my first wedding anniversary. My wife, Suzy, was with me in Blackpool so it turned into quite a celebration.”
The UK Bus Driver of the Year contest is regarded as the bus industry’s premier award for drivers and is now in its 46th year.
The gruelling set of theory and practical road tests included a three mile driving test involving manoeuvring exercises followed by a circuit, in normal traffic, along Blackpool Promenade.
Drivers were required to stop with precision at a number of bus stops while observers stationed around the course judged drivers` signalling, positioning and bus handling.
It’s the second year running that Yellow Buses has returned home from the final with an award after Pete Diffey was named ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in 2011.
Yellows’ driver Vanessa Knowling is also shortlisted in the ‘Top National Bus Driver’ category of the 2012 UK Bus Awards. The results will be announced at the London Hilton Hotel on November 20.
Derek Lott, Yellow Buses’ Managing Director, said: “We’re very proud of Jason and Dennis for representing us so well in Blackpool. To win an award against such stiff competition was a tremendous achievement.
“Our drivers are very much the ‘unsung heroes’ of the business and it’s great to see their driving skills and approach to customer care recognised in these national awards.”