Driven to win

Award-winning Sheffield bus driver Jane Greenacre
Award-winning Sheffield bus driver Jane Greenacre
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A DEDICATED woman bus driver who went the extra mile to help frightened elderly passengers during the big freeze in Sheffield has been shortlisted for a top national award.

Jane Greenacre beat off competition from thousands of drivers to become the only woman on a shortlist of seven bidding to become best driver at the UK Bus Awards.

She will attend a gala dinner at the Park Lane Hilton Hotel in London on Tuesday, November 29, to find out if she has won the major prize.

Jane, based at First’s Olive Grove depot, Sheffield, said: “I am happy to receive this nomination, which isn’t just for me but for all the other First staff in South Yorkshire who work extremely hard to provide a first-class bus service each day.”

A First spokesman said: “Jane won our 2010 annual First Superstars award for her exemplary behaviour and assistance to customers during poor weather.

“She was nominated by a customer for her excellent driving and customer communication during atrocious weather conditions.

“Jane was driving the 53 service between Lowedges and Ecclesfield in very difficult conditions.

“Whilst having to focus on her driving, Jane still found time to explain to customers the diverted route she was following and kept giving customers regular updates.

“Despite having some very elderly people on her bus who were very frightened at the ever-worsening weather conditions, Jane’s calmness under severe pressure was customer service of the highest order.

“She ensured all passengers were taken as near to their homes as possible and that they were not left isolated and alone when disembarking from the bus.”

Phil Robinson, operations director for First South Yorkshire, said: “Jane is a model professional with an exemplary record for safety and customer service in a tough working environment.”

The First spokesman said Jane, who has been with the company since 1997, had six safe driving awards. She passed the Smiths Safe Driving Award and achieved a top score under First’s Drive Green scheme.

Jane will be assessed by a mystery traveller while she is at work some time in the next two months to see if she deserves the crown of Britain’s top bus driver.

n Bus drivers’ charity strip: P18.