South West Falcon wins silver at UK Coach awards

The South West Falcon from Stagecoach is celebrating May in style with a prestigious awards win coinciding with a major passenger milestone.

The Falcon has won the silver award for ‘Top Express Operation’ at the UK Coach Awards. The award recognises excellent customer service, high operational and engineering standards and a rigorous approach to training, diversity and health and safety. There were just two awards, presented in this category, due to Stagecoach and Gold winner Scottish Citylink Coaches being ‘head and shoulders above’ the other operators.

Post ceremony, the UK coach awards explained the judges decision to present Stagecoach with a silver award for the South West Falcon:

“The judges thought that it was a bold move to put in a 24/7 service joining up places that were not otherwise connected by public transport, and the service deserves to be a success. It is certainly very impressive on the road.”

In the same month, Falcon is also celebrating carrying over half a million passengers, a fantastic achievement for a service that only sprang into being just over two years ago.

Bob Dennison, Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, commented: “I’m over the moon that we’ve won such a highly regarded industry award. It is testament to all the outstanding work undertaken by our team in keeping the Falcon flying 24/7 across the South West.

“Of course, we couldn’t have done this without our customers so to reach our half millionth passenger during the same month makes it a double celebration - and a huge validation of the service as a whole.”

The awards win and passenger milestone also coincide with the Falcon’s sponsorship of this weekend’s EAT Food and Drink Festival in Taunton. The multi award-winning event will take place on Saturday 12 May in the picturesque Hammet Street and St Mary Magdalene church yard. Showcasing the best of Somerset food and drink, the event coincides with Somerset Day and is free to attend.

The South West Falcon has also made a donation to Taunton’s not-for-profit Peregrine Project. This will support the live streaming of a nesting pair of falcons who have taken up residence in the tower of St. Magdalene Church. Project Leader Michael Leigh-Mallory said:

“This generous donation will help support our website and streaming costs into 2019 and beyond. Funding from private companies forms an important part of the project’s vision into the future.”

Bob Dennison added “Supporting the EAT Festival and the Peregrine Project are both great ways to help forge stronger links with the communities we serve. Of course, having a falcon as our mascot made the Peregrine Project an ideal fit for us!”

There will be a screen at the festival for people to watch the comings and goings of the birds of prey and Michael will be there to answer questions about the project. South West Falcon staff - and mascot Pat the Falcon – will also be on hand to talk to visitors, hand out timetables and giveaways.

Launched on 14 February 2016 at a cost of £2.5m, the South West Falcon is the first dedicated 24/7 coach service to connect major locations across the South West. To help improve reliability over the busy summer period, a new timetable will come into effect from 21 May. Coaches will run at least every hour during the daytime and up to every 30 minutes at the busiest times over the weekend.

Customers can view the South West Falcon timetable and plan their journey by Falcon at www.swfalcon.com or by downloading the new Stagecoach Bus app from App and Play stores. For travel updates on the go, customer can follow on twitter @flyswfalcon.