Darren Astbury, chief technician at National Express West Midlands, was named Road Transport Engineer of the Year at the The Society of Operations Engineers’ Safety and Sustainability Awards.
The 41-year-old, from Kings Norton, was lauded for protecting customers and staff during Covid and reducing bus break downs by 47%.
Adam Fraser-Hitchen, SOE President, said: “The SOE Safety and Sustainability Awards recognise special achievements of members who have demonstrated professionalism, expertise, teamwork and integrity over the past year in their engineering roles.
“We are delighted to be able to acknowledge these exceptional individuals and celebrate their success.”
Darren was nominated after finding out the root causes of several mechanical failures in the National Express West Midlands 1,600-strong bus fleet and his work helped key workers needing to get to work in schools and hospitals throughout the pandemic.
Ensuring passenger safety Darren developed a seating map for social distancing, ensuring customers and drivers could continue to travel safely, which was used by other bus companies across the country.
Darren said: “I was a little surprised and am extremely grateful to the SOE for this award and recognition. I’ll be the first to admit that as engineers we tend to just get on with the job that we love, but this serves as a timely reminder of the important role that we play in the bus and coach industry - and that it should be celebrated.
“If I think about where I started 24 years ago and where I am now, it’s been quite the ride with all of the projects and challenges I’ve worked on and the knowledge and skills I’ve gained."