WEARSIDE bus drivers could be en route to national recognition after triumphing over 1,600 other workers to scoop awards.
John Page, James Lumsden and James Ian Leslie came first, second and third respectively in Stagecoach North East’s annual Bus Driver of the Year competition.
The award is handed out for outstanding and exceptional driving across all six depots in the North East.
The three were presented with the awards at the organisation’s Sunderland depot, in Monkwearmouth, by operations director Mike Watson.
Speaking about his win, Mr Leslie said: “I’m really pleased with my award.
“This year I also celebrated my 40 years’ service with Stagecoach North East so it’s a double celebration for me.
“Buses are in my blood, though I can’t take all the credit for the award as Stagecoach has always ensured I’m up to date with my driving skills through training.
“Really, we’re all exceptional drivers due to this.”
Mr Page and Mr Lumsden will now go on a national final, which is being held in Blackpool later this month.
To be eligible for the award, members of staff have to take part in a driving test at the Stagecoach North East driving school, which is based in Sunderland, with the goal being to accrue as few points as possible.
Mr Watson said: “We are extremely proud of all of our drivers, and every year we recognise the very best we have through our Bus Driver of the Year awards.
“Our drivers are a credit to the training they have received at Sunderland, which spans their entire careers with us to ensure they are providing the best service possible for our customers.”