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The re­cent 2018 BusNSW Best Bus Driver awards was a timely re­minder of some of the top driving tal­ent rep­re­sent­ing best prac­tice in The Premier State. Fabian Cot­ter re­ports.

A DRIVER TRAINER who is “an ab­so­lute as­set”, an ex­cep­tional tour guide with a great sense of hon­our, and “the best bus driver in the world” – as de­scribed by a young school kid – took the top hon­ours at the BusNSW 2018 Driver of the Year awards, re­cently.

NSW bus driv­ers Glenn Sharp from Blue Moun­tains Transit (Met­ro­pol­i­tan/Outer Met­ro­pol­i­tan Bus Driver of the Year); Lars Horn­stra from Pic­ton Buslines (Ru­ral and Re­gional Bus Driver of the Year); and Henry Vianna from AAT Kings (Coach Driver of the Year) were the wor­thy win­ners.

The awards were an­nounced at the BusNSW Of­fices on De­cem­ber 3 by ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Matt Threlkeld, and pre­sented by John King, BusNSW pres­i­dent, and Clare Gar­diner-Barnes, Trans­port for NSW deputy sec­re­tary – Freight, Strat­egy and Plan­ning.


Estab­lished in 2006 to recog­nise in­di­vid­u­als for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the NSW bus and coach in­dus­try, they hon­our driv­ers who are “the in­ter­face be­tween bus op­er­a­tors and their cus­tomers”.

“The in­dus­try de­pends heav­ily on its driv­ers to pro­vide the kind of cus­tomer ser­vice that the trav­el­ling pub­lic ex­pect and rely upon,” said Threlkeld. Spon­sored by Mo­bitec, the awards are di­vided into three cat­e­gories:

Met­ro­pol­i­tan and Outer Met­ro­pol­i­tan Driver of the Year

Re­gional and Ru­ral Driver of the Year; and

Coach Driver of the Year.


To be el­i­gi­ble for each award, nom­i­nees needed to: ex­hibit a pos­i­tive and co­op­er­a­tive at­ti­tude to­wards their job;

as­sist pas­sen­gers and other staff mem­bers; have a high stan­dard of per­sonal pre­sen­ta­tion; al­ways greet pas­sen­gers in a po­lite and friendly man­ner; and al­ways drive safely and be cour­te­ous to other road users.

Said Threlkeld of Blue Moun­tains Transit’s Sharp: “The win­ner of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan/Outer Met­ro­pol­i­tan Bus Driver of the Year is a driver whose em­ployer de­scribes as an ‘ab­so­lute as­set’, both to the com­pany, and to pub­lic trans­port in gen­eral.

“This driver is well re­spected by his col­leagues and man­age­ment and, most of all, by the pas­sen­gers he car­ries.”

Em­ployed as a driver trainer, in that ca­pac­ity Shrap is dili­gent in en­sur­ing new staff have all the skills needed to be­come ef­fec­tive and pro­fes­sional bus driv­ers, plus his is also gen­er­ous in shar­ing his many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try with his fel­low em­ploy­ees, Threlkeld ex­plains.

“He is of­ten called upon to drive both reg­u­lar pas­sen­ger and school ser­vice, and the com­pany has re­ceived many glow­ing re­ports from pas­sen­gers about this driver’s pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and will­ing­ness to as­sist.”


“One school child pas­sen­ger even wrote that he was ‘the best bus driver in the world’!”

Pic­ton Buslines’s Horn­stra re­ceived equal praise for his award. As Threlkeld an­nounced: “The Ru­ral and Re­gional Bus Driver of the Year [win­ner] only started driving for his em­ployer in 2013. How­ever, even at that stage, he shone out as a pro­fes­sional driver with ex­cep­tional cus­tomer ser­vice skills.”

Horn­stra’s per­sonal pre­sen­ta­tion and his ve­hi­cle pre­sen­ta­tion are al­ways ex­cep­tional, and his ‘can do’ at­ti­tude means he is avail­able to as­sist any­one in any way pos­si­ble, Threlkeld ex­plains.

“His em­ployer has re­ceived many let­ters and com­pli­ments and all com­ment on this driver’s po­lite­ness, friend­li­ness and ea­ger­ness to help. One school child pas­sen­ger even wrote that he was ‘the best bus driver in the world’!” he added.


Coach travel spe­cial­ist AAT Kings de­scribes its em­ployee Vianna as, “a driver who goes be­yond the call of duty to as­sist the cus­tomers he trans­ports”.

As the win­ner of the BusNSW Coach Driver of the Year award, Vianna has that “at­ten­tion to detail” that makes him a great coach driver, and also a great em­ployee, it says.

“He has a passion for the job and a work ethic de­scribed as ‘ex­cep­tional’. Im­por­tantly for a tour guide, this driver has a great commentary style and a sense of hu­mour, which makes each trip lively and en­ter­tain­ing,” said Threlkeld.

AAT Kings re­ceives many com­pli­ments about his at­ti­tude, his knowl­edge and his pa­tience, of­ten with el­derly pas­sen­gers, the com­pany states.

In the words of one pas­sen­ger, “noth­ing is too much trou­ble for him, which made our ex­pe­ri­ence very easy and re­lax­ing,” it was ex­plained.

Left (L-R): Clare Gar­diner-Barnes, TfNSW deputy sec­re­tary; Henry Vianna, AAT Kings; Glenn Sharp, Blue Moun­tains Transit; Lars Horn­stra, Pic­ton Buslines; and BusNSW’s Matt Threlkeld.

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