IT’S NOT just Strictly Come Dancing contestants who want to get to Blackpool: bus drivers do too.
Last week, two staff members of Reading Buses headed up north to take part in the annual Bus Driver of the Year contest.
The competition measured various driving skills as well as featuring a theory test that challenged the drivers’ knowledge.
Some of the driving tests included the left and right tail swings requiring them to stop the back of the bus by a post and the distance measured to ensure the bus had the optimum tail swing of one metre.
There was also a test to see how far away the drivers were when overtaking a bicycle with points being deducted for being either too far away or too close.
And while they didn’t win, the Reading Buses duo enjoyed their spin on the dancefloor – sorry roads.
Jonathan Berkolds, 32 and of Spencers Wood, performed well coming 53rd out of 82 competitors.
And colleague Ed Love, 27 and from Thatcham, ranked higher, finishing in 27th position.
Reading Buses HR Director Caroline Anscombe said: “We are extremely proud of both Ed and Jonathan who did very well in all areas of the competition.
“It is no surprise that Ed performed so well as this was his fourth time representing Reading Buses at the competition. His best performance was a couple of years ago when he finished 13th.
“Jonathan was participating in his second competition and so performed incredibly well.”
And Ms Anscombe said that they both enjoyed their experience and are looking forward to trying again next year.
“The requirements of each test were very stringent,” she added. “Millimetres were deciding whether the driver got an excellent score or not. Our Academy team were very pleased with how Ed and Jonathan performed against a backdrop of a lot of very talented drivers from around the country.”
Mr Love said he was enjoying being back in the competition: “It has a nice relaxed atmosphere – everyone is approachable from the organisers to the other competitors.”
And Mr Berkolds felt that the competition was ‘very tough’ this year.
“The conditions were very windy which meant it was challenging, but that’s what I like – it’s all about having a go and challenging yourself,” he said.
“The other competitors were very talented and it was nice to go back and compete again.”
The competition was won by driver Adam Stitt from Lothian Buses in Edinburgh.