Working with the community

 

Venus Awards

Southern Vectis is celebrating - after scooping a top accolade at the inaugural Isle of Wight Venus Awards, which recognise the area’s women business stars. 

We actively encourage gender diversity within the workplace.

 “We are thrilled to win this award against tough opposition,” said Southern Vectis managing director, Andrew Wickham. “This is fantastic praise for the excellent team we have here.” 

We've worked hard to increase the diversity of employees. Our largest group of workers are drivers - 19 percent are women.

During the past 12 months, 31 percent of new starters are female, compared to 18 percent just four years ago. 

Share the Road

Southern Vectis is urging greater consideration among drivers sharing the island’s roads with cyclists.

We've signed up to the ‘Share the Road’ campaign, funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and led by Isle of Wight Council with campaign group, CycleWight.

“We’re delighted to be participating in this important awareness campaign,” said Matt Kitchin, general manager of Southern Vectis.

“To demonstrate our support, we have covered the rears of two of our buses with messages to promote the safe overtaking of cycles, mopeds and horses.

“The safety of our passengers and drivers is crucially important - but so is that of others sharing the island’s roads with us.

 National Apprenticeship Week 

Apprentice engineer Ryan Wherry is aiming high within the bus industry - thanks to training and development provided by Southern Vectis.

The 22-year-old heard about the possibility of an apprenticeship through a government website and signed up to four years of work training with us.

“I am two and a half years into my apprenticeship and couldn’t be happier,” said Ryan. ‘I’m working as a heavy vehicle fitter and take part in every aspect of mechanical maintenance and repair to keep our fleet on the road.

Ryan applied for an apprenticeship to improve his future prospects by learning a trade. “I chose Southern Vectis because of its good reputation as a training provider - and everyone seemed friendly and willing to pass on their knowledge,” he said. 

Slips, Trips and Falls

Southern Vectis has teamed up with Age UK and Carisbrooke College to pilot a scheme aimed at encouraging students to support older people on public transport.

Taking part in the Age Friendly Island Project, we helped run a special course at the college - with young people donning, age simulation suits, blindfolds, special glasses and ear-defenders to simulate the challenges facing elderly passengers travelling on its buses.

“It’s perfectly understandable that many of our young passengers don’t always understand and appreciate the needs of older people using public transport on the island,” said Matt Kitchin, general manager of Southern Vectis.

“This was an excellent opportunity for us to work with Age UK to raise awareness of these very important issues. We used one of our vehicles and a number of props - including shopping bags, trolleys and walking sticks - to help students explore ways they might be able to help our less agile customers. 

Getting the Scouts on the Road

Scouts on the Isle of Wight have been getting a helping hand to travel to district and fundraising events - thanks to Southern Vectis.

The island’s bus operator loaned out its vehicles throughout 2015 to transport the youngsters to various events, and will continue its support over the coming year.

“I’d like to thank Southern Vectis for its help. It really has made a difference, not only for those travelling to events - but to the funds of our district too,” said scout leader Vikki Mann.

89% Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction among those travelling with Southern Vectis is at 89 percent for the second year running, an independent survey has found.

The Isle of Wight bus operator scored highly in an overall satisfaction rating, according to national watchdog - Transport Focus.

Customers were surveyed in Autumn 2015 for the annual survey. They gave scores and views on various aspects of the firm’s performance - including convenience, punctuality, service, comfort and condition of both vehicle and shelter.

Investment in new Buses

 

“We have made significant improvements in recent years with new great value ticket bundles for travellers, introducing wifi and usb chargers on board and significant investment of over £5 million in replacing over half our fleet with new vehicles. 

“These brand new British-built Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double decker buses will provide comfort, reliability and more seats for those travelling with us. They will operate predominantly on route 9 between Newport and Ryde -  and I am delighted that these new vehicles will include additional improvements to benefit those travelling with us here.”

The buses will also feature full destination displays - front and rear - with white LEDs, giving greater clarity, particularly after dark, new lighter coloured flooring to assist partially sighted customers and those suffering dementia, plus a new style of seating for passengers.

Beer & Buses

 

The Beer & Buses weekend, held in October each year, has become something of a cult event amongst fans of real ale and vintage motor vehicles, attracting thousands of people to visit the island to savour both.

The event raises valuable funds for the Isle of Wight Bus Museum, a charity preserving the island’s motor transport heritage. At Southern Vectis we are proud to support the event including offering participants a discounted weekend bus ticket to get about and lending our 1940’s vintage ‘Old Girl’ for rides.

Isle of Wight Festival 

 

Southern Vectis made it easier than ever for anyone wishing to visit the Isle of Wight Festival. 

Shuttle buses throughout the event - allowing festival-goers to travel on buses directly between the site and special stops at Newport, Ryde, Cowes, East Cowes and Yarmouth. 

“We worked closely with festival organisers to encourage people to leave their cars behind and enjoy the opportunity to immerse themselves in the magical atmosphere here - without having to worry about how they were getting home.”

After each night there were frequent shuttle services from the Festival bus station to destinations across the island - including all main towns. Buses departed the Festival bus station at regular intervals until the early hours of each morning.

 

Shalfleet Junior School Rover Ticket

 

Southern Vectis is celebrating the success of its Shalfleet Junior Rover ticket, by extending its availability until further notice.. 

The ticket, allowing young people between the ages of 11 and 16 to travel between Shalfleet and West Wight Sports Centre, will now be valid on Mondays - as well as Tuesdays - from 4pm to 10pm. 

“We worked closely with Shalfleet Parish Council to introduce this initiative, making it easier for our younger passengers to attend youth clubs at the sports centre,” said Matt Kitchin, general manager of Southern Vectis. 

“Funding from the parish council made the ticket - which costs just £1 - possible. And we’ve had such a great response during its trial period that we’re extending the availability of the Shalfleet Junior Rover until further notice.”

Councillor Pam Broadhead, of Shalfleet Parish Council, added: “Shalfleet Parish Council is very pleased to liaise with Southern Vectis to reduce transport costs to help the youngsters within our Parish access sport and youth facilities in the West Wight.”

Community Rail

 

We’ve been a member of the Island Line Community Rail Partnership since inception and through the partnership we have delivered some great projects.

Travelsafe: is a programme targeted at young people to show them how to keep safe when using public transport. More recently we’re partnered South West Trains, Isle of Wight College and the partnership to deliver impactful short video’s now being delivered to schools and colleges across the Solent region. For more details please visit https://www.facebook.com/travelsafe/

Rail 150: In 2014 Island Line celebrated its 150th birthday and we were there to help the party with a special vintage bus shuttle from Shanklin to Ventnor linking events along the way.

Age Friendly Island

 

We’ve played an important role in Age UK’s mission to create an Age Friendly Island on the Isle of Wight, helping older people maintain their independence for longer.

Our travel shops are designated ‘safe havens’ for those suffering dementia and requiring support. Our drivers are undertaking training to raise awareness of how to support older people when travelling out and about.

We’re working with Age UK and local schools to deliver age awareness training to younger people and we’ve introduced our ‘safe journey cards’ so customers can communicate discretely to the driver any specific requirements they may have. 

Charity Fundraising

 

Our staff support a host of different charities outside of work and we always try to help their fundraising efforts where we can. One example is the annual Bloodstone Border Morris Rally in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight air Ambulance.

We provide two vehicles free of charge to transport people to and from the rally with our staff giving up their time to drive the vehicles in aid of this good cause.

Poppy bus

 

Supporting the excellent work of the Royal British Legion is something close to the hearts of many of our customers and colleagues. We were proud to unveil our ‘poppy bus’ in 2013 featuring poppy seller and island resident Dave Mosling.

Each year the bus is made available, free of charge, to the Royal British Legion for events both on island and on the mainland.

Evey's bus

 

The tragic story of Evey Staley and the resolve of her family to campaign for improved road safety is something that has touched many people on the Isle of Wight. Evey’s bus was launched for the annual police drink drive campaign in December 2013. The message the bus carried helped remind people of the dangers of drink and drug driving.

Southern Vectis are now part of the ‘Isle Drive Safely’ campaign lead by the Staley family, working towards sustained improvements to road safety across the island.