After more than 13,000 votes and 2,500 nominations, Queensland’s best bus drivers have been announced.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey today joined finalists from across Queensland at Parliament House to announce the winners of the Palaszczuk Government’s 2019 Bus Driver of the Year Awards, coordinated by TransLink.
Renee-Jade Majid from Sunbus Rockhampton was named winner of the regional category while Betty Hipwell from Christensen’s Bus and Coach took out the honours for best school bus driver and John Russ from Caboolture Buslines was awarded best South East Queensland bus driver.
“Across the state, bus operators employ thousands of workers who all play a crucial role in getting Queenslanders from A to B,” Mr Bailey said.
“This year’s record number of nominations and votes shows just how much Queensland loves its bus drivers.
“Together with our finalists, all three drivers have set an extremely high standard with their friendly customer service each time they get behind the wheel.”
Mr Bailey said it was a tough job for the industry-led panel to narrow the nominations down to the 10 finalists and every driver across the state should be proud of themselves.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to support Queensland bus drivers through awards like this, and our $23 billion roads and transport program.
Best regional driver: Renee-Jade Majid (Sunbus Rockhampton)
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said Renee-Jade, who goes by RJ, exemplified Rocky’s great hospitality and spirit of mateship.
“Having listened to some of the reasons why RJ was nominated, it’s no wonder RJ has been crowned best regional driver in a record year for nominations and votes,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“The city can’t wait to welcome our winning driver home.”
Miss Majid said she was “gobsmacked” to win the award.
“It’s heart-warming, I’m amazed,” Miss Majid said.
“I plan to celebrate with some mates later in Rocky.”
Best school driver: Betty Hipwell (Christensen’s Bus and Coach)
Ms Hipwell thanked her local community for their support.
“It means a lot,” Ms Hipwell said.
“All of the Woodford and the Kilcoy area got behind and it’s been amazing because the area has just been buzzing.”
Best South East Queensland driver: John Russ (Caboolture Buslines)
Member for Morayfield Mark Ryan congratulated John on taking out top honours, saying he’d done the whole region proud.
“As one nominator put it best, John is the most amazing, kind, friendly compassionate driver – he’s like a father, grandfather and uncle to everyone and anyone,” Mr Ryan said.
“John is someone who loves his job and loves interacting with people every day, and we’re lucky to have him right here in Caboolture and Morayfield.”
Mr Russ was overcome with emotion following his triumph.
“It means everything to me,” Mr Russ said.
“I’ll be taking my beautiful family out for dinner at a beautiful restaurant to celebrate this grand occasion.”
Mr Bailey thanked everyone who nominated and voted in the Palaszczuk Government’s 2019 Bus Driver of the Year Awards.
“More and more Queenslanders are embracing public transport with close to 190 million trips on our buses, trains, trams and ferries,” Mr Bailey said.