Two bus drivers from First Hampshire in Portsmouth are going for the prestigious title of the UK’s Bus Driver of the Year.
The high-profile national competition will take place in Blackpool this weekend and is considered the pinnacle of the bus industry.
Those competing for the title are tested on all aspects of the profession, from practical driving skills to customer care and a 30 question theory test.
Kelvin Livett and Bob Green, both based at First’s Hilsea depot, booked their places in the finals after winning through the local heats.
The third finalist is Andy Attwood, who is based in Southampton.
Once in Blackpool, they will go up against approximately 120 other drivers from across the UK.
The trio are the top three scorers from a total number of 14 entries in Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire.
Kelvin, who has taken part in three previous finals, has been a driver at Hilsea since June 1996.
He has finished in the top 20 in his previous attempts and has been practising hard since the local elimination rounds to improve on his ranking.
Bob is new to the competition but has been a driver at Hilsea since February 2007.
He scored very well in the elimination rounds and has been diligently practising the practical aspects of the competition as well as studying hard on the theory side.
In previous years, the business has produced drivers who have taken fourth and fifth places, as well as a fourth place for a Fareham-based female driver, who was crowned top female driver.
Nick Sutton, delegated driving examiner for Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire, who has been putting the trio through their paces, said: ‘We have previously finished in the top five but a place in the top three still eludes us, as we have been pipped to the post in the past by both First Devon & Cornwall and First Cymru.
‘This year just may be our turn and I am quietly hopeful that our combined efforts in preparation for this year, might just produce a winner!’