General News

Queen recognises local accessible travel pioneer in Birthday Honours

Besi Besemar June 7, 2019

The local and national work of bus manager Victoria Garcia has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

VICTORIA, Accessibility and Community Manager at Brighton & Hove and Metrobus, has been making travel by public transport more accessible for disabled people and will receive the MBE for her dedication to this work.

Talking about her award, Victoria said: “It’s been a real honour to meet and collaborate with so many wonderful people from charities and other partner organisations and so many users of public transport. To receive this personal honour for working with these amazing people is overwhelming and humbling. I’m so grateful for their help in making our services more accessible.

“A huge thank you to them, my colleagues, my family, the people who nominated me and to my boss Martin Harris who has supported, encouraged and believed in me and my work. I have the best job in the world!

“My only regret is that my mother wasn’t here for this as she had such respect for the Queen; it would have made her very proud.”

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus’ Managing Director Martin Harris added: “This personal honour for Victoria is so thoroughly well deserved – her passion for her work is boundless. It’s so important that someone contributing to accessible travel, not just for our services, but increasingly influencing the entire industry, has received this recognition.

“Her work in directly engaging the community in designing accessible public transport solutions has been inspirational and this is a strong and clear signal of the way forward.”

Martin said Victoria had been instrumental in a number of initiatives for accessible bus design, including effective hearing loops, dementia-friendly colour schemes, more manoeuvrable spaces and safety poles.

Victoria has also led on the development of a passenger assistance card known as Helping Hand. The card is now used by many people travelling by bus and taxi and has been rolled out across parent company Go-Ahead’s bus services.

In addition to her work for local bus services, Victoria chairs one of the local community rail partnerships and, more recently, joined the Department for Transport’s accessibility team for a six-month secondment.