George Marcar, Bus Driver Policy Implementation Manager at Transport for London (TfL), has been recognised with an MBE for his work over many years to improve accessibility in London.
He is one of 36 people across logistics, roads, rail, bus and maritime have been awarded honours in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
George, who lives in Kent, has worked tirelessly for more than 40 years to promote bus travel for elderly and disabled people as an accessible and simple way of getting around London. He has been fundamental to London having a fully accessible bus network since 2005, which has made journeys easier for millions of people with accessibility needs.
TfL says that “His unwavering commitment to promoting accessibility on London’s bus network has helped to make London buses more accessible than ever before.”
Prior to the pandemic, George would arrange accessibility forums at bus garages, depots and other locations, which take the message about the importance of accessibility to bus drivers and other bus staff. The forums also give attendees, which include older and disabled people, the opportunity to talk about their experiences and ask questions that can help drivers provide a better service to all.
By bringing together people from all sides – customers, bus drivers, bus companies and other stakeholders – George has helped provide a better understanding of the difficulties faced by older people and those with disabilities, including those with hidden disabilities such as dementia and autism.
This vital sharing of information has also helped develop and deliver campaigns such as TfL’s previous poster campaign reminding customers that wheelchair users and those with a pushchair often need to share the space available on buses.
His dedication to making sure all drivers received the same messaging led him to develop the ‘Big Red Book’ – a handy sized guidebook with detailed information to help and guide London’s 25,000 bus drivers on how they should handle a wide range of events they may come across while out on the road.
In 2018, George took it upon himself to ensure every one of London’s 80 bus garages had at least one driver trained up as a Dementia Friend. He has also provided key insight in developments that have gone on to make buses safer and more accessible such as advising on ramps so they can deploy at a better gradient and allow easier access for those who need them.
George Marcar said: “I am truly humbled and honoured to receive this special award and wish to thank all those I have worked with over the years who have helped us make London’s buses what they are today.
“When I started work in 1981, disabled customers were hardly seen on buses as the high steps and railings on every bus meant many couldn’t access them. I am proud to now see so many people – all from different backgrounds and each with their own story to tell – using our buses every day, and to know that so many are able to travel more easily as we continue to strive for further improvements.”
Andy Byford London’s Transport Commissioner said: “George’s work over the past 40 years has completely changed London’s buses for the better, making the network the standard that many cities look to achieve. His expansive knowledge of bus services and accessibility, combined with his constant energy and enthusiasm, means he is always looking to push London further.
“I am immensely proud that we have colleagues like George at TfL pushing to make London better for us all.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “George has worked tirelessly for decades to transform the accessibility of London’s bus network, improving the daily lives of countless elderly and disabled passengers.
“His inspirational work means they can rely on buses to get around the city easily and safely, and his efforts to raise awareness with bus drivers means that consistent guidance is provided to all those who work across the network. Everyone should be able to use London’s public transport, and George has made an invaluable contribution towards this goal.”