An inspirational bus company manager has been made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Victoria Garcia, who has been described as an “accessible transport pioneer” was recognised “for services to disabled transport users”.
Her work and dedication as the accessibility and community manager at Brighton and Hove Buses – and Metrobus in Crawley – have won plaudits locally and nationally.
She 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.”
Mr Harris, the managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses and Metrobus, said: “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.”
Mr Harris said that Ms Garcia had been instrumental in a number of initiatives for accessible bus design.
These included effective hearing loops, dementia-friendly colour schemes, more manoeuvrable spaces and safety poles.
She 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 extended across parent company Go-Ahead’s bus services.
In addition to her work for local bus services, Ms Garcia chairs one of the local community rail partnerships.
More recently she joined the Department for Transport’s accessibility team for a six-month secondment.