AN historic York coach firm has scooped a top national award just months after coming back into existence.

York Pullman Bus Company is celebrating after winning the Best Small Operator award at the Showbus Rally 2007 - the largest event of its kind in the UK.

The accolade has delighted staff at the firm, which was only reformed by K&J Logistics five months ago. Pullman buses were a familiar sight around York from the company's inception in 1920, but it went bust in 1990, before being revived in April.

Louise Robson, booking office manager at Pullman, said: "We are all very thrilled to win the award. It is not one we were expecting to win. We went along to showcase some of our vehicles and the addition of the award topped off a fantastic first six months for us."

Ms Robson said the company had been delighted with business so far. She said: "We have had a wonderful reception from customers that used to travel with Pullman who are pleased to see us return after a hiatus, and we have kept adding to our fleet." Meanwhile, in a further boost for York bus firms, First's ftr bus has been shortlisted for two prestigious public transport prizes.

First's distinctive purple vehicle has been nominated for the Department for Transport "Winning New Customers" Award and the Alexander Dennis Innovation Award at the UK Bus Awards.

Minister of State for Transport, Rosie Winterton, said: "Bus travel is essential for many people in York, allowing them to travel to jobs, shops and visit friends and family.

"The UK Bus Awards is an important event in the transport calendar and I wish York the best of luck on the night.

The fact that York has been shortlisted for these awards is testament to the hard work that goes on in the area to make bus services more attractive to the public."

John Owen, chairman of the UK Bus Awards, said: "The UK Bus Awards identifies excellence in the bus industry where companies or people have made a real difference. This year we received a record number of entries and their quality is the highest yet.

"I wish all of the nominees every success at this year's event."