Transport for London staff have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Ibrar Akram, who works for London Dial-a-Ride, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his work supporting Dial a Ride, and the local community, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Akram, who works in the control centre at London Dial-a-Ride, manages a team which schedules the bookings for disabled and older people who rely on the service to get around London. He has received a BEM in recognition for his outstanding work and dedication in ensuring that Dial-a-Ride remained able to provide London-wide support to its customers and NHS keyworkers during the pandemic.
When lockdown was announced, Akram, from Thornton Heath, worked quickly to adapt Dial-a-Ride services from providing transport to enable older and disabled people to get around London to using it to deliver food and shopping to them. He organised and led the support effort from Dial-a-Ride, partnering with the London Emergency Planning Group (LEPG) to identify where help was most needed.
In April of this year, he personally designed the support programme to get deliveries to essential workers and vulnerable people. Initially, the programme worked to get 100 deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) to different NHS hubs, but within a few days he made further arrangements to manage and schedule deliveries across the London borough of Newham to carry around 130 food trips and up to 350 pharmaceutical deliveries a day. This later expanded to include up to 450 shopping parcels to vulnerable Londoners who were unable to leave their homes.
Through the pandemic, Akram also made arrangements with the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Southall to distribute hot food to those shielding at home as well as weekend lunches to those working for the local NHS trust. He also worked to ensure Dial-a-Ride staff would be available to make ad-hoc deliveries of PPE to NHS Nightingale in east London.
By the end of June, Akram personally led and managed the scheduling and delivery of around 60,000 deliveries across London, providing food and deliveries to thousands of people. His unwavering dedication to this work, which he completed alongside his day-to-day work, led to glowing feedback from the LEPG, customers and his colleagues as he worked around the clock to ensure those in need got the support they sought.
The Queen’s Birthday Honours has also honoured London’s former Transport Commissioner Mike Brown, MVO with a CBE. Mike, who first joined TfL in 1990 on the Management Development Programme, was London’s Transport Commissioner between 2015 and 2020 and was recognised for his services to London.
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “I’m immensely proud of our staff who have been recognised for their work over these past six months, putting the needs of others selflessly before their own and their unwavering commitment to our customers and the community. This has been a time of great uncertainty for us all and Akram’s work shows the lengths my TfL colleagues have gone to, to ensure we can support London when it is needed most. In this unsettling time, his perseverance and commitment are a true inspiration.
“He did an outstanding job as Commissioner so I am also delighted to see that my predecessor, Mike Brown, has received a CBE for services to London. Mike has been a fantastic ambassador for transport and the need for investment in public transport to support the economy. This recognition is very much deserved.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s great to see Ibrar Akram and former Transport Commissioner Mike Brown recognised for their outstanding work and contribution to London. Akram’s inspiring adaptation of the Dial-a-Ride service during the coronavirus pandemic ensured food and deliveries continued to reach the most vulnerable Londoners and our essential workers, and is a testament to the values of community and support that lie at the heart of our city.
“Mike Brown displayed exceptional leadership and vision at the helm of TfL as former Commissioner, helping to transform London’s public transport network into one of the best in the world. His recognition is very well deserved.”Ibrar Akram, Service Delivery Manager at TfL’s Dial-a-Ride, said: “I am extremely happy to have been recognised with this honour, but I see it as an honour for all of my team at London Dial-a-Ride. I am so happy that we have been able to provide essential support to so many people when they have needed it most. I’m truly proud when I hear colleagues from all over TfL talk about what a great help our service has been to vulnerable members of our communities in these worrying times.”