This summer's IRTE Skills Challenge is gathering steam, according to organiser IRTE, as eight new bus and coach operators sign up for the contest.
London United, Tower Transit, Abellio, Coastal Coaches, Gwyn Jones & Son, Paul Clark Services and Transdev Lancashire United will go head to head with competition stalwarts Arriva, First Group, Go Ahead London, Go South Coast, London Borough of Redbridge and Translink.
London United training manager Derek Mills, who attended the testing at last summer's IRTE Skills Challenge , says he liked what he saw so much that his company is taking up the challenge.
"London United sees the IRTE Skills Challenge as an opportunity ... to allow for comparison within our industry," states Mills.
"Competitions like this allow us and our engineers to gauge whether our company is keeping abreast of technologies and best practices within our industry."
"The IRTE Skills Challenge has become a must-do event for any bus and coach operator keen to give their engineering people the opportunity to showcase their skills," comments Tower Transit engineering director Alan Coney.
"Tower Transit is very new to bus operations in the UK and I consider it important that any progressive company takes the opportunity to actively participate in events such as the Skills Challenge," he adds.
Meanwhile, Go South Coast area engineering manager Steve Prewett says: "One way of judging the success of our training programme against the rest of the industry is the IRTE Skills Challenge.
"The Skills Challenge has also ignited interest throughout the rest of Go South Coast Companies. I'm being asked to submit more than one team this year."
Trials will take place at S&B Automotive Academy, Bristol in the first week of June.
The IRTE Skills Challenge aims to find the best mechanical, electrical and bodywork technicians in the bus and coach world through testing skills and knowledge.
Sponsored by Allison Transmission, Bridgestone, Knorr-Bremse and Shell Lubricants.