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No.10 • August 2011

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STEPHEN IS TOP DRIVER THE RESULTS of Go-Ahead London’s driver of the year competition are in, and Stephen Appiah of Merton has come out on top.

The competition, which took place on July 16, was held at Metrobus in Crawley with seven Go-Ahead London drivers and 11 Metrobus drivers taking part. Competitors had to complete a number of challenges including driving a bus as close as they could into a bay and passing through a narrow area while stopping on the appropriate coloured marker. At the end of the competition, the top three drivers from Go-Ahead London and the top three drivers from Metrobus were selected to compete in the national finals at Blackpool in September. Joining Stephen in the national finals will be Afonso Carvalho of Waterside Way, who came second, and


Glen Keane of Bexleyheath, who came third. “Unfortunately it was quite a wet day, but the competition went very smoothly,” said training manager Eric Dale. “I think the competition is very important as it gives the drivers a chance to show their skills, and Stephen certainly did that.” Stephen however did not realise at the time just how well he had performed. He said: “I was not quite sure how it had actually gone until my colleagues said I had done well. “It did come as a surprise but I am absolutely thrilled and I am very much looking forward to the national finals.” BELOW: Winner Stephen Appiah, second from left, receives his award from Eric Dale, flanked by Afonso Carvalho and Glen Keane.



Bid to ensure all communication channels are open...

Getting the message across ENSURING that the company’s communication channels are meaningful for everyone is a key priority at Go-Ahead London. Following the recent Have Your Say survey, action plans are already being drawn up to address the comments and suggestions raised by staff. An independent communications consultant has been working alongside the company to identify areas for improvement and to ensure the communication methods currently used are the most effective. As well as analysing every single survey submitted, an audit of written communication to see what type of information is on display in the garages – in the engineering area, operations area and in the output – has been undertaken. The Have Your Say survey was an important part of the wider communications review and it was an essential first step to enable the directors and senior managers to hear the suggestions and views of more than 1,500 employees.

Right balance The survey gave the company greater insight in a number of areas and action plans are now being formulated to ensure that the company has the best possible channels in place to enable employees to continue to share their views in the future. Operations director David Cutts said: “We know from the survey responses that the majority of employees still prefer the more traditional channels of communication – such as Bus Talk and local information bulletins – but we also know that some employees would like to see greater usage of new channels and so we’re keen to strike the right balance to ensure that everyone has access to important business news and helpful information in a way that suits them.” The Have Your Say survey clearly demonstrated that many Go-Ahead employees want to share their views with the company. Successful companies like GoAhead understand the importance of effective communication and how this can lead to higher levels of employee engagement and even better performance. 2

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Sheldon leads the comms drive AS PART of the company’s aim to keep improving communication a new position has been created. Former Camberwell operating manager Sheldon Malcolm has been seconded to the role of company communications manager. Having started his career with Go-

Ahead London as a driver in 1995, before managing the customer service department and working as operating manager, Sheldon’s experience will prove beneficial. “I think it’s helpful that I’ve worked in various roles throughout the business and hope that this will assist me in my current job,” said Sheldon. He will be working closely with colleagues to develop communications and, in IN A drive to further enhance communication, particular, will be tackling some the company is keen to hear colleagues’ of the issues that have arisen views. If you have a burning question that from the Have Your Say survey. you would like to have answered then here’s As well assessing how a chance to have your say and write a letter. communication is currently Every letter you write will receive a carried out, Sheldon will be response. If there is space in this magazine looking to develop a culture so and the subject you raise is relevant to the that all staff feel involved in the wider readership, your letter may even be communication process. published. He will also be working Send your letter to John Trayner, Managing on developing a series of IT Director, Go-Ahead London, 18 Merton High systems that can assist with Street, London SW19 1DN. Alternatively, communication channels. send an email to mdfeedback@go-ahead“I’m really looking forward to, ensuring that you type the working with people across the words ‘open letter’ in the subject box. business,” said Sheldon, who By writing your letter you are consenting to took up his new position on your letter being published in Bus Talk. July 18.

Write to the MD ...

Skills success: from left, engineering manager Chris McKeown, Luke d’Auvergne, Darren Connolly, Nick Field and engineering training manager Gerry Fleming.

Flying the Go-Ahead flag in skills contest A FANTASTIC set of results was achieved by Go-Ahead in the IRTE Skills Challenge, which took place in Bristol. On June 2 a team of three, Nick Field, Luke d’Auvergne and Darren Connolly as well as engineering manager, Chris McKeown and engineering training manager, Gerry Fleming, travelled to the event. Nick took part in the electrical category, competing in challenges such as diagnosing and repairing a non-start fault and repairing a door system fault. Fixing a gearbox as well as diagnosing and

repairing an air brake system fault were just some of the challenges Darren faced in the mechanical category. Luke’s tasks included panel fabrication, fibreglass repair and welding among other challenges in the body category. At the presentation, which took place at the House of Commons, where the results were also announced, Go-Ahead not only took home the honours in the electrical category, but also in the combined electrical and mechanical category as well as the overall team category.

The winners received a certificate for their efforts and a selection of Halford’s professional range tools. “I think there is a lot of pride in the competition with all the engineers out to show that the job they do is done to a very high standard,” said Chris. “They all completed their apprenticeships within the past few years, with Luke only having finished his last year, which makes the results all the more impressive. Darren and Luke were also runners-up in their categories which rounds off an excellent set of results.”

New routes gained following Super start to tender successes new service IT’S positive news for GoAhead London as two new high frequency routes join the fold as well as two low frequency routes. There have also been three service retentions. Following the latest round of competitive tendering, the company has been awarded routes 19, 20, 249 and 462. All contracts will run for five years with a possible two-year extension for good performance. Routes 20 and 462 (both won from Arriva London North) will begin on March 24, 2012 and routes 19 and 249 (both won from Arriva London South) will start on March 31, 2012. Route 19 operates between

Battersea Bridge and Finsbury Park and Route 249 runs between Anerley Station and Clapham Common. The night bus route N19, which operates between Clapham Junction and Finsbury Park, has also been won as part of the Route 19 contract. The peak vehicle requirement for Route 19 will be 26 and buses run seven days a week. Buses will also run daily on Route 249 and the PVR is 12. New double-deck vehicles will run on the routes and the 19 and N19 will benefit from 15 hybrid vehicles. Stockwell garage will operate Route 19, while a decision has yet to be made on which garage will take over the 249 service.

Route 20 operates between Debden Station and Walthamstow Central and has a PVR of 10. New double deck buses will be used as part of the contract. Route 462 goes from Ilford to Hainault and has a PVR of eight. New single deck buses will be required to operate the service. Both Route 20 and Route 462 will run daily from Blue Triangle. Go-Ahead London has also retained routes 167 (Ilford to Debden station) and 362 (King George Hospital, Goodmayes, to Grange Hill station) – both are run out of Blue Triangle. Docklands’ Route 549 has also been retained and operates from South Woodford station to Loughton station.

THE 129 service (Greenwich town centre to North Greenwich) New Cross recently won has got off to a flying start. Since starting on June 4 the service has been running smoothly, allowing tourists and commuters alike quick and easy travel to the Jubilee line. “It may not be the largest route, but it is certainly important as a connecting service,” said road manager, Angeline Verrillo. “Of course there will be some challenging times ahead with an equestrian event being held at Greenwich Park, but I believe we are more than able to deal with any disruption. “So far it has been a relatively smooth transition and drivers have taken to the route really well.”

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Here are the champions...

In our Face 2 Face column, we chat to Gina Edgerton, a driver at Sutton, who has worked for the company for 17 years. We ask Gina 10 light-hearted questions. Q: The best holiday you ever took was … A: Disney World Florida. Q: Which luxury item would you most like to own? A: A Goldwing motorbike. Q: What character trait do you most admire in others? A: Openness. Q: Your most treasured memory is … A: My niece being born. Q: What do you like most about your job? A: The camaraderie in the garage. Q: Describe your perfect three-course meal. A: Smoked salmon on brown bread, roast lamb with all the trimmings and chocolate gateau. Q: Who would you most like to meet? A: Madonna. Q: Which sport do you most like to watch/play? A: American football. Q: What job did you want to do as a child? A: Bus driver! Q: Who do you most admire? A: My friend Yvonne. 4

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Belvedere – Paul Bowhay

New Cross – James Wilkinson

Bexleyheath – Emma Tooze

Peckham – Brenda Lee

Blue Triangle – Adrian Hoxhaj

Putney – Graham Bradley

Camberwell – Kastriot Gashi

Stockwell – Wictor Kowalski

Docklands – Brad Campbell

Sutton – Ted Napper

Mandela Way – Nicola Phipps

Waterloo – Rashid Short

Merton – Spencer Suckling

Waterside Way – Keith Faulkner

CHAMPIONING THE OLYMPICS WITH PREPARATIONS for the Olympics well under way, Go-Ahead London has appointed an Olympic champion at each garage to help keep employees informed about the event. The job of each champion is to provide up to date information on the Olympics so the build up to it runs as smoothly as possible. Meetings involving the champions are also well under way, allowing the group to discuss how certain issues should be passed around the garages. Spencer Suckling, a driver at Merton, is relishing the opportunity to try out something a bit different within the company. “I am very much enjoying getting more involved with the Olympics,” said Spencer. “It’s certainly different from driving and I think it’s very important that this information gets to employees as quickly as it can.” Spencer is also surprised to see how many of his colleagues are interested in finding out the latest goings on in the run up to the event. He said: “I have had a lot of drivers asking me what the Olympics will entail for them. “Many of my colleagues have been very keen to find out what their involvement will be.” Emma Tooze, supervisory garage administrator and champion for Bexleyheath, has also found the role to be an exciting new test. She said: “So far, I’m really glad to have become champion for Bexleyheath. “I have been reminding the drivers that the London Olympics will be a once in a lifetime thing and making sure that they get all the relevant information they need in advance.”

Sport talk: Olympic champion Emma Tooze, right, w chats with Christine Willis.



with Graham Eve and Nikki Margerison. TOP: Emma

Preparing the way for a step up the ladder A NUMBER of Go-Ahead employees recently came to the end of their stint on the pre-promotion scheme, which offers a secondment to their chosen career path for the top scoring student. The course, which runs over seven weeks, covers a number of different modules designed to give employees a better idea of the overall structure of the company. Modules include company history, company finance, accidents and incidents, control of services in London, VOSA and interpersonal skills. When all was said and done Putney driver Michael Yates achieved the highest marks and will now be offered a secondment of his choice. Gill Tynan, service performance general manager, believes the course is an excellent way to get employees into their chosen field. “The course really helps employees to

get a greater sense of how they fit into the company,” said Gill. “Of course the fact that there is the chance of a secondment at the end of it also helps employees evaluate where they want to go with their career. “Congratulations must also go to Michael for his excellent performance throughout the seven weeks.” The result certainly came as a surprise to Michael who is thrilled to now have the chance of a secondment. “I had an idea that I may have done quite well, but I was certainly not expecting to score highest,” said Michael. “The course is excellent because it helps you understand how your role in the company affects that of those around you. “I haven’t chosen what I will be doing for my secondment yet, but I am really looking forward to getting started.”

NEW CROSS garage has been receiving regular visits from a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) working with the Lewisham Safer Transport Team. The aim of the Safer Transport Team is to help employees and passengers feel safe while using public transport as well as tackling any crime that may occur. The visits, which take place every Friday, give the police a chance to explore issues that arise at the garage and give employees a chance to discuss any problems they may be having. Discussions are held not only with

management – there are also one to one sessions with drivers to learn more about on-road problems. “I think the fact the PCSO spends time not only with the managers but also with the drivers is an excellent idea,” said road manager, Angeline Verrillo. “Being borough-based also means a lot of the issues they deal with on a daily basis are relevant to New Cross garage. “The team wants to get across that they are not just people in uniform and I think the visits really accomplish that.”

Police visits a help for drivers

It’s a testing new role for Steve

A NEW role has begun for Steve Coombs, pictured right, as he takes a step up the career ladder. The former New Cross senior vehicle engineer has become test centre manager for Go-Ahead London. This involves managing the company’s four test stations at New Cross, Camberwell, Stockwell and Merton. Steve will report to quality manager Roy Sayers. His previous experience includes liaising with VOSA personnel, overseeing the presentation of the garage’s buses, ensuring the verified paperwork is ready for VOSA and preparing and presenting buses for MOT. Steve joined Go-Ahead London in January 2000 and has worked in the bus industry since he left school in 1976. “I’m really pleased to have received the promotion. It’s a big step up for me and I’m looking forward to the new role,” he said.

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How other operators are faring HEARING regular news about which routes are won or lost by other London operators was one of the suggestions a number of colleagues raised in the recent staff survey. In this new column for Bus Talk we highlight just a few of the recent announcements. • Sullivan Buses has won the contract from London Buses to operate Route 298. The company will take over the route from Arriva London North on February 4, 2012. Single deck buses (5 PVR) will run from Arnos Grove station to Potters Bar. • Abellio London will take over the running of Route 455 from Arriva London South on March 3, 2012. The route runs between Purley, Old Lodge Lane and Wallington Station (10 PVR). • First London East has won the contracts for the W14, W15 and W16 from Arriva London North. The W14 goes from South Leyton to Woodford Bridge (10 PVR). The W15 goes from Hackney Central to Higham Hill (20 PVR). The W16 goes from Leytonstone to Chingford Mount (8 PVR). The new W15 and W16 contracts will begin in March 2012 while the W14 contract will begin on 25 February. • Arriva London North is to take over the running of W11 from First London East. Buses go from Chingford to Walthamstow (7 PVR). The new contract will start in March 2012. • From March 31, 2012 Arriva London North will take over Route 678 from Stagecoach East London. Buses go from Beckton to Stratford. • Arriva London North will lose Route 275 to Stagecoach East London in March 2012. Buses go from Barkingside to Walthamstow (10 PVR). • CT Plus is to gain Route 309 (Canning Town to Bethnal Green) from First London East in March 2012 (8 PVR). 6

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Proud day for apprentices WELL done to this year’s apprentices on the successful completion of their training. Pictured above are the third year apprentices, who transferred to the garages in July. Apprentice of the Year winners, pictured right with senior staff, are, from left, Harry Blaney (second year), Adrian Williamson (third year) and Matthew Fleming (first year).

New workshop on show at VIP launch

THE PROFILE of Camberwell garage’s new workshop was given a further boost this summer when it was chosen as the venue to launch complianceplus. The new compliance solution – a collaboration between CPT and Lloyd Morgan Group – is a proactive move towards bespoke vehicle inspection and quality assured maintenance systems. A number of senior people from the bus and coach industry were in attendance including Go-Ahead London MD John Trayner and group engineering director Phil Margrave.

Beverley Bell, deputy senior traffic commissioner, Steve Whiteway, CPT president, and Norman Baker, MP and parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, also attended the event. Engineering manager Robbie Small said: “Camberwell was an ideal place to hold the launch and it was nice to be able to show off our new workshop. “Go-Ahead London already provides 95 per cent of its training in-house and already carries out quality vehicle inspection and maintenance standards, but we were pleased to host so many high-profile people connected with our industry.”

David returns to take on the top role David Brown has become Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead following the retirement of Keith Ludeman on July 4. Most recently David was TfL’s managing director, surface transport – a role he had carried out for five years. Before joining Transport for London, David was chief executive of Go-Ahead’s London bus business from 20032006 and served as an advisor to the main Board. David said: “Go-Ahead is a great company. Before taking up the CEO role I had the time to visit

every operating company and see first-hand the effort and dedication of employees. “It was great to return and see so many familiar faces at Go-Ahead London. Go-Ahead London is a key part of the business and it is great to see how it has continued to develop and thrive. There is a real commitment to quality and a strong focus on local communities that really sets us apart from our competitors. As a business we are performing really well, and much of that is due to the quality of our people.”

David Brown.

Jimmy’s half a century on the buses AFTER 50 years of service and having made many friends along the way, Jimmy Leacock is about to retire. Jimmy originally started working for London Transport at Uxbridge before moving to Peckham where he stayed for the rest of his career. Exactly 50 years after he started as a 19-year-old on September 28, Jimmy is to spend his last day at Peckham. “When I first started I had only thought about working for the company for five

years or so, but I enjoyed it so much I never left,” said Jimmy, who also had some words of wisdom to pass down to his colleagues. He said: “If there’s one thing I’ve learnt during my time with the company it’s that a sound temperament and tremendous amount of patience will make the job far easier!” Jimmy plans to spend his free time enjoying the simpler things in life, taking some time out to relax as well.

Colleagues give Jimmy a rousing send-off.

Emma heads payroll team A NUMBER of new staff have been appointed to Go-Ahead London’s payroll division as part of the department’s restructuring. Emma Bilclough, who previously worked at GoAhead North East, has been appointed to the role of payroll services manager. She qualified in payroll management through the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals. A new payroll management team has also been appointed with Mick Cribben as assistant payroll services manager, John Petts as payroll supervisor and, when she can be released from her current role, Karen Shirley will also join the head office

payroll management team. John and Karen will be on hand to provide holiday cover for the garage based payroll administrators. The company has also decided to revamp garage pay administration and appointed six garage based payroll administrators. They are: Tina Wright, covering New Cross and Bexleyheath, Terry Golding, covering Docklands and Blue Triangle, Brian Weal, covering Stockwell and Mandela Way, and Gulab Shah, covering Putney and Waterside Way. Two external applicants have also been appointed, Helen Pritty, covering Merton and Sutton, and Sarah Giles, covering Camberwell and Peckham.

Helen and Sarah will take up their roles on completion of their training. “When you consider that nearly £2M passes through the banking system every week to pay over 4,000 employees, and that it represents an important and individual transaction for each and every person, it is absolutely vital that we get it right,” said Emma. “The desire to achieve greater accuracy and consistency in payroll input led us back to garage based, dedicated payroll administrators. “I consider it a privilege to head up a highly professional payroll team and I’m looking forward to delivering a service that we can be proud of.”

COMMENDATIONS BEXLEYHEATH n MRS CALLANAN has commended Alex Burrows for his “brilliant manners over the tannoy” which “brightened” her daughter’s day. BLUE TRIANGLE n COMING to the aid of a passenger has earned John Green a commendation for his “helpful and respectful manner” when the passenger had a seizure on his bus. CAMBERWELL n FORWARD THINKING Neil Palmer has been described by a customer as “how all bus drivers should be” for his improvisation when his bus was due to terminate early. n AN IMPRESSED Ms Manley has written to thank Bridget Belazereg for her “smooth and steady driving” describing her as “a real credit to the company”. n MR GARBRAH has written to thank Angela Langley for an enjoyable journey. He described Angela as “polite, friendly and cheerful with all the customers” and said she was “very efficient and professional”. n THE PLEASANT and helpful attitude of driver Peter Amoako has been described by a customer as “very kind and courteous”. n MR GARDEN has described Anil Minocha as “helpful and considerate” and says he should be commended for his “excellent customer service”. DOCKLANDS n A RELIEVED customer has thanked Amer Ali for returning her bus pass and debit card, which she had left on the bus. MERTON n DAVID GARNER has been praised by a customer who was late for a hospital appointment. David waited for her for three minutes and was also seen performing other “acts of kindness” to customers. NEW CROSS n MR MOUHTISEB has expressed his gratitude to Dawn Jenkins who was on the receiving end of racial abuse from a customer. Dawn “handled the situation fantastically” and “remained professional”. PECKHAM n THE “polite and helpful manner” of Marta Haraburda was noticed by Mrs Fowler who says Marta was “cheerful despite the delays at the time”. n ENIS NAMLI has been described by Miss Robinson as “really amazing” and “very kind and courteous” during her journey. PUTNEY n A DELIGHTED customer has commended Victor Chikurnikov for his “courteous and pleasant manner with passengers”. STOCKWELL n JOEL DESIR has been praised by a customer for his strong customer service skills when dealing with three separate occasions when passengers had problems. n MISS ELLIS has complimented Stewart Robertson for the courtesy and understanding he showed when dealing with her disabled daughter. SUTTON n IBRAHIM MULLALI has been described as “an excellent driver” with “good anticipation” providing a smooth journey for customers. WATERLOO n AN IMPRESSED Mr Eastmen has described Steven Dredge as “efficient, kind, helpful and positive” during his recent journey. n AN EXTREMELY relieved Ms Freeman has praised Caudwell Stephen for helping to return her laptop after she left it on the bus. Caudwell was “very helpful” in showing her how to get to the garage and confirming the identity of the laptop.

Emma Bilclough, centre, with John Petts and Mick Cribben. BusTalk l August 2011



! T L U Accident-free for 23 days S E R D R CO

Something to celebrate: Employees enjoy a buffet to mark their new record.

Teaching the children well LEARNING about bus travel proved a lesson to remember for young children at Abbey Primary School in Sutton. Thanks to Merton driver Joao Montero Gomez (he’s known as Joe by his friends) and operating manager Hannah Self the experience was brought to life. Joe’s daughters Jaylah and Jazmin both attend the school and when he heard that Jaylah’s nursery class was planning a project on transport he offered to lend a hand. Thanks to the support of Go-Ahead London he was able to take a bus to the school and explain to the children exactly how to behave on board a vehicle. “I was amazed that of the 30 children in the class only four had ever been on a bus before,” said Joe, who has been a driver for six years. The children had made their own individual bus passes, which they presented to Joe on boarding the vehicle. They then ventured to the top deck to hear from Joe what it’s like to be a bus driver. “I enjoyed answering their questions and then drove the bus up and down before explaining the importance of the ramp. “I think the children thoroughly enjoyed their experience and many are still talking about it now. It was nice to be able to do something for the school and help with the children’s education,” added Joe. 8

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COLLEAGUES at Docklands were celebrating after setting a new garage record of 23 days without an accident. Between 25 May and 16 June not a single accident where a driver was at fault was recorded at the garage. “Once our previous target was met we just decided to add another week,” said general manager Nigel Wood. “We started talking to drivers and putting up notices letting our colleagues know there had been no accidents.” Since breaking the record, accident prevention assistant Ian McNally hopes the run of good fortune will continue at Docklands. He said: “What we have done is made accident prevention a topic of conversation around the garage. “We are going to try and keep breaking the record. If there is an accident we also discuss, educate, and communicate the causes of what happened and how they could have prevented it, so that we can hopefully go for longer than 23 days in the future.” Colleagues celebrated their success by sharing a buffet together, for which they had brought in delicious home-made dishes for all to enjoy.

All aboard: A lesson in bus use for youngsters in Sutton.

Double delight

THE STORK has been kept busy over at Docklands with a mini baby boom occurring! In the space of just one month there have been two new arrivals. Drivers Daniel Butterfield and Laura Newton have become proud parents to Leila Maria Butterfield on June 6 at Basildon Hospital. Leila weighed 7lbs 4oz.        Driver Emma Smith and her partner Michael Davies have welcomed Tierney-Rose Davies into the world. Tierney-Rose was born on July 8 at Bundles of joy for Emma Smith and Michael Newham General Hospital. She weighed 7Ibs Davies (left), and Laura Newton and Daniel 8oz. Butterfield.

Published by Go-Ahead London. Produced by Ruxley Communications, Walton-on-Thames. Printed by Evolve Print Solutions, Rickmansworth.

BUS TALK 11 August 2011  


BUS TALK 11 August 2011