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No.17 • August 2012


All-round effort secures nine routes and wins two extra...




Putney garage T WAS a successful has retained the round of tender 424, from Putney results for Go-Ahead Heath to Craven London this July. Cottage (5 PVR) Go-Ahead London with Waterside retained nine of the routes Way retaining recently tendered and the 485, from won an additional two. Wandsworth to Merton garage Hammersmith (3 successfully retained PVR). Routes 44, from Tooting These contracts to Victoria (17 PVR); 77, will begin in April, from Tooting to Waterloo May and June of (17 PVR); 219, from Success: Route 219, one of nine that have been retained. next year. Wimbledon to Clapham Northumberland Junction (11 PVR) and the Park garage has not only retained Route 231 from 270, from Mitcham to Putney (13 PVR). Enfield Chase Station to Turnpike Lane Station (7 PVR) “It is a reflection of the hard work by both head office but has also been awarded two new contracts. and all of the staff who work at Merton and recognition The Waltham Cross circular service, Route 327, and of the efforts on the overall performance on the routes the 491, from Waltham Cross to North Middlesex concerned,” said Merton general manager Trevor Hospital will start operating with Go-Ahead London in Johnson. June 2013. “The routes represent a significant amount of work for Unfortunately, one route, the 67 (Wood Green to the garage so we were very keen to retain them. It was Aldgate) was lost to Arriva London. a very uncertain time for us so we are all very pleased “Overall, this is an excellent result, particularly the with the result. We are looking forward to starting the Wandsworth tranche, which was under intense new contracts in the summer of next year.” pressure from the competition,” said managing director Route 37, from Putney Heath to Peckham (19 John Trayner. “I would like to thank all staff involved in PVR), was retained to the delight of colleagues from helping us deliver our route contracts that ensured us Peckham. Stockwell also successfully retained the 87, retaining and winning this work.” from Aldwych to Wandsworth (21 PVR).


Drivers flock to see new route DVD DEMAND was high when a ground-breaking driver information DVD – the first of its kind – was launched this June. The DVD, ‘A Driver’s Guide to the Routes 36 and 436’

was launched at New Cross and helpfully illustrates everything a driver might like to know about working on the routes. So far, it is estimated that the garage has circulated more than 400 copies of the DVD, with

the majority of New Cross drivers picking one up. “This is our first attempt to produce a DVD to help drivers by showing them all the potential hazards for n continued on page 3



Talkin’ about a new generation... of trainees

AFTER three years of hard work, a new generation of GoAhead London apprentices graduated in July. The apprentices trained at the Stockwell engineering training centre, where they learned their trade and earned a number of qualifications in the process. Students achieved a level one, two and three NVQ in transport engineering and maintenance as well as a level two and three Technical Certificate. The combined

package meets the criteria for the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship. They also trained with mentors in different garages and spent time with vehicle manufacturers, such as Volvo. The graduates took up new roles in their garages on July 16 with a special passing out ceremony taking place on August 3. “It’s really great to see all of the guys trained up and taking on their new roles in different garages,” said engineering

training manager Gerry Fleming. “Not only does training the apprentices in-house mean they are well versed in what we do, but it also means we can find the appropriate role for them when they finish.” The full list of apprentices and where they are now based is as follows: Harry Blaney, Ben Martin and Steve Saxby to Camberwell; Oliver Tomkins to Peckham; and James Currell and Martin Sheridan to Stockwell.

Battle of the best in regional Bus Driver of the Year...

Tight finish for driver contest H

James wins top prize at the first attempt! BLUE TRIANGLE driver James Staggs was pleased and proud to be named Go-Ahead London’s bus driver of the year for 2012. In a very close run competition, James came out on top thanks to his great exam scores and impeccable driving skills despite the inclement weather. “I was very surprised to win as this was the first time I had entered the competition,” said James, who has worked at Blue Triangle for more than four years. “I really didn’t know what to expect but at the end of the day I drove the bus the best way I could and I was lucky enough to come first.” James is now working towards the national competition in Blackpool where he will represent Go-Ahead London alongside Merton driver Stephen Appiah and Stockwell driver Nick Cummins. He is planning to put in some extra work on revising for the theory side of the competition. James said: “I will be reading up on the CPC information in particular, as it is a whole new section. Other than that, I am really looking forward to going to Blackpool. It should be a great weekend!” 2

BusTalk l August 2012

EAVY rain did nothing to dampen the excitement of this year’s regional Bus Driver of the Year competition. Nine Go-Ahead London drivers and eight drivers from sister company Metrobus went head-to-head on 14 July at Crawley to take the top spot. In a very close competition, Blue Triangle driver James Staggs was crowned London Bus Driver of the Year and received £200 as well as a trophy. Last year’s winner, Stephen Appiah from Merton garage, took second place with Stockwell’s Nick Cummins in third position. They both took home with them £100 and £50 respectively. All three will go on to represent Go-Ahead London in the national Bus Driver of the Year competition held in Blackpool on September 9. Training and development manager Eric Dale said: “This year’s competition was the closest one I have ever seen with the top four Go-Ahead London drivers all receiving the same amount of penalty points and the Highway Code results had to be used to decipher the places.” Drivers were initially shortlisted to take part in

the competition by their garage management based on attendance, performance, conduct, Telematics scores and accident records among other things. They then had to sit an exam based on the Highway Code, PCV regulations and CPC knowledge that is similar to the one they will face in Blackpool.

Reversing The nine top scorers then went on to complete a number of driving challenges which included passing through a narrow area while stopping on the appropriate coloured marker and reversing a bus as close as they could to cones at the back of a bay. “Unfortunately it was quite a wet day, but it all went very smoothly,” said Eric. “The competition is very important as it gives the drivers a chance to show their skills and they all certainly did that. “All top three drivers got the same points which indicates that they are all of a similar standard and we are hoping that they all do well in Blackpool.”

To cup it all: Pictured, from left, are James Stagg, Eric Dale, Stephen Appiah, Mario Germani and Nick Cummins.

CCTV teams scoop three awards in capital competition


Donald Ditch proudly displays his certificate.


O-AHEAD London received not one, not two, but three awards at the first ever London On-Bus CCTV Commendation Ceremony, which took place on June 8. Organised by the Metropolitan Police, the awards honour all the hard work put in by bus operators and their CCTV teams. Merton operating manager Hannah Self collected the ‘contribution to operating and CCTV departments’ on behalf of the entire company for its hard work during the London disturbances last August. “It’s brilliant for the company to receive this award as there were a lot of people working really hard during the civil disturbances,” said Hannah. “The event itself was great too. CCTV teams don’t often get the recognition they deserve, so to have an awards ceremony for them is brilliant.” And to top things off, CCTV analyst for Bexleyheath and Belvedere Don Ditch and Belvedere operating manager Paul Cumbers also received awards ‘for outstanding contribution for the use of on-bus CCTV in police investigations’. “I received the award for the CCTV work I did for the police,” said Don. “In a two or three month period I had 87 downloads of footage, which is then used to help the police during their investigations. “Normally the CCTV gets taken away and you don’t hear too much else about it, so to receive an award acknowledging my work was a really nice surprise.”

Route DVD puts drivers in the picture n from front page “We are going to be therfull length of a route,” building on what has already said accident prevention been done and incorporate manager Graham Oliver. as much of the feedback as “The idea was to obtain possible.” as much information about Graham and the production as much of the route as team are welcoming support possible so that drivers can from drivers at New Cross benefit from the experience and are inviting drivers to of their colleagues – after take part in the production all the drivers know the of the upcoming DVD by route down to the last pot providing voiceovers for hole!” sections of the route. The DVD is also “So much work has gone approved by the Institute of into the creation of the DVD Advanced Motorists. and it has only been made The DVD included all the possible because of the information you would get co-operation of our staff, on a route record including their feedback has been It’s a sellout! Staff with their copies of the new DVD. information on light runs absolutely invaluable,” said and curtailments. Graham. “We want it to The production team are starting point.” filmed and edited the DVD and is become a garage production looking to get as much feedback Drivers can discuss their feedback now working on the next project. made by the garage for the from drivers as possible so they can via a special forum on Go-Ahead Joseph is putting together a DVD garage and to be of benefit for make further improvements and to London’s website called ‘Direction of the same calibre for route 108 everyone.” ensure their next DVD project will be of Driver Support’ and a feedback and is looking to of even further benefit to drivers. form was attached to pay slips. improve on the work Graham said: “We have had some The DVD holds a real advantage he has already done. excellent feedback and really want for brand new drivers to learn from “I have found it to hear further things from our the experience of their colleagues really rewarding colleagues so we can get better at who have been driving the route for working on this what we are doing. We are hoping years. It is also of additional benefit particular project by that each DVD we produce will be to Go-Ahead London’s insurers as providing support better than the last. they can study the route in real time for drivers in their “We recognise that the DVD isn’t to help with any potential cases role and making it perfect and there are improvements against other motorists. accessible to them,” to be made but it is a pretty good New Cross driver Joseph Reed DVD cameraman Joseph Reed. said Joseph. BusTalk l August 2012


Staff take pride in having pl

OLYMPIC SPIRIT IN OUR Face 2 Face column we chat to Karen Shirley, who is a payroll supervisor. We asked Karen a series of light-hearted questions. Q: If you were in the Olympic Games, which event would you compete in? A: Swimming – probably in the Butterfly. Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? A: The variation every day brings. Q: If you were an actress, who would be your leading man? A: George Clooney or Matthew McConaughey. They are lovely! Q: Who or what makes you laugh? A: Life and my husband. He always makes me laugh. Q: What is your most treasured possession? A: My Nan’s engagement ring. Q: What was the first single you ever bought? A: Puppy Love by Donny Osmond – I am going to see him next year. Q: What character trait do you admire most in others? A: Honesty. Q: What do you like to do on your days off? A: Lots of things – but I do, in particular, like to chill out. 4

BusTalk l August 2012

Duo had experience of a lifetime at the Games

BUS TALK catches up with the Olympic drivers interviewed in our June edition to check on how they found their Olympic roles. Merton driver Finbarr McCarthy: “The first thing we did when we started on the Olympic project was to get used to our surroundings and start route learning,” said Finbarr. “After that I worked in West Ham transporting some of the athletes, specifically the water polo team. It was a very exciting thing to get to do and they were certainly different than my usual passengers. “During the two weeks, I even got to see a famous face or two, including heptathlon gold medallist Jessica Ennis. “It was also nice to meet a lot of new drivers, especially in such exciting circumstances as the Olympic games!” Belvedere driver Tim Gritton: “I worked at Beckton Park, which we all became familiar with very quickly as we did all our training and route learning there,” said Tim. “The temporary garage was also known as the BDM (bus depot media). A lot of my time towards the beginning of the games was spent doing work for the opening ceremony, such as going to schools to pick up children and taking them to the stadium. “I was a little bit nervous at first, but once things really got into full gear you didn’t have much time to think about it! “Everything ran really smoothly and to say it was a fantastic experience would probably be understating it.”

Kastriot Gash


OR co Ga Stockwell a Kastriot was to help overs drivers. “Each and e have taken p to see this ha Kastriot. “Thi in the world a have played Working alo manager Han for Go-Ahead that they wer in their jobs a The team w sure that thin and dealt wit “I enjoyed e only downsid but I think all end,” said Ka enjoyed them opportunity t For the dura divided his tim centre and th ensure that t “It was a bit having travel to play their p absolutely fa proud to hav

ayed their part


hi, left, with Antony Steward.

RKING on the Olympics ontracts was all that Kastriot ashi hoped for – and more! assistant operating manager seconded to the Olympic project see and manage the Go-Ahead

every one of us should be proud to part in this event. We are not going appen again in our lifetime,” said is was the biggest sporting event and it was absolutely amazing to a role in it.” ongside Olympics operating nnah Self, Kastriot was a contact d drivers, and worked to ensure re as competent and comfortable as possible. worked round the clock to make ngs ran as smoothly as possible th any problems that arose. every minute of my time there. The de was there was a lot of pressure l the hard work paid off in the astriot. “All the drivers have really mselves and some of them had the to see some famous faces.” ation of the Games, Kastriot me between the Olympics’ media he athletes’ centre in West Ham to the transport ran without a hitch. t like a military base, with people lled from all corners of the country part,” said Kastriot. “It was an ascinating experience and I am very ve played a part in it!”

Tender news from across London IN our regular column for Bus Talk, we highlight recent announcements made by Transport for London. Metrobus • Route 126 (Eltham to Bromley South). New single deck vehicles (11 PVR). Contract begins 23 March, 2013. • Retention of Route 138 (Bromley North to Coney Hall). New single deck vehicles (3 PVR). Contract begins 2 February, 2013. • Retention of Route 161 (North Greenwich to Chislehurst) using existing double deck vehicles (14 PVR). Contract begins 16 March, 2013. • Route 233 (Eltham to Swanley). New single deck vehicles (6 PVR). Contract begins 23 February, 2013. • Retention of Route 284 (Lewisham to Grove Park Cemetery). New single deck vehicles (11 PVR). Contract begins 16 March, 2013. Stagecoach Selkent • Retention of Route N136 (Oxford Circus to Chislehurst) using double-deck buses from daytime routes. Contract begins 9 February, 2013.

Torchlight procession

Historic occasion: Staff gather outside Merton garage to watch the Olympic torch bearer go by.

See front page for story on tender news at Go-Ahead London.

COMMENDATIONS BLUE TRIANGLE n IAN STABLES has been praised for his “polite” manner while driving. Customer Miss Johnson says it makes a “great difference” to the quality of her journey. CAMBERWELL n DR BOULTON would like to thank Michael Marriott for the “excellent service” and “smooth driving” during his journey. He also praised Michael’s “calmness and patience” and said that overall he was extremely impressed. n A CUSTOMER has praised Kevin Salter for his “helpful” attitude. Miss Penfield wrote in to say she wishes more bus drivers were like Kevin who “shouldn’t be taken for granted”. NEW CROSS n MRS BARRETT has written in to thank Jonathan Johnson. She said that “as an old lady his patience was greatly appreciated” during her journey. n AN IMPRESSED customer has applauded Francis Jean-Pierre for remaining “good humoured” while the on bus announcements were having issues. Ms Phillips says that Francis’s driving was also “smooth and safe” and that “his positive attitude” led to her getting off the bus smiling. STOCKWELL n AIDING a couple in their search for a lost phone has earned controller Georges Aoun a commendation. Georges took the couple, who had left a phone on a bus, to the vehicle in question and helped them search for the missing mobile. BusTalk l August 2012


Join Group in supporting two worthy causes Robbie’s off to IF YOU are looking for a worthy cause for your livelihoods across Africa. fundraising event, you might consider the Railway Dubai to give In the past, Go-Ahead has contributed to a range Children or Transaid. of charities on a smaller scale, but it is hoped that these longer-term arrangements will allow the advice on buses Go-Ahead Group has entered into a three-year HE IS sad to leave the company, but Robbie Small is looking forward to starting a new job half way round the world! Camberwell engineering manager Robbie is leaving GoAhead London on August 17 to work in the Middle East as a consultant in a service company that advises the biggest bus company in Saudi Arabia. He will be based in Dubai but will travel all over the Middle East. “I am sad to leave Go-Ahead. I have made some great friends here, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss,” he said. With his long-term goal of retiring to Cyprus in mind, Robbie is renting a property there where his wife can stay. “Cyprus is roughly half way between the UK and the Middle East, so I can fly there to see my wife during my time off,” said Robbie. “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone I have worked with over the years.”

Polish fundraiser ON HEARING the news of the tragic death of Mandela Way driver Tomek Michalski, colleagues at the garage were inspired to do something in his memory. Organised by several of his close friends, colleagues dug deep in their pockets and donated money to be sent to Polish Children’s Day – a charity that celebrates children. Tomek left behind two young children on his death this February. The garage raised more than £200 for the charity in memory of their friend. 6

BusTalk l August 2012

partnership with both charities – the first partnerships of their kind for the Group. Railway Children helps provide support for vulnerable children who live on the streets, while Transaid aims to reduce poverty and improve

Group to provide both charities with a better level of support. So, if you want to help these partnerships get off to a flying start, consider raising money for either or both of these very worthy causes.

Staff triumph in skills contest GO-AHEAD London staff walked away triumphant in the presentation of the IRTE Skills challenge on July 25. Highly commended awards were won in three different categories in the face of stiff competition in the second annual skills competition. Go-Ahead London entered three teams into the IRTE Skills Challenge held in June in Bristol. Luke Wood, Andy Onslow and Dan Baker fom London Central were highly commended in the category of Electrical, Mechanical and Bodywork Combined award. Luke was also presented with a highly commended in the category of Top scoring Electrical Technician. Luke said: “Being able to do the skills challenge was excellent as my ability was tested and being able to work on vehicle types that I have never worked with before proved challenging.” Simon Mockford from the London General team was highly commended

Highly comended! From left: Andy Onslow, Daniel Baker and Luke Wood. in the category of Top Scoring manager Ian Saich. “All our staff Bodywork Technician. in the engineering department Go-Ahead London is already at Go-Ahead London are looking ahead to next year’s professionals and it was great competition to equal or even beat to see that the nine staff who this year’s result. “We are proud to represented us demonstrated have taken part in this competition this to the rest of the industry again,” said engineering training on the day.”

We are proud to have taken part in this competition Winning smiles: Simon Mockford, left, and Luke Wood with their certificates and trophies.

How you can help wheelchair users H

AVE you considered the difficulties wheelchair users have getting on and off buses? Can you empathise with them during such times? Do you allow enough time for wheelchair users to safely position themselves before pulling away? Would you consider yourself patient, helpful and accommodating towards wheelchair users? These are just some of many questions that wheelchair users have and would be happier travelling on our bus services if the answer Helping hand: A colleague assists wheelchair user Mr Horne as he was, ‘Yes’, to all of them. practises getting on and off the bus. So what initiatives are in place at your garage to ensure to practise getting on the bus, on to train the comrades in the drivers are accommodating position himself correctly, and then rehabilitation centre for fallen towards all wheelchair users? get off again. This two and a half soldiers where I live”, said Mr New Cross garage was hour session, which was arranged Horne. He is going to obtain the contacted by a regular bus user, by Guy and Lawrie who both dimensions from TfL so they can Mr Horne, who uses a wheelchair. work in the Accident Prevention practice in their back garden and He explained the difficulties he Department, took place at become as confident as he is has getting on and off buses Lewisham Bus Stand where there now. in general and the impatience was plenty of room and minimal Please continue to of some drivers, whilst he is distractions. accommodate wheelchair users getting in to a safe position in the Mr Horne found it very helpful and allow time for them to board wheelchair area. as he now feels more competent and position themselves safely in Based on the information he in getting on and off the bus and the wheelchair area before pulling provided, the decision was made manoeuvring himself in to position away. Your patience and helpful to arrange time for Mr Horne once on board. “I will now go nature really makes a difference.

Wedding belle... FOR commercial assistant Carly Hawkins, her wedding truly was a day to remember. Carly married Nick Moram on July 14 in the beautiful Grade I listed building Chandos House in Westminster in the heart of London. “It was the best day of our lives,” said Carly. “It was everything I thought it would be and more.” The wedding also featured a Go-Ahead London Routemaster, which transported many of the guests to and from Carly’s home in Sutton to the venue. The couple honeymooned in New York. Carly said: “We went to New York for a whole week. It was lovely but it was really hot.”

Have your


Speak out on online forum

Have you had your say yet? The online forum is now in its third month and is proving very popular indeed with many regular users. Since its introduction on 24 April, there have been over 50 topics started and more than 430 posts! Topics have ranged from ‘Back Pay’ and ‘Pay Talks’ to ‘Hobbies outside Work’ and ‘Funny things passengers have said or asked’! It is also a place where you will also find up to the minute notices to staff and breaking news such as the recent strike and tender results. “I saw the publicity for the ‘Have Your Say’ forum in the garage and thought I’d give it a go”, said regular user Tom Martin from New Cross. “It’s a good way to talk to colleagues from other garages. I tend to visit the site around three times a week and find it interesting to read new posts and then have my own say!” Recent changes to the forum include individual garage folders for each depot in the company. If you work at a specific location and wish to raise a point relating solely to your garage, you now have the opportunity to do so. If you are one of the few drivers yet to visit the forum, make sure you do it soon. Go ahead, have your say!

Time to gear up for chance to win a car Millbrook is fast approaching! It only felt like a few weeks ago that we began this year’s 500 Challenge but don’t be fooled! The 500 Challenge 2012 has been running for months and we already have plenty of names of green drivers who are in the running to be one of the lucky 25 to take part

in the ultimate challenge in Millbrook, Bedford – one of Europe’s leading vehicle test facilities. The winner of the day drives away with a 1.2 Fiat 500 twin air – the

lowest CO2 emission petrol engine in the world. This car also entitles you to travel in the Congestion Charge zone free of charge! So, how are you doing? Will YOU be the one driving away with a brand new car in September? Don’t be the one that’s ‘too cool for school’. Be seen to be in the green! BusTalk l August 2012


Praise for Rudy’s wallet rescue A

WATERSIDE Way driver has received a sterling commendation thanks to a good deed he performed for a member of the public. Rudy Silva was driving on Route G1 when he stopped at a set of traffic lights. He noticed a cyclist in front of him and saw that the man’s wallet had fallen onto the road. Rudy stopped his vehicle and picked up the wallet for him, but the cyclist had already ridden off so he made a note of the man’s address from information found in the wallet. On his way home from work, Rudy stopped off at the man’s house and posted the wallet through the letter box with a note explaining what had happened. The gentleman, Mr ClarenceSmith, contacted TfL to thank Rudy for his efforts and expressed his gratitude for the good turn that

The wallet rescuer from Waterside Way, driver Rudy Silva.

Rudy had performed. “It is nice to hear because customers are often quick to complain about late service or a driver’s attitude but not so fast

Classic car fan rides into retirement

GO-AHEAD London bid a fond farewell to Ian Saich on his retirement this August. Engineering training manager Ian retired on 10 August after being with the company for just shy of 30 years. He joined the company as an engineer in 1983 before moving to the training department as an instructor in 1998. He was appointed engineering training manager in 2007. “I have taken early retirement as I have been working since I was 13 and I really want to take some time out. I plan to spend a lot more time with my family,” said Ian. “I have a few different holidays booked and I have a classic car so I definitely plan to get out and use that a bit more.” The company held a joint leaving party for Ian and Robbie Small (see story on page six) at a local pub on 17 August.

to offer praise when drivers have done well,” said Waterside Way base manager Keith Faulkner. “It really does go a long way. “Rudy is a long-serving and dedicated member of staff who is very popular around the garage.” Mr Clarence-Smith described it as “an extraordinary act of kindess” which saved him considerable inconvenience.

Rudy is a long-serving and dedicated member of staff...

Top prizes in our e-mail competition THERE is still time to enter Go-Ahead London’s fantastic competition, in which you could win a brand new iPad, an iPhone 4S or £250 cash! With just a few weeks left until the competition closes, all you have to do is answer the question below to be in with a chance of winning one of these great prizes. What was Paddington Bear’s favourite sandwich filling?

A. Peanut Butter

B. Marmalade

C. Cheese.

To enter, email: with your name, employee number, email address and, of course, your answer. The three winners will be chosen at random from all the correct entries. 8

BusTalk l August 2012

Football tournament is all about the First Touch IF YOU are a football fan looking for a fun day out, then look no further than the Go-Ahead London 6-aside Football Tournament taking place on August 26 at Colliers Wood United’s ground on the A3 at Robin Hood Way. There will be many teams in attendance on the day hoping to raise money for First Touch, a charity that supports sick and premature babies at St George’s Hospital. The first match of the day kicks off at 11.00am, with other attractions including a barbeque, bouncy castles and a raffle. •••••••••••••••• If you wish to get involved or want any more information, contact Scott Horney on 07989 109169.

Camberwell stunned by sudden loss COLLEAGUES at Camberwell were shocked and saddened to hear about the death of driver Ronald Eley on June 20. Ronald reported in sick while on duty and unfortunately later passed away at St Thomas’s Hospital. Ronald’s funeral was held on July 11 at Camberwell New Cemetery and was attended by operations manager Derek Barker as well as many drivers. Despite having only one year and six months service, Ronald was extremely popular with everyone he worked with and will be missed. He is survived by his partner and children.

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

Bus Talk Issue 17  

Bus Talk Issue 17

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