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No.20 • February 2013

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

ROUTE SUCCESS!

But several routes in TfL Primary Assessment Period

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AMBERWELL garage received some fantastic news when it found out that it had recently passed its primary assessment period (PAP) for route 345. The service, which runs between Peckham and South Kensington, has been with the garage since April 2012, when it was transferred over from Stockwell. Performance not only met TfL’s expectations but often exceeded them when it came to targets for excess waiting times. Because of these consistently high standards, the garage will now continue to operate the route for a further two years before it is re-tendered. TfL assesses performance and service reliability of a route in the fourth year out of the five years of the contract. If it achieves the required Excess Waiting Time or On Time standards (for low

frequency), an operator will be offered an extension to the contract for two years. If it fails to achieve its target, the contract is re-tendered. If the contract is not extended following the primary assessment period, and the route is retendered, there is a risk of it being given to another operator. This creates various problems, including uncertainty and cost implications. If the contract is extended for a further two years, then colleagues’ jobs remain more secure without that risk element. Routes currently in PAP include the 14 and 430 (AF), 259 (NP) and 42 (MW). Assistant performance manager Debbie Tyson says the secret to their success was the excellent teamwork between everyone who works on the service. “We have got a set of three controllers, Michael Lapido, Barry Douglas and Latif Serroukh, who

work on the route every day, which I think is a huge help,” said Debbie. “Not only have they been very dedicated, they also spend a lot of time speaking to drivers to discover any issues they may have. The drivers on the route do a great job too – it’s just a huge team effort really!” Hopefully, this will not be the last piece of good news when it comes to PAPs, either. There are 25 more routes going through the process, with the majority of GoAhead London garages having at least one route currently in PAP. Garage notices should highlight what routes are affected in your location or ask your general manager. Keep an eye out for more news in the future. Picture above: Michael Ladipo, Latif Serroukh, Barry Douglas and Debbie Tyson enjoy PAP success for route 345.

HOW WE COPE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY: p2

ALL ABOARD FOR STOCKWELL: p7

IAN TREADS THE BOARDS: p7

INSIDE: COMPLETE YOUR CPC TRAINING WITH PADDLE p4-5


Coping with the capital’s road closures

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ORK is continually taking place behind the scenes at Go-Ahead London to ensure that buses keep running during the frequent lane and road closures throughout the capital. There are always road works in the planning and they often have the potential to cause huge disruptions to Go-Ahead London’s services, even if they do not take place directly on one of the company’s bus routes. Go-Ahead London works closely with London Buses in advance of road closures where possible, to determine the best course of action. “London Buses sends us notices of events that might affect our services, which we look through and decide what we need to do, depending on the seriousness of the possible disruption,” said South East area manager Sandra McKinley. “Of course, we often get notices of emergency gas or water works that have to be carried out. In these types of situations we have to work quickly and efficiently to notify our staff and control our bus routes.” When notices are sent through, staff at Go-Ahead London often discuss various measures with the area manager of London Buses as well as with local councils. Suggestions are put forward by Go-Ahead London to make sure the road closures are handled as effectively as possible. “We look at the extent of the delay and disruption and work out with London Buses what is the best way forward, which can include changes to schedules and diversions,” said Sandra. “We make suggestions on how to make the problem easier to handle. For example, instead of closing both sides of the road, as might be suggested in the notice, one side can be closed and then the other to ease the flow of traffic.” For long-term road closures such as during the

New laws mean all change for pensions

regeneration programme of Bexleyheath town centre, where a special schedule has been put in place for the five affected routes, measures can be implemented and drivers given prior warning of the potential disruption. The same cannot be said for when emergency road closures arise. “Emergency road works are the most difficult as there is no planning time and no extra resources in place if something has occurred that day. Having said that, our drivers are used to things happening out on the road and although it is frustrating, they are constantly being informed of what is going on by our controllers,” said Sandra. “With all our routes at GoAhead London we are in a constant battle with road works – both emergency and planned, long and short-term. It is something that we face regularly but something, I think, that we cope with very well.” Two routes at Go-Ahead London have recently been affected for extended periods of times due to road and lane closures. Route 63, from Honor Oak and King’s Cross, was diverted from November 12 to February 1 due to underground piping work at Farringdon Road. An extra bus was provided in order to accommodate the extra time the bus route took. Route 42, from Denmark Hill to Liverpool Street, has been extended slightly due to utility works. An extra bus was also put in for the duration of the work, which was due to start on February 18. “Our schedules team came up with new timings for both routes and presented it to London Buses, who agreed to fund it. Thanks to this, our passengers are not disrupted and continue to receive the same level of service,” said performance manager Alan Austen. “If funding cannot be sourced, then customers do notice a deterioration in service. We do this all for the benefit of our passengers.”

With all our routes at Go-Ahead London we are in a constant battle with road works – both emergency and planned...

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BusTalk l February 2013

FROM THE END of March, everyone at Go-Ahead London will see a change in the way they are entered into the company’s pension scheme. Recent legislation changes will mean that all employees who are currently not part of the existing company pension plan will be automatically enrolled into a new money purchase pension scheme. The new law, in place since before Christmas, means that Go-Ahead London is obliged to enter employees into a compliant pension scheme that is being phased in from 31 March. “It is a fairly simple process in theory. We are taking stock by looking at our HR system and assessing who is or isn’t currently on a pension scheme,” said personnel manager Des Farthing. “The new scheme is known as the ‘Workplace Savings Section.’ It is similar to our old money purchase plan but with different contributions rates.” Each enrolled member of staff will be written to individually and anyone who does not wish to be part of the savings system can opt out online, by telephone or by returning the necessary forms. All those who are already on an existing money purchase or final salary pension scheme will be unaffected. Staff who are under the age of 22, over state pension age or earn less than £8,105 in the 2012/2013 tax year will not be automatically enrolled onto the plan. Contribution rates will be phased in up to October 2018 and will be based on individual earnings. “The Government recognises that this is a major expense for employers and employees. The scheme is being phased in and it will take up to 2018 before you need to pay the full contribution,” said Des. “If you make the decision to opt out of the scheme, we are obliged to write to you every three years re-enrolling you into the plan in accordance with the law.”


Learning from staff feedback in student survey A

STAFF survey that is being undertaken by a PhD student could provide some interesting insight in employee engagement at GoAhead London. Rashpal Dhensa-Kahlon, a final year PhD student from the London School of Economics, is distributing a written survey to all colleagues throughout the company.

Go-Ahead London will receive some very useful and valuable data The three-page survey looks at employee engagement levels by posing a series of statements about different facets of engagement, including job satisfaction, communication, trust, commitment to the company and wellbeing. Colleagues are required to state how much they agree or disagree with each statement. There are also some open-ended questions at the end of the survey for colleagues to discuss any other issues. The survey is anonymous and confidential to give staff the freedom to voice their opinions. “I would say that I have covered around half of the locations

throughout the company and I hope to have all the data collected by early March at the very latest,” said Rashpal, who is studying organisational psychology. “I will then present all of my findings to John Trayner around April time.” Rashpal acts as a part-time freelance consultant for Konexa, an organisation that Go-Ahead London works with, and met with managing director John Trayner after talking with employees on the importance of employee engagement. “I spoke with John Trayner and it all went from there really,” said Rashpal. “I think it was a case of right people, right time and right place.” Although Rashpal is open minded as to what the data will show, she has some general hypotheses. One example is that if people are fairly treated by their employer then they are more likely to have higher levels of satisfaction. “This survey will be mutually beneficial as I am gaining some experience of running a large scale survey in a major organisation, which I need to do in order to graduate, and Go-Ahead London will receive some very useful and valuable data from a high standard university which it can use,” said Rashpal. “I cannot wait to see the data and the results of the survey – it is all very exciting!”

Meet the directors – forums GO-AHEAD London is introducing a new series of ‘Meet the Directors’ forums due to start in the coming weeks at Go-Ahead London. Each forum will be attended by either managing director John Trayner or operations director David Cutts. The director will be available in the canteen for questions or comments on company-related issues, and all staff are more than welcome to attend. If you are not available to attend the forum at your home garage then simply choose a forum at another garage that is convenient for you. Since the directors’ forums started in 2011, they have been very successful and popular with colleagues. All depots will have a forum this year – look out for posters around your garage for times. Here are the dates for the first three forums this year: Waterside Way – February 25 Merton – March 6 Bexleyheath – March 12 Look out in the next issue of Bus Talk for dates for the remaining garages.

Merton operating manager Hannah Self with Sutton and Merton Responsibility Deal Project Coordinator, Jenny Shaw.

Lifestyle clinic ensures a healthy start to 2013 MERTON played host to a Lifestyle Clinic, organised in conjunction with the Merton and Sutton Responsibility Deal, on January 10 to help employees get off to a healthy start in 2013. Attendees had the opportunity to get information on how to quit smoking, safe and sensible drinking, physical activity, dietary advice as well as general health and wellbeing guidance. A follow up Livewell Clinic was also available on January 25 giving garage colleagues the chance to attend a booked appointment with a consultant to discuss any issues. Merton has also pledged to continue the good work by holding a number of sessions in

the future, including a day where each individual’s health goals will be assessed. “Our employees’ health is of the utmost importance and clinics like this really help people keep on top of any health issues they may have,” said operating manager Hannah Self. “The carbon monoxide test went down especially well with everyone as it allowed ex-smokers to really see how much their health has improved. “Hopefully, it’s not just those who work at the garage who will benefit. I know a lot of my colleagues were planning to take home information to help family members too.”

Garage joins in festival fun SUPPORTING a festival in the area is helping New Cross to build stronger links in the community. The garage is providing a Routemaster for the event, called the Telegraph Hill Festival, on March 9 and 10. A senior driver will be on board talking about the historic Routemaster and local residents will have a chance to look around the bus. The bus will also be used to display local artwork and the opportunity will be taken to hand out application forms to the residents of Telegraph Hill. “So much goes on around the area … the Telegraph Hill Association, which is organising the festival, takes part in lots of

events,” said garage administrator Jeanette Morton, who is helping to arrange the appearance of the Routemaster. “We have had issues in the past with local residents and we are hoping that our support will help to build a better relationship with the community and our customers.” Go-Ahead London will also be making a donation to the Telegraph Hill Association of £500, which will help advertise the event. In return, the company will receive an advert in a leaflet that will be distributed throughout the area promoting the festival. Look out in the next edition of Bus Talk for an update on this exciting event. BusTalk l February 2013

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PADDLE to com CPC training IN OUR Face 2 Face column, we chat to Jerome Barnes, a driver at Waterside Way. We ask Jerome eight light-hearted questions.

, left, Course instructor Eddie Bogalho . sim with Matt White and Sammy Jas

Q: What job did you want to have while you were growing up? A: I wanted to be an architect. Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? A: The environment – I like being out on the road every day. Q: What is your greatest achievement? A: I have passed all my qualifications to work in the fitness industry – I think that is my greatest achievement. Q: Do you have any hidden talents? A: I can break dance! Q: What was the first single or album you ever bought? A: I think it was one of the Now Hit albums back when I was in primary school. Q: Did you have any New Year’s resolutions this year? A: Yes – I want to make sure I keep in contact with all my family. Q: Who would you like to meet, living or dead? A: Halle Berry! Q: What word would friends use to describe you? A: A kid! 4

BusTalk l February 2013

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N EXTRA CPC course, nicknamed PADDLE, began on January 7 for those drivers who need to complete their 35 required hours of training this year. PADDLE, which stands for ‘Professional & Advanced Drivers Delivering Local Excellence’, will run alongside the existing SQUID course to give any employees who need more than seven hours of CPC training the chance to finish on time. If a driver needs to do both courses they can be taken over a period of two days. “We have a number of people with two courses outstanding, so setting up a second option seemed like the best way of solving the problem,” said training and development manager Eric Dale. Driver Pat Mitchell, left, with instructor Cliff Darby.

“Usually the courses have a specific theme, but t actually be amalgamated from a number of previou with a particular focus on disability awareness and behaviour.” Despite being set up at relatively short notice, Eric says the course has already been a big hit with drivers. “It has been going really well so far and I’ve had some good feedback from those who have already done the course. “I even had one person say that it was their favourite so far, which was a nice compliment to receive! ”Acquired rights drivers don’t have a lot o they need to have completed their training encourage them to keep an eye on things

We ha number of p with two co outstanding setting up a option seem like the bes of solving th problem.


mplete

this one will us courses d driver

ave a people ourses g, so a second med st way he

of time before g, so I would s.

COMMENDATIONS BELVEDERE n MISS ALLINGTON has written in to thank Colin Grant for “being polite and friendly” as well as “a particularly warm chap.” BEXLEYHEATH n DEREK COOPER has been thanked by a customer who described him as “a credit to the company.” BLUE TRIANGLE n A DELIGHTED customer has praised Kalliopi Georgiou for “her performance and exceptional customer service.”

Course instructor Cliff Darby gets his point across.

“We will be sending out reminders through their garages as well, to make sure these drivers get the necessary number of hours completed.” The training school has also had something of a makeover in the last few months to make way for additional classes. Extra chairs and tables have been added to the downstairs classroom, while the wall between the two upstairs classrooms has also been removed to make one larger room. This means that at any one time there can now be two classes taking place, with both rooms having the capacity for 20 people at any one time. “We are only allowed to train 20 people simultaneously, so having the two rooms set up in this way means we can train two different classes with the maximum number of attendees.” If you are worried about whether you have done the 35 hours required, or are unsure how many you have left, you can even check online to find out if you need to take any more courses. You can log on through the DVLA website or Go-Ahead London’s employee site (goaheadlondon.net) to check how many required hours you have left. The SQUID course currently taking place also has a section that covers this area if anyone is unsure of how to log on.

Drivers who were fully-qualified before September 10, 2008 need to complete their full 35 hours by September 10, 2013.

NEW CROSS n A THANKFUL Miss Pattison commended Jason Appiyah for “how good he was at informing everyone what was happening regarding diversions.” n DENISE GORDON has been described by Mr Greenridge as a “people person” who “always wears a smile.” NORTHUMBERLAND PARK n MS BASHALL has described Monika Jarmakani as “very polite and helpful to everybody” and also thanked her for helping with her wheelchair.

CAMBERWELL n MISS THOMPSON has written in to thank Shaheed Al-Shahadah for waiting for an elderly customer who was struggling to get to his bus. n AN IMPRESSED Mr Dillon has praised Jason Lawrence after he helped a man who was having mobility problems get onto his bus. n NATHAN MANNINGJOSEPH has been described as “very helpful” after he helped Mr Mo and friends find their way home after a party. n THE KIND and considerate manner of Damian Rampersad has been noted by Ms Byrd who said he “did his job excellently.”

PUTNEY n A DISABLED customer has written in to praise Alan Rayner for helping him board another bus as well as returning an item of lost property to him.

MANDELA WAY n A GRATEFUL Mrs Jerke has commended Julie Morgan-Wade for her “exceptional service” when dealing with a bus that had been terminated early. n MS CHRISTIAN has described Slawomir Madenski as “kind, understanding and intelligent” after he took the time to stop and help passengers during the cold weather.

WATERLOO n AN IMPRESSED Mr Newby has commended Mark Lodge for waiting for a customer who was late for his bus.

MERTON n THE PLEASANT and helpful manner of Robert Parbery has been praised by Mr Berthier who described him as “a real gent.”

STOCKWELL n ROY LAMBE has been commended for “giving lots of information about relevant stops and what was located nearby.” n COMING TO the aid of a passenger who had a bad leg has earned Gary Thompson a commendation from Zonya Christian. n AN IMPRESSED customer has written in to thank Garry Battman for helping with a disabled customer in a wheelchair and driving “very smoothly.”

WATERSIDE WAY n MARCIA WORRELL has been praised by Miss Denholme for helping a customer who had a fall when she lost her footing. VARIOUS n A CUSTOMER has praised drivers on routes 1, 12, 68, 171 and 453, describing them as “professionals who are courteous, helpful and who drive with passenger safety as their number one priority.” BusTalk l February 2013

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Should’ve gone to ...the opticians! M ERTON driver Spencer Suckling is encouraging all Go-Ahead London drivers to think about having an eye test, having recently discovered that he needs to wear glasses while driving. Spencer didn’t think there was much wrong with his eyesight and in fact had always considered it to be quite good. However, after a couple of minor incidents last year and his wife catching him squinting at home, Spencer thought it might be time to have a check-up. “After the two incidents I finally decided it might be a good idea to go to the opticians and have an eye exam,” said Spencer. “I was quite surprised when the results came back as I’ve always considered my eyesight to be fine and I regularly referee UK softball and baseball matches without any issues.” Spencer was prescribed a pair of glasses to wear while driving and he

says even after a few months he still can’t get over how much they actually help. “The clarity of my vision simply isn’t as great when I’m not wearing my glasses,” said Spencer. “They are specifically designed to be worn while driving and they really do help when I’m out on the road. “It’s been a few months now since I first got them and I’m still amazed at the difference every time I put them on. “I would certainly recommend an eye test to anyone who has even the slightest inkling that their eyesight may not be all it used to be. “It may seem fine, even when you approach middle-age, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. “Getting a pair may benefit you much more than you think. It could help avoid an incident as well as stop your colleagues telling you that you should have gone to Specsavers!”

Karl calls time on a 40 year career CAMBERWELL and Peckham’s general manager Karl Blair will certainly be keeping himself busy following his retirement on February 20. Karl is going to travel to India and will spend a few weeks exploring the southern parts of the country when he closes the door on a 40year career in the bus industry. “I have been to India before, but only to the north, but this time I plan to see something of the south,” said Karl. “I’d also like to learn to sail when I get back. I used to own a boat and I would like to get a new one but I want to learn to sail first. 6

BusTalk l February 2013

Tender news from across London IN OUR regular column for Bus Talk, we highlight recent announcements made by Transport for London. Arriva the Shires The following routes have all been retained by Arriva the Shires, with new contracts commencing 31 August 2013. • Route 288 (Queensbury to Broadfields, Edgware), using existing single deck vehicles (6 PVR). • Route 303 (Edgware to Colindale), using existing single deck vehicles (6 PVR). • Route 305 (Edgware to Kingsbury), using existing single deck vehicles (4 PVR). • Route H18/H19 (Harrow to Harrow Weald circular), using existing single deck (7 PVR). London Sovereign • Retention of Route 13/N13 (Aldwych to Golders Green), using new double deck hybrid vehicles (21 PVR). New contract begins on 31 August, 2013. Sullivan Buses • Route 626 (Finchley Central to Dame Alice Owen’s School, Potters Bar) won from Metroline, using existing double deck buses (4 PVR). New contract begins 31 August, 2013.

It has been a real privilege to work with some truly wonderful people over the years...

“I am going Colleagues at Camberwell garage say farewell to general manager Karl Blair. to be keeping myself busy. I think you “It has been a real privilege to directors. have to keep both your mind and work with some truly wonderful “This is my 40th year here and your body active.” people over the years,” said Karl. the bus industry has put food on Karl joined Go-Ahead London’s “I have always felt supported my table and a roof over my head predecessor in 1973 as a driver by both my colleagues and the for all that time.” at New Cross and since then has worked in a variety of different roles, including road official, garage inspector and operating manager. He became a general manager If so, why not get in touch? in 1989 and has since worked at We’re always on the look-out for articles about Peckham, Putney, Camberwell, our readers so give us a call on 01932 243400 Bexleyheath, Belvedere and Waterside Way. or email us at go-ahead@ruxley.co.uk

Have YOU got a story?


There’s no business like show business for Merton driver Ian

Ian Moore, foreground, second left, on stage with the Leatherhead Operatic Society.

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HE WHOLE world’s a stage for Merton driver Ian Moore when he regularly performs with the Leatherhead Operatic Society. Ian was roped into the society last year when his 11-year old son Josh was selected to play the role of Kurt in The Sound of Music. Ian liked it so much he decided to stay. “It is really all down to Josh – he is quite a natural. I really enjoy singing and the society asked me to join and now they are stuck with me!” said Ian. “We put on a production of Oliver! in November. I was in the ensemble as well as

playing the part of the Bow Street runner who catches Oliver pick pocketing. As a driver, we often warn our customers about pickpockets and now I have finally caught one!” Ian will be treading the boards once again this May, but this time it will be in Beauty and the Beast. He is already rehearsing twice a week and that will increase to three when opening night draws near. “It is really quite enjoyable so far and Beauty and the Beast is very impressive – it feels like I am in a Broadway show,” said Ian. “It is a really great feeling when you are

singing with a professional orchestra and also quite educational.” This isn’t Ian’s first taste of show business, having appeared in an episode of The Bill on television in 2005. He drove a fork-lift truck in the episode and helped the criminals to get away. In addition to his role in Beauty and the Beast, Ian completed his second black belt in karate just before Christmas and is teaching himself to play the guitar. “I like to keep myself busy and when something new comes along I tend to get involved,” said Ian. “It is nice to keep your mind as well as your body a bit active!”

Remembering Tomek Exhibition inspired by Stockwell COLLEAGUES of Mandela Way driver Tomek Michalski, who sadly passed away on February 21 last year, have been busy raising money to help support his family in Poland. Tomek is Tomek Michalski. survived by his wife Katarzyna and his two children Dawid and Julia. Since his passing, colleagues at Mandela Way and other garages have been keen to continue to help his family in any way they can, with £1,200 raised so far to send to Katarzyna. A group of drivers from the garage are also planning to travel to Poland for the anniversary of his death to help support Tomek’s family further.

AN EXHIBITION is being held in the Royal Festival Hall Foyer in the Southbank Centre from February 11 to 24 about the All Aboard for Stockwell community arts project led by Our Hut and funded by the Heritage Lottery. It will focus on the inspiring architecture of the Stockwell bus garage and a range of creative responses to the building from school children and local community groups.

Visitors will also be able to listen to excerpts of oral history about the fascinating history of the bus garage’s construction, its day-to-day-operation and its broader influence. For further information about the project please see the website: www. allaboardforstockwell.org.uk The Royal Festival Hall is at the Southbank Centre, close to the London Eye and the nearest station is Waterloo.

Colleagues pay tribute to Gill GO-AHEAD LONDON and Arriva London employees turned out in their masses to pay their respects to colleague Gillian Stern at her funeral in Putney Vale Cemetery on January 18. Stockwell supervisor Gill tragically passed away on December 24 at the age of 42 and leaves behind her husband Cyril. Having previously worked for Arriva London, Gill was transferred to Stockwell

via TUPE in March of last year and quickly became a popular member of the garage admin team. “There was an amazing turnout for the funeral, with many of Gill’s colleagues and former colleagues in attendance,” said operations manager Paul Coyle. “Gill was a great worker and a fantastic asset to the company and was always willing to help others. She will be sorely missed by everyone at Stockwell.” BusTalk l February 2013

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Cheaper car insurance for bus drivers DID you know that if you’re a bus driver, your top-notch driving skills could be rewarded with cheaper car insurance from a prominent insurer? To promote this, Adelaide Insurance Services is offering a special prize for bus drivers at GoAhead London, meaning one lucky driver could win £1,000. Adelaide has been voted the UK’s number one insurer for value for money. To qualify, drivers must hold a valid driving license and must agree to allow Adelaide to verify their details. The competition closes on November 30, 2013 and the winner will be contacted by telephone in December. To get a quote and enter the competition for £1,000, register

your details at www.adelaide.com/ pcv or call Adelaide on 028 9033 2111 between the hours of 9am and 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, 10am and 5pm on Fridays and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. It was found that 90 per cent of IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) members who met acceptance criteria and received a quote from Adelaide between January 2008 and November 2012 found their insurance costs were less. As a safe and careful bus driver, you deserve better and cheaper car insurance. Visit www.goaheadlondon.net for qualifying criteria.

tbf

Transport Benevolent Fund

Great benefits, and it only costs a pound... COLLEAGUES at GoAhead London are being encouraged to sign up with the Transport Benevolent Fund (TBF) for just £1.00 a week. The TBF provides support such as cash-help for short-term hardship, legal advice on non-employment matters, complimentary medical treatments, welfare advice as well as many other forms of support. If you are interested in the charity, or wish to sign up with it yourself, every garage has a TBF rep that can point you in the right direction.

“The TBF provides an excellent service for anyone who works in the transport industry. The benefits you receive compared to the cost is amazing,” said Sutton driver and garage TBF rep Mick Vile. “I really would encourage anyone interested to get in touch with their garage rep to find out how they can get involved.” The TBF is a registered charity, number 1058032. You can contact it on a freephone number (landlines and mobiles) 0300 333 2000.

Charity group find the real measure of fundraising...

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EXLEYHEATH’s charity group The Dipsticks are certainly making a name for themselves throughout the company. Started by engineer Eddie Howard, the group normally raises money by charging an entrance fee into a dragon boat racing event, the proceeds of which are donated to charity. They have, however, started to branch out a bit. “It has all escalated really. We held a fancy dress event On the way to see the Christmas lights in London... in October at a local pub and raised £1,240, to be split between two charities,” said Bexleyheath GA party, and the EllenorLions hospice. The and Dipsticks member Nikki Margerison. Dipsticks had something a bit special planned “Ninety per cent of the people came in some for younger patients of the hospice. wonderful fancy dress costumes, which was Nikki, along with some of her colleagues, fantastic. It cost £5 for the entry fee and we organised a special bus to take some of the had a raffle with some lovely prizes donated children who benefit from the hospice and from local businesses.” their families up to see the Christmas lights The two good causes to benefit were local at Regents Street, Oxford Street and Tower charity Headway, which spent its money on Bridge. entertainment for its members’ Christmas Thanks to the money raised, The Dipsticks 8

BusTalk l February 2013

were able to buy a Christmas present for all the children who went along. “It really was excellent and it was so nice to be able to see the lights. My husband Lee dressed up as Father Christmas and gave all the children a present as they got off the bus,” said Nikki. “It all went very well and we are hoping to do the same thing next year.” The Dipsticks have already put the wheels in motion for their next charity event, a Casino Royale James Bond-themed evening to be held in the near future in a local pub, complete with poker tables to raise money for the next dragon boat race. “If anyone from any of the garages is interested in the dragon boat racing or in coming along to any of the fundraising events, it’s the more the merrier. Everyone is welcome, including friends and family,” said Nikki. “I would just like to mention acting GA Katie Dolan, who I wouldn’t be without. We do it all together.”

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

Bus Talk - Issue 20 - February 2013  

Bus Talk Issue 20 February 2013

Bus Talk - Issue 20 - February 2013  

Bus Talk Issue 20 February 2013