Coach & Bus Week’s Editor Gareth Evans sets the scene for an in-depth look at Go-Ahead Group which begins a series of similar articles encompassing all the major bus groups
We’re breaking new ground here at Coach & Bus Week by profiling the Go-Ahead Group (GAG) over two issues. While the group’s operating companies and its people are no strangers to the pages of the UK’s longest established weekly road passenger transport magazine, it is believed none of the so-called ‘Big Five’ operators have ever been profiled and examined in-depth. We thought it was about time to put that right.
Turning to the feature itself, we’ve attempted to look at elements and people who have not hitherto been in the limelight. A prime example is Metrobus managing director Alan Eatwell, who has been a significant cog in the GAG story. I always feel engineers enjoy far too low a profile in our industry – and Alan is no exception. He’s also a career busman who contributes to the success of Metrobus from a vast bank of knowledge from his days at the fondly-remembered Midland Red and Southdown.
Also enjoying his inaugural ‘Face to Face’ interview in CBW is David Brown, who at 51, ranks as the youngest chief executive of any of the so-called ‘Big Five’ operators. Having spent his lifetime in the industry, he’s experienced life on both sides of the fence, as it were, during his time at TfL and at depot managerial level.
Metrobus was selected as this issue’s ‘Operator Profile’ as not only does it seemingly fail to enjoy the media profile of some of its fellow GAG operating companies but in business terms it comprises a mixture of London and provincial work and thus provides an interesting bridge between the two regulatory models. Metrobus also has a track record of turning somewhat ailing operating territory into successful networks, which are tailored to the needs of the travelling public.
We’ve also looked at GAG’s technology, including its aptly-named smartcard ‘the key’, its use of the renowned MiX Telematics system and briefly, the all-new Williams Hybrid Power system, which it is hoped to examine in greater depth in a future issue.
The second part of the GAG story will include among other sections, an interview with another of the group’s leading lights, a look at the vehicle fleet and the group’s operating companies.
The full feature is in this week’s CBW, viewable online now.