20 October 2012

Going for Growth

A couple of bits of Go Ahead Group News...

Going for growth

Go-Ahead is looking for organic growth in its bus business with the aim of having a bus division operating profit of £100million by 2015-16 – an increase of over 40 per cent on the 2012 figure of  £70,2million. In an interim management statement group chief executive David Brown says: "I am pleased to report strong growth across our regulated and deregulated bus businesses, demonstrating the effectiveness of the group’s strategy of providing high quality, cost efficient and locally focused bus services. We believe there is significant potential to grow this core part of our business.”

Go Ahead Statement

Interesting contrast between Go Ahead and First Group at the moment. Go Ahead aiming to grow whilst First seem intent on cutting right back, concentrating on a few areas very much at the expense of other areas. You can clearly see this happening in Plymouth at the moment!

Roger French

Roger French, Managing Director of Go-Ahead's Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company is to retire next year after overseeing the operation of buses in the south coast city for 30 years. Since 1982, when Roger first moved to Brighton, the bus market in the city has grown significantly, with the number of journeys made by bus doubling in the last 20 years.

Brighton & Hove Bus

Roger, who will retire next March said: "After 30 years of being involved in running buses in Brighton and Hove, I have decided it's now time to relax and enjoy my retirement. Of course, I shall miss working with all my fantastic work  colleagues in the bus company as well as the many people I’ve worked  with over the years  and  I will always be grateful to everyone for the help and encouragement they have given me.  It’s been a particular pleasure to be part of the Go-Ahead Group for the last 19 years.”

David Brown, Group Chief Executive for Go-Ahead said: "Roger has been amazing in the innovative way he has grown the business.  He has been instrumental in giving the city the excellent bus network it has today.  He deservedly received an OBE for services to public transport seven years ago. "Roger has inspired his team to deliver a high quality service to passengers and has spent much of his career developing successful partnerships with the local authority and other key stakeholders – partnerships which are rightly hailed as a beacon for others to emulate.

"We will miss Roger, his extensive experience and unique approach immensely. He can retire safe in the knowledge that he will leave behind him a legacy of excellence which will be recognised for many years to come, not just in Brighton and Hove but across the wider bus industry."

Roger chairs Brighton and Hove's Local Strategic Partnership; the Brighton and Hove Business Forum; the Hove Business Partnership; the Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and the Martlets Hospice.  Roger is also a member of the city’s Economic Partnership, the Transport Partnership and the Hove Business Association’s Management Committee and is a Trustee of the Argus newspaper’s charity, the Argus Appeal. In addition to an OBE in 2005 Roger received an Honorary MA from the University of Brighton in 2007. He became a Deputy Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex in 2007. During his retirement, Roger plans to spend time pursuing his interest in travel and transport in the UK and abroad.

The Go-Ahead Group will commence the search for a replacement for Roger shortly.

Go Ahead Group

Its clear within the industry that Mr French is well respected and the company he runs is much admired. I am sure there will be a few senior managers within Go Ahead looking at what seems to be a plum job!

Image above by Dominic Alves (creative commons)


  • Yes, three days in July wasn't enough so as soon as I returned to the UK I was already planning a quick return to the Isle of Man, this time over a normal weekend, or as normal as they can be on an island with a near 18 mile, nearly 120 year-old tramway with a sister mountain tramway and a 136 year-old horse tramway connecting it southwards into Douglas town centre. Transport Illustrated
  • The new Barracca Lift construction to date. TGP
  • To the south-east of Sheffield, things were quite exciting for the bus operators and passengers alike in the early 1920s. Full national bus service licensing was still 10 years away and various local systems were largely ineffective. Public Transport Experience
  • it now appears certain that Greyhound will fold, after last operation on 16th November 2012, or so First Hampshire’s drivers have been told. Ah, what might have been. Omnibuses
  • There is a huge thirst for information about the Olympic Games and I am just back from Singapore where I was delighted to be the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by the Land Transport Authority. Leon Daniels

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