Go-Ahead's drivers trained to handle delays

Singapore is the first bus market outside of Britain for Go-Ahead, but the transport operator is confident its 26 years of expertise in bus scheduling, route management and maintenance regimes will help it meet the performance standards laid out by the authorities.

"We have a strong track record of providing passenger transport in busy urban areas," said Go-Ahead Group chief executive David Brown.

Go-Ahead was announced yesterday as the winner of the second government bus tender, earning the rights to operate 25 bus services from the third quarter of next year.

It can receive a yearly performance payment or deduction - capped at 10 per cent of the annual service fee - depending on how well it can meet performance indicators, such as reliability and punctuality.

Mr Martin Dean, managing director of bus development, said the firm will implement its active route management system in which supervisors and drivers are trained to deal with disruptions and delays.

Its supervisors also monitor the routes and bus locations through iBus, which is fitted on every bus. "As soon as our drivers understand that they are catching up with the bus in front or the bus behind is getting too close to them, they contact supervisors for advice on what to do next. We try to maintain the gaps or headways between vehicles."

Go-Ahead has a robust maintenance regime, inspecting every vehicle every four weeks, regardless of use, said Mr Brown. Technicians are equipped with tablets to help them.

The firm plans to hire 900 staff here, mainly bus captains. Asked how it intends to tackle the driver crunch, Mr Dean said flexible working schemes would be possible and the firm will also have attractive career pathways for bus captains that extend beyond just driving.

Adrian Lim

Janice Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2015, with the headline 'Go-Ahead's drivers trained to handle delays'. Print Edition | Subscribe