29 September 2009

The first clear sign

It was in CBW editor Andy Sutcliffe's interview with Go-Ahead Group's chief execute Keith Ludeman, that the specific view of someone at the helm of a bus company was made known regarding drivers who persistently fail to meet improved driving economy standards.

Detailing how his technology works, Ludeman explained that the dashboard traffic light system his company is implementing would glow green for when the bus is being driven efficiently and red on the occasions it isn't.

"For those drivers who are consistently receiving [a] red [warning light] we'll have them in and discuss with them ways to improve their driving. If they continue to receive red [warning symbols] then we don't want them working for us".

So far as Go-Ahead is concerned, if its drivers do not try and drive more efficiently, they won't be drivers for the company much longer. (They're using a system very similar to GreenRoad Technology.)

This all sounds very ecologically sound and will no doubt have the green parties all clapping, but the company's contract of employment will need to be conformed to and no doubt the various trade unions that exist within all bus companies up and down the land will be looking at ways to ensure a strict procedure is adopted when dealing with drivers who persistently fail to drive as efficiently as their company would like.

They did well with the Stagecoach Fit Club initiative, effectively forcing the hand of the company's PR department to scrap its initial command to each managing director, which effectively permitted them to handle the situation as they so wished. Now, a company-wide, union-approved set of steps has been agreed and is slowly being implemented.

In many towns and cities up and down the country, the ability to drive much more efficiently is counteracted with the inability to run to the published timetables. This in itself can lead to financial penalties, as those operators who fail to run their services within VOSA's 'window of compliance' know all too well.

It's an issue to keep an eye on, that's for sure! (CW)