<tr class="logo"><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; padding:16px 0 16px 0;"></td></tr>

<tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Type</th><td>Public (Template:Lse)</td></tr><tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Founded</th><td>1995</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Headquarters</th><td class="adr"></span></span>Template:Flagicon Newcastle, England, UK</td></tr><tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Area served</th><td>British Isles and Europe</td></tr><tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Industry</th><td>Public transport and Railfreight</td></tr><tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Products</th><td>See below</td></tr><tr class="note"><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Subsidiaries</th><td>Aviance UK, Metro Taxis, Meteor Parking</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Website</th><td class="url"></td></tr>

Go-Ahead Group plc

The Go-Ahead Group plc is a rail and bus operating company that was created following the privatisation of the UK's train and bus industries.


File:Go Ahead Gateshead bus 3771 MCW Metrobus C771 OCN Metrocentre rally 2009 (1).JPG
File:Oxford Bus Company 103 2.JPG
File:Brighton & Hove bus T809 RFG (4).jpg
File:London Central bus T991 (A991 SYE), 1994 Leyland Titan B15, Forest Hill, route 171, 5 May 2001.jpg
File:Class 319 DC Unit - Thameslink livery - East Croydon railway station - England - 270404.jpg
File:Southern 377 122.JPG
File:Buses at Ryde St John's Road car park 5.JPG
File:Rugby railway station MMB 12 350233.jpg
File:Plymouth Royal Parade PCB 421 W511WGH.jpg


The Go-Ahead Group plc began as Go-Ahead Northern Limited in February 1987 on the privatisation of the National Bus Company, when a partial management buyout led by Martin Ballinger and Chris Moyes purchased its Gateshead-based northern division, known as the Northern General Transport Company.[1]

Early expansion saw the acquisition of certain smaller competing bus operators in North East England (principally Gypsy Queen in 1989 and Low Fell Coaches in June 1992). Go-Ahead Northern Ltd also became a National Express Coaches sub-contractor operating services to the Midlands, North East, North West and South West England.[2][3] At the same time, Go-Ahead Leisure purchased a number of pubs,[2] which were sold in February 1996.[3]

Expanding southEdit

Despite bidding for a number of other larger bus operators in the intervening period, Go-Ahead's first major acquisition was Brighton & Hove in November 1993,[2][4][5] followed by the Oxford Bus Company and Wycombe Bus Company in March 1994.[2] In May 1997 the Brighton & Hove operation expanded with the acquisition of the former municipal operator Brighton Transport.[6] In September 1999 Metrobus, a large operator operating in London, Surrey and Sussex was acquired.[4][7]

Floatation & into LondonEdit

A previously unlisted public company owned 90% by management, in May 1994 Go-Ahead was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[2][8] In October 1994 Go-Ahead purchased London Central during the privatisation of London Buses.[1][5][9]

In March 1995 OK Motor Services was purchased and integrated into the Go North East operation.[9][10]

In June 1996 a second London bus operation, London General was acquired from the management team that had purchased it when privatised.[1][3][5]

Into railEdit

In October 1996 Go-Ahead entered the UK rail market when it commenced operating the Thames Trains franchise which it ran until March 2004. The Thames Trains franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Victory Rail Holdings. Go-Ahead owned 65% of the shares in Victory Rail Holdings with the remaining 35% held by some ex British Rail managers and employees.[6] Go-Ahead bought the remaining shares it did not own in June 1998.[11]

Go-Ahead entered into a joint venture with VIA-GTI, taking a 65% stake in Govia. Govia ran the Thameslink franchise from March 1997 until March 2006.

Into aviationEdit

In October 1998 Go-Ahead diversified into Airport Services with the acquisition of Gatwick Handling International, a provider of ground handling services at UK airports.[12]

Takeover targetEdit

In 2000 French government owned C3D made an unsuccessful takeover bid for the company.[13]

In 2000 Go-Ahead entered two joint ventures with VIA-GTI and BK Tåg to operate rail services in Sweden. Go-Ahead had a 39% stake in City Pendeln AB which was to operate the Citypendeln commuter rail business in Stockholm. Go-Ahead had a 29% stake in Sydvasten AB which operated rail services between Gothenburg and Malmö. Due to problems, Go-Ahead exited both ventures.[7][14]

Wycombe Bus Company was sold to Arriva in December 2000.[15]

More aviation & railEdit

Go-Ahead acquired the ground handling operations of British Midland and Midland Airport Services in March 2001 followed by Reed Aviation in August 2001. Along with Go-Ahead's existing Gatwick Handling International operation, all were rebranded as Aviance.[15] In August 2001 Govia started running the South Central rail franchise. In October 2000 the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority awarded Govia the South Central rail franchise with operations due to commence in May 2003 when Connex's franchise expired.[16] Govia negotiated a deal with Connex to buy out the remainder of its franchise.[17][18]

Further airport diversification and South Coast additionsEdit

In May 2002 Go-Ahead diversified again, acquiring airport-focussed Meteor Parking.[19] In August 2003 the Wilts & Dorset bus business was purchased.[20] Included in the purchase of Gatwick Handling International in 1998 was a 50% shareholding in Plane Handling. In August 2004 Go-Ahead purchased the remaining 50% from Virgin Aviation.[21]

In June 2005 Solent Blue Line and Southern Vectis were purchased.[21] In September 2005 the Lewes and Seaford operations of Stagecoach South were acquired and integrated into the Brighton & Hove business.[22]

Into the MidlandsEdit

In December 2005 Go-Ahead purchased The Birmingham Coach Company, which operated express coach under contract for National Express and local bus services in the West Midlands under the Diamond Bus name.[4][22] Go-Ahead had been known for some time to be keen to begin operating in the area. OI February 2006 another operator in the West Midlands, Probus Management Limited, trading as People's Express, was purchased.[4][22] In August 2006 the Birmingham Coach Company (trading as Diamond Bus) and Probus operations were regrouped under the Go West Midlands Limited legal entity, with the bus operations branded as Diamond in the West Midlands.

In February 2006 the Hants & Dorset Trim bus refurbishment business was purchased.[22] In April 2006 Govia commenced operating the Southeastern rail franchise.[23]

More acquisitionsEdit

In September 2006 Docklands Buses was acquired and integrated into Go-Ahead London followed in October 2006 by Marchwood Motorways that was integrated into Go South Coast.[24][25]

In December 2006 Gatwick Airport parking operator PAS was purchased and integrated into Meteor Parking followed by security provider Nikaro in February 2007.[24]

In June 2007 Blue Triangle was acquired and integrated into Go-Ahead London.[24] In September 2007 Northumbria Coaches was purchased and integrated into Go North East, followed by Stanley Taxis in October 2007 and Redby Buses in January 2008.[26]

In November 2007 Govia commenced operating the London Midland rail franchise.[24] In December 2007 the Orpington services of First London were acquired.[26]

Out of the MidlandsEdit

In February 2008 Go-Ahead sold Go West Midlands to Rotala's Central Connect, just two years after purchasing the company.[26] In June 2008 the Gatwick Express rail service was incorporated into Southern.[26]

In October 2009 East Thames Buses was acquired and integrated into Go-Ahead London as well as the Horsham operations of Arriva Southern Counties that were integrated into Metrobus.[27] In December 2009 Plymouth Citybus was purchased from Plymouth City Council.[27]

Out of airports, into AmericaEdit

In January 2010 Go-Ahead sold most of its airport based operations to Dnata UK and Servisair.[28] In March 2010 Konectbus in Norfolk was purchased as well as the Hexham operations of Arriva North East and integrated into Go North East with the Ashington depot going the other way.[29] In August 2010 Go-Ahead America, a joint venture with Cook Illinois in which Go-Ahead held a 50% stake, commenced operating a yellow school bus contract in St Louis, Missouri.[29] In September 2010 Meteor Parking was sold to Vinci Park Services, bringing Go-Ahead's involvement in the aviation support industry to a close.[29]

More bus operations acquiredEdit

In May 2011 Go-Ahead acquired Thames Travel in South Oxfordshire.[29] Acquired in 2012 were Carousel Buses (March) integrated into Oxford Bus Company, Essex based Hedingham Omnibuses (March), the Northumberland Park-based operations of First London (March), Anglian Bus (April) in Norfolk and Suffolk, and H.C. Chambers & Son (June) based in the latter county.[30]

Senior managementEdit

Keith Ludeman was appointed as Chief Executive on 10 July 2006 following the resignation of Chris Moyes due to an undisclosed serious illness, subsequently revealed to have been a brain tumour.


Bus operationsEdit

See also: Bus transport in the United Kingdom

Current rail franchisesEdit

Franchises operated by Govia (joint venture with Keolis):

Previous rail franchisesEdit

The main distinguishing features of the Go-Ahead Group are the relatively high degree of autonomy the group offers its individual operating companies, and its focus on investing in local management. Unlike the other large UK bus operators (Arriva, First and Stagecoach), Go-Ahead does not apply a corporate livery or branding to its operations, rather leaving each to have a unique identity with subtle Go-Ahead signage.


References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Chris Moyes obituary The Times 18 September 2006
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Go-Ahead annual report 30 June 1994 Go-Ahead Group plc
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Go-Ahead annual report 29 June 1996 Go-Ahead Group plc
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Times 100 Case Study[dead link]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Go-Ahead History Go-Ahead Group Handbook British Bus Publishing
  6. 6.0 6.1 Go-Ahead annual report 28 June 1997 Go-Ahead Group plc
  7. 7.0 7.1 Go-Ahead annual report 1 July 2000 Go-Ahead Group plc
  8. All aboard for Go Ahead's float The Independent 11 March 1994
  9. 9.0 9.1 Go-Ahead annual report 30 June 1995 Go-Ahead Group plc
  10. The Go-Ahead Group plc and OK Motor Services Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 1996
  11. Go-Ahead annual report 27 June 1998 Go-Ahead Group plc
  12. Go-Ahead annual report 3 July 1999 Go-Ahead Group plc
  13. Go-Ahead dives as hostile bid fizzles out The Telegraph 26 October 2000
  14. Withdrawal from Joint Ventures in Railways in Sweden Go-Ahead Group 19 May 2000
  15. 15.0 15.1 Go-Ahead annual results 30 June 2001 Go-Ahead Group plc
  16. Connex loses rail franchise BBC News 24 October 2000
  17. Proposed acquisition by Govia Limited of Connex South Central Limited Office of Fair Trading 16 August 2001
  18. Completion of Acquisition of South Central Franchise Go-Ahead press release 28 August 2001
  19. Go-Ahead annual report 29 June 2002 Go-Ahead Group plc
  20. Go-Ahead annual report 28 June 2003 Go-Ahead Group plc
  21. 21.0 21.1 Go-Ahead annual report 2 July 2005 Go-Ahead Group plc
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Go-Ahead annual report 1 July 2006 Go-Ahead Group plc
  23. Department for Transport announces integrated Kent franchise Department for Transport 30 January 2006
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Go-Ahead annual report 30 June 2007 Go-Ahead Group plc
  25. Go-Ahead purchases Marchwood Motorways. Plum Publishing (26 October 2006). Retrieved on 9 October 2013.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Go-Ahead annual report 28 June 2008 Go-Ahead Group plc
  27. 27.0 27.1 Go-Ahead half year Report 2 January 2010 Go-Ahead Group plc
  28. Go-Ahead to Sell the Majority of its Aviation Ground Handling and Cargo Operations Go-Ahead Group plc 3 December 2009
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Go-Ahead annual report 2 July 2011 Go-Ahead Group plc
  30. [1] 2012 Annual Report

External linksEdit


Template:Go-Ahead Bus Companies