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Go-Ahead Group plc : Business gets social as Go-Ahead joins the Twitter generation

04/12/2012 | 11:33am US/Eastern
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12 April 2012

The Go-Ahead Group has launched a new Twitter account to update "followers" about the company's rail and bus operations. You can follow Go-Ahead at @GoAheadGroup. The new Twitter account is in addition to the range of award-winning social media activity already underway in the Group's bus and rail companies.

Many of Go-Ahead's businesses use Twitter and Facebook  to keep passengers updated with service-running information and latest product and ticket offers.

London Midland @LondonMidland currently holds the Putting Passengers First National Rail Award for using  Twitter to communicate with customers.  The London Midland Twitter feed has led the rail industry in transforming the way information is delivered to passengers during disruption, with high profile events including the harsh winter of 2010, a fire on board a train at Leighton Buzzard last year, and a number of incidents affecting the London and Birmingham commuter markets. To date, London Midland has sent over 58000 tweets - more than any other train company in the world -and has 15000 followers.

London Midland  also ranks top out of all UK train companies in the Twitter Engagement Index which looks at levels of customer service delivered through rail company Twitter accounts. Gatwick Express (@GatwickExpress) and Southern (@SouthernRailUK),which has 7000 followers, are ranked fourth and fifth respectively.

Go North East was one of the first UK bus companies to communicate with passengers using Facebook. The company now has 42000 fans on Facebook, and posts competitions, quizzes and photo campaigns on the site. The company has involved local social media experts as the site has developed. Go North East recently introduced a mobile app called the keymobile so that users can select specific service information alongside more general news and offers.

Go North East also has a Twitter account with  nearly 3500 followers (@gonortheast). Last year, the company worked with PR agency Admiral on an award winning campaign to launch the key smartcard. The campaign used social media platforms to push out flash mob videos and launch updates.

Metrobus was the first Go-Ahead bus company to establish a Facebook page and now keeps 12000 fans up to date, providing  the very latest service news, 24 hours a day.  Oxford Bus Company doubled the number of Facebook "likes" overnight  while providing service updates during the heavy snowfall in February.

Go-Ahead's businesses have also identified ways of using social media  to interact with staff, many of whom use Twitter and Facebook in their daily lives. Southeastern for example, has a  dedicated business and social network for  its 3500 employees.

Samantha  Hodder, Go-Ahead's Interim Corporate Affairs Director said: "Our bus and rail services are used by more than 1.7million passengers a day and they want access to quick and accurate information about their services and the products we offer. Twitter and Facebook deliver that and also enable our passengers to exchange information about our services. We are committed to becoming a social business and to embracing new and developing  communication platforms which add to our  established communication tools such as our award-winning websites."

Go-Ahead Group will continue to distribute press notices via email and through the Go-Ahead Group website www.go-ahead.com

Ends

For further information, please contact:

The Go-Ahead Group
Samantha Hodder, Interim Group Corporate Affairs Director 020 7821 3928, samantha.hodder@go-ahead.com
GO-AHEAD

Go-Ahead is a leading UK public transport operator, providing high quality services in the bus and rail sectors. Employing around 22,000 people across the country, over one billion passenger journeys are undertaken on our services each year. We are committed to operating our companies in a safe, socially and environmentally responsible way and are proud to have been reaccredited with Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change. In addition to the travelling public, our customers include the Department for Transport, Transport for London (TfL) and local authorities.

BUS

Go-Ahead is one of the UK's largest bus operators. With a fleet of around 3,900 buses, we carry, on average, around 1.7 million passengers every day. Our operations are focused on high density commuter markets. We have a strong presence in London, with around 22per cent market share, where we provide regulated services for TfL. We operate deregulated services in Oxford, East Anglia, the South East, Southern and North East England. We also have a yellow school bus joint venture in North America.

RAIL

The rail operation, Govia, is 65per cent owned by Go-Ahead and 35per cent by Keolis. It is the busiest rail operation in the UK, responsible for nearly 30per cent of all UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail franchises: Southern (which includes the Gatwick Express), Southeastern and London Midland. In December 2009, Southeastern began operating the UK's first high speed domestic rail service between Kent and London, significantly reducing journey times.

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