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Glossary of terms


Adjusted net debt
The total net debt plus restricted cash in our rail division

AGM  Annual general meeting
A meeting attended by all directors where all shareholders are invited and encouraged to attend as it provides an opportunity to develop their understanding of the Group and ask questions

An application (a programme or piece of software designed to fulfil a purpose), downloaded by a user to a mobile device

ATOC – Association of Train Operating Companies
Industry association - advocates on behalf of its member companies and provides them with shared marketing, accounting and operational services.

Audit committee
Has delegated responsibility from the Board to oversee risk management and internal controls. The committee reviews the effectiveness of the Group’s internal control and risk management processes, monitors the role and effectiveness of the internal auditors and the independence and expertise of the external auditors

BAB – Bus Appeals Body
The Bus Appeals Body is a non-statutory committee offering independent review of complaints arising from the operation of local bus and scheduled coach services

BSOG  Bus service operators grant
A grant paid to operators to help them recover some fuel costs. The aim of BSOG is to benefit passengers by helping operators keep fares down and enabling them to run services that might otherwise be unprofitable and cancelled

BTP – British Transport Police

CCTV – Closed circuit television
Often used for station security and monitoring controlled level crossings

Concessionary travel
Government policy entitles anyone of pensionable age to free travel on local bus services in England

Concessionary travel reimbursement
Bus operators are reimbursed a percentage of the full fare for revenue forgone, paid by local authorities from a fund allocated by central Government, based on a principle of the operator being ‘no better and no worse off.’ Our typical reimbursement rates are around 50%

CPT – Confederation of Passenger Transport
The trade association representing the UK’s bus and coach industry

A building where servicing, maintenance and repairs of vehicles are undertaken

DfT – Department for Transport

Dividend cover
The level by which our dividend payments can be covered by earnings (adjusted earnings per share divided by dividend per share)

DVSA – The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (formerly VOSA)
Provides a range of licensing, testing and enforcement services with the aim of improving the roadworthiness standards of vehicles, ensuring the compliance of operators and drivers, and supporting the independent Traffic Commissioners

EBITDA  Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation

European emission standards
These define acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in EU member states. The emission standards are defined in a series of European Union directives staging the progressive introduction of increasingly stringent standards

Fair Tax Mark
A label for good taxpayers and companies that are open about tax affairs and seek to pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place

A fuel efficient system where a gyrodrive system uses a high speed carbon fibre flywheel to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop

FOC – Freight operating company


Govia is a joint venture 65% Go-Ahead, 35% Keolis. Govia operates rail franchises GTR, London Midland and Southeastern

Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign group encouraging fewer car journeys and more trips by bus and coach to stimulate economic growth, reduce congestion and CO2 emissions and enable access to jobs, retail, leisure and vital services

GSMR – Global system for mobile telecommunications for railways

GTR – Govia Thameslink Railway

Heavy rail
Operates by means of bridges or tunnels, subways and carries a high volume of passengers

Hybrid bus
Buses combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor with the advantages that it uses less fuel and emits less CO2 than most conventional non-hybrid vehicles

Integrated report
A joint report with both our year end accounts and our sustainability report. It presents the position and performance of our business in the context of our markets, bringing to life our strategic priorities through case studies that demonstrate how we keep people moving through our role as a responsible operator and business

ITC – Independent Transport Commissioner

The Key
Go-Ahead’s own smartcard ticket and payment scheme - the largest in the UK outside London’s Oyster

KPIs – Key performance indicators
Measures used to assess the Group’s performance against strategic objectives. These KPI measures are regularly reviewed to ensure there is focus on the right areas of performance

Leaf fall season
A few weeks in autumn when the majority of leaves fall - and Network Rail needs to take measures to ensure the track is not slippery

Light rail
An urban form of public transport often using multiple unit trams

LTA – Local transport authority

London bus
We operate around 24% of London’s buses for TfL. Our strategy is to maintain our sector leading performance and market position through strong and effective management, providing high quality and cost efficient operations whilst seeking expansion through additional contract wins and value adding acquisitions

Tickets available on smart mobile telephones

NBPS – National bus passenger survey
Annual survey of bus passengers

Network Rail
The company responsible for railway infrastructure - including tracks, signals and major stations

NRPS – National rail passenger survey
Twice-yearly survey of customers

NSIP – National stations improvement programme
Government investment to make improvements at stations that benefit passengers

NVQ – National vocational qualification

On Track app
Our app for bus and rail customers providing rail passengers with information to needed to plan a journey

ORR – Office of Rail and Road
An independent regulator, ORR operates within a framework set by UK and EU legislation and is accountable through Parliament and the courts

TfL’s cashless smartcard payment system used in London

28 day period as defined by the railway industry. 13 periods make up a year

A nation-wide integrated train to bus ticketing scheme giving discount price bus passes to enable rail passengers unlimited bus travel around the origin and / or destination town of their rail journey

PPM – Public performance measure
A measure of the punctuality and reliability of passenger trains in Britain. It is the percentage of all trains, calling at all stations, arriving within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time for London and South East operators and within ten minutes for long-distance operators


QCS – Quality contract scheme
A scheme under the Transport Act where two or more local transport authorities (LTAs) determine what bus services should be provided in the area

QIC – Quality incentive contracts
Performance targets set by TfL to encourage the provision of punctual services. Operators receive bonus payments when targets are met and are penalised for poor performance

Trains with British Transport Police onboard working to combat trespass and vandalism. Also can be used to refer to a train path not always utilised - for example a sandite train used during the autumn to lay a gritty gel and increase adhesion of the track

RAIB – Rail Accident Investigation Branch
The government body that investigates railway accidents and incidents

RDG – Rail Delivery Group
Set up in 2011 to provide leadership to Britain's rail industry, bringing together Britain's passenger train operating companies, freight operators and Network Rail

Regional bus
We operate around 7% of the regional bus market in the UK outside London. Our strategy is to grow our share of the regional UK bus market organically and through value adding acquisitions

A figure including salary, annual performance-related bonus, long term incentive bonus and other benefits

Revenue share
Generally paid from the start of a franchise and is a way for the TOC, if outperforming its bid target, is required to pay the DfT a share of the target revenue

Revenue support
Revenue support, provided by the DfT, is designed to provide mitigation for any revenue shortfall in the latter parts of the franchise

Riddor – Reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations
A statutory requirement for all companies and relates to a workplace incident that results in absence from work for over seven days or a legally reportable incident to the Health and Safety Executive

A gritty gel substance, a mixture of sand and antifreeze, deployed onto the track to improve grip and adhesion

Spad – Signal passed at danger
Across the rail industry, train operating companies are legally required to report SPADs. Although every SPAD is treated as a serious incident, most SPADs occur at low speed, where braking distance has been misjudged and the train is stopped by automatic warning systems, and therefore the likelihood of an accident is very low

Subsidy (rail)
Some rail franchises require subsidy from the DfT for operating the franchise, dependent on the level of passenger revenue assumed. The current franchise model is designed to maximise the value to the taxpayer by incentivising train companies to operate efficiently and encourage passenger growth

Sustainability and corporate responsibility is integral to our strategy and the way we operate at every level of the business - to ensure our long-term viability

Tendered contracts
Services which are not commercially viable, such as rural routes and school buses, are tendered by local authorities

TfL – Transport for London

TSGN – Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise
Rail franchise operated by GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway)

Third rail
A system of rail electrification where trains draw electrical current from a ‘third’ rail alongside the running rail

Transport Focus
Independent statutory watchdog representing bus and rail passengers

TOC – Train operating company

The space by passenger doors on a train carriage

A structure used to carry railway tracks above the ground, usually made up of a continuous series of bridges

Working timetable
A timetable used by railway operators, including all the times of all trains - not just passenger trains