Transport aid: Go-Ahead’s bus and rail companies rally round to support Ukraine

Since Russia's invasion in February 2022, individuals and local operating companies throughout the Go-Ahead Group have stepped up to help the people of Ukraine.

Through a series of initiatives at a local level, Go-Ahead’s companies have taken steps to demonstrate their solidarity with refugees and with those whose daily lives have been threatened by war. These range from employment opportunities to donation of vehicles, aid delivery efforts and sponsorship of humanitarian initiatives in the rail sector.

In November last year, Hedingham & Chambers, a Go-Ahead bus operator in Essex and Suffolk, donated a single-decker bus to a Ukraine-focused charity which has since been transformed into a Children’s Story Bus for Ukrainian children. The bus has had its seats removed, play tables and cupboards fitted and the interior has been converted into an ‘enchanted forest’. Artwork includes Ukrainian figures in national costume, planets and stars on the ceiling and colourful birds flying around.

Inside the Children's story Bus3.jpg

The project has been masterminded by Swindon Humanitarian Aid Partnership which also repurposed a vehicle last year from Go-Ahead’s Swindon Bus Company to turn it into a field hospital for use on the front line – featuring beds, sanitary facilities and first aid equipment.

Furthermore, three former Luton Airport shuttle buses operated by Go-Ahead between the airport and nearby train station have been donated for use in the Ukraine war effort, serving primarily as transport and rest areas for Ukrainian soldiers on the front line. And Dartline, a Go-Ahead bus company in Devon, dispatched a coach packed with aid to the Ukrainian border with Slovakia.

Ukraine Luton 1.JPGBeyond bus donations, Go-Ahead has sought to provide employment opportunities to Ukrainian evacuees, partnering with the Department for Work and Pensions to organise an open day specifically for Ukrainians interested in becoming drivers - demonstrating the transformative power of support and inclusion.

Go-Ahead’s rail company, Govia Thameslink Railway joined the rest of the UK rail industry in sponsoring “Rail Partners with Ukraine”, a campaign raising £106,000 to provide food parcels for Ukrainian rail workers and their families. This initiative, alongside contributions from the wider rail industry, has funded the equivalent of 7,000 food parcels, now being distributed in the country.

Rail-Partners--696x462.jpgAnd Go-Ahead colleagues themselves, through a matched funding program with the company, collectively demonstrated their commitment to humanitarian efforts by raising £36,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee in 2022.

Our initiatives are small in the context of the vast scale of this war. But we are proud of the imaginative range of suggestions our 27,000 colleagues have made to support the people of Ukraine.