Sustainability in action
Find out more about some of the work we are doing across the Group to reflect our Values
Master Driving Programme
The National Express Master Driver programme was created across the Group to encourage and recognise excellence in driving. It provides a framework to measure the performance of drivers and identify those with an impeccable safety record and outstanding driving skills. But it goes beyond just driving skills to recognise those drivers who are ambassadors for customer service, who impress customers each and every day through consistent and exceptional demonstration of National Express’ customer service standards.
The programme is being followed throughout the Group’s businesses, but ALSA has made particularly good progress in introducing it. The programme is based on an ongoing assessment of the results from each driver. Depending on their score they are classified into three categories – Professional Driver, Advanced Driver and Master Driver. Drivers are incentivised to work on improving their scores, enabling them to reach higher levels.
WeDriveU works with many leading brands to provide transport solutions. Our customer athenahealth offers a multi-modal transportation system using WeDriveU commuter and last-mile shuttles and onsite transportation demand management services, plus a host of other amenities including onsite car sharing and bike sharing.
“You aren’t hiring a bus company. You are hiring an expert multi-modal transportation consultant. Their data driven approach means I have the knowledge I need to make financial, operational and strategic decisions and share that knowledge across my organisation. They have saved me money – using the right equipment, low staff turnover and a focus on experience. They want to deliver results too and I trust their team to work with other parts of our business without supervision and micromanagement.”
Bridger McGaw, Director of Global Security & Services, athenahealth
Driving Out Harm
The Driving Out Harm programme encourages staff to make sure that their workplace is safe and that they put the safety of customers and colleagues first at all times.
The programme has been running since 2011 and is supported by training and internal marketing activity including posters, pledge cards, training booklets and brochures. It has its own brand for use at internal events and training programmes.
Every member of staff pledges to follow the Golden Rules of safety. There are role specific Golden Rules for different jobs.
For example, the Golden Rules for bus and coach drivers are as follows:
I will always:
- Put the safety of passengers first
- Be fit for work (no alcohol or drugs and fully rested)
- Check my vehicles and only drive if it is safe
- Drive safely and drive defensively
- Report all accidents, injuries and near misses
Each year we independently review the progress in implementing the Driving Out Harm programme.
improvement in FWI score since 2019
The Driving Out Harm programme has helped deliver significant reductions in safety incidents since it was launched. The Group uses the Fatalities ad Weighted Injuries (FWI) Index to measure safety performance. This weights injuries by severity to give an overall standard based score.
100% safety accreditation
National Express is the first US school bus company to have achieved the benchmark American National Standards Institute recognition for its safety.
All senior safety managers in North America are certified by the Institute of Health and Safety Management.
Safety professionals that earn their Certified Safety and Health Management Credentials (CSHM) credentials possess a working knowledge of a broad range of safety principles such as risk assessment and mitigation, behavioural sciences, ethics and law, safety management systems, health and wellness and emergency preparedness.
This development reflects the division's determination to develop and maintain an industry leading driver and special needs training programme.
The Institute for Safety and Health Management was founded by the National Safety Management Society. It is the only safety management designation that is fully accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Speciality Board. The certification programme aims to promote the advancement of safety management and the integration of safety into all activities of an organisation.
We have recently invested over $12m in a state of the art safety system that helps our drivers to check their vehicles every day and to report safety and mechanical issues.
In Department of Transportation random roadside checks the National Express pass rate is one of the highest in the industry.
ALSA Marrakech driver training team
Our ALSA business in Marrakech operates a busy urban bus network served by 200 vehicles. Driving conditions are sometimes challenging and drivers have to be particularly vigilant to the actions of other road users.
Considerable focus is placed on continuous driver training, and if incidents do occur they are analysed in detail to identify the cause.
Every morning as drivers report for work they receive a team safety briefing. This outlines any important issues, such as route changes, and allows drivers to raise any concerns they have.
This is supplemented by a more intensive training update session which drivers attend once a month.
Our Marrakech depot is one of two in Morocco which have a bus driving simulator. This enables drivers to tackle a range of driving conditions and respond to them in a safe and controlled manner. They then put their classroom learning into practice by going onto the road in training vehicles whilst receiving coaching from our driver trainers.
Both of these activities have already helped us to reduce our accidents by three quarters over the past four years. People now recognise our business as the only transit company in Morocco with a proper training program for drivers.
Adopt a route
The councillors regularly travel on the routes and see for themselves the issues which customers raise. Another initiative to get closer to passengers is the launch of our first customer panel in Coventry. The panel comprises eight customers who have a cross-section of user experiences, and will be used to discuss concerns and provide feedback on new products and services.
Making coach travel accessible
We are committed to providing affordable transport that is accessible to all and as part of this are proud to be on track to be fully wheelchair accessible six years ahead of compulsory legislation.
For many years we've led the way with accessible transport and our pioneering wheelchair lift was introduced to our coaches back in 2002.
The introduction of these lifts transformed the coach industry, opening doors and expanding horizons for many people for whom coach travel would previously have been inaccessible.
The lift provides step-free access to the coach and allows people to board direct from the kerbside and positions people into a forward-facing area designated for their wheelchair at the front of the coach. The lift carries a vast range of wheelchairs providing they meet the standard dimensions set by the current vehicle access regulations.
It was with pleasure we welcomed the then Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller MP and Paralympic Gold-medallist Josie Pearson to mark the ten year anniversary of this important transport industry milestone.
There is still some way to go before all our coaches are accessible but we continue to work hard and are on track to achieve this goal.
Committed to paying the Living Wage
National Express was the first UK private transport group to become an accredited Living Wage Foundation employer. The pledge has benefitted hundreds of workers across our UK Bus and Coach businesses. Outside of the UK we guarantee to pay rates of 10% above national minimum wage pay.
Our UK bus business led the way and was the first to be an accredited Living Wage employer in January 2016. The rest the UK Group businesses, including National Express UK Coach, achieved accreditation in 2018
The company’s pledge to ensure that all members of staff earn a real Living Wage was welcomed by senior politicians.
Tess Lanning, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:“We’re delighted that National Express is extending its Living Wage commitment to include all of the UK Group businesses, including National Express UK Coach. Responsible businesses know that the government minimum is not enough to live on. Employers, like National Express, that pay the real Living Wage enable their workers to live a life of dignity, supporting them to pay off debts and meet the pressures of rising bills.”
Find out how the Living Wage is helping our employees in these short videos:
The level of employee engagement, compliance with our policies and people management standards are monitored at divisional level through employee and customer feedback and internal human resource management systems.
The views of our employees matter. To gauge engagement in the business, we conduct separate employee surveys. The examine employee opinion on a variety of aspects of our business including issues such as safety, employee morale, working environment and manager relations.
A purpose built Health Bus, complete with a trained health adviser and consultation rooms, visits National Express garages and office locations offering free health advice and support to all employees.
The award winning bus, which was also an industry-first, was created following comments in our annual employee survey which praised our employee safety awareness but asked for similar support in health and wellbeing. The Health Bus was designed and constructed by our own engineers and fitters who adapted a redundant bus into a modern, mobile health facility offering two consultation areas and a waiting room. Confidential advice is offered during each 20-minute appointment with the health adviser who also performs checks on blood pressure, eyesight and cholesterol.
The Health Bus, which covers both day and night workers, has been visited by thousands of employees. Some of them, just like bus driver Roy Spriggs, tell us that visiting the bus has identified previously unknown health issues. "My doctor told me that my Health Bus visit saved my life," said Roy.
The bus has really delivered and helped support our employee's health and wellbeing and has already secured three national awards including:
- Nursing in the Community at the 2016 Nursing Times Awards
- Wellness Award at the 2015 Employee Engagement Awards
- Best Healthcare and Wellbeing Strategy of the Year at the 2015 Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards
ALSA works with the Integra Foundation
The Integra Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 2001 whose objective is to integrate people with a disability or who are at risk social exclusion into the world of work. It serves as a link between more than 100 NGOs and more than 60 companies who want to give these people an opportunity, thereby achieving their real integration in society.
The Foundation's objective is the search for a normal job for people who, due to various circumstances, find special difficulties in achieving real integration in society. It believes this cannot be achieved until these people obtain a job and are integrated in the normal process of economic self-sufficiency, thereby improving their personal, social and occupational self-esteem. In its 10 years of activity the Integra Foundation has achieved the hiring of more than 2,100 people who have been able to rebuild their lives thanks to a more stable job.
ALSA has been a supporter of the Foundation since 2001 and collaborates through the labour integration of its staff with people belonging to excluded groups referred by the Integra Foundation. It also makes an annual financial contribution. The Foundation's Trust is chaired by Ana Botella, Social Affairs Councilor at the Madrid City Council, and ALSA is represented by its president, Jorge Cosmen.
Local community partnerships
Across the UK business, each business location has chosen supports a local charity as a focus for employer fundraising. During the year, local teams engage in different fundraising activites, often linked to seasonal events.
Our Birmingham Central garage ran a special zombie bus to mark Halloween, with scary characters on board. The special service, 666, took passengers around a circuit of the city centre, with donations to Birmingham Children’s Hospital being made instead of paying for tickets.
Since 2013 National Express has delivered a wide-ranging package of support for the military, a commitment which was showcased when we were selected as the inaugural company to sign the government's new Corporate Covenant. This is a ground-breaking pledge to support the Armed Forces, their families and veterans.
National Express promises to offer guaranteed job interviews for people leaving the forces with a PCV licence for its driving vacancies.
Through our partnership with Ministry of Defence's Defence Discount Service we offer the UK's largest travel discount for serving personnel, family members and veterans at 60 per cent off standard fares.
We are also proud to recognise the huge commitment made by the Reserve Forces by offering extra annual leave for staff in the Army Reserve to help them fulfil their important duties without sacrificing all of their holidays.
It is a tremendous privilege to be chosen as the first company to sign the Corporate Covenant and a wonderful accolade for our business. Over and beyond this though, demonstrating support for the Armed Forces in black and white by signing the Corporate Covenant is simply 'the right thing to do'.
We firmly believe every business should make their own commitment and we urge other companies to follow our lead and show their support.
Vacancies are advertised online at the Career Transition Partnership's website www.ctp.org.uk
Since the start of 2011, we have been working with Transaid to improve driving standards and safety in Tanzania. Transaid is an international charity which works to increase the capacity of transport and logistics in developing countries to operate effectively, efficiently and safely.
It was founded by Save the Children and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) and works by sharing skills and knowledge with local people to enable them to put in place and manage efficient transport systems.
One of the key challenges in Africa is to improve the standard of bus driving. National Express is sharing its expertise by sending out our own driver trainers on two week secondments to the countries where Transaid is operating to build the skills of local instructors.
In one of the countries, Tanzania, our volunteers have worked with a group of local driver trainers to build on their existing skills and share teaching techniques to enable them to become more competent bus driver trainers. This is part of an ongoing initiative to build the overall capacity of the local training institution to become a centre of excellence renowned for quality bus driver training in the region.
Historically, very few of the 30,000 bus drivers in Tanzania received any formal training and none of them are 'officially' licensed. As a result, road crash rates in sub-Saharan Africa are very high and road deaths are predicted to become the biggest killer in the next 10 -15 years if nothing is done to avert the crisis.
Since the start of our partnership, we have provided volunteers to support projects in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Our vision, purpose and values
Our Vision and Values were launched in 2011 as a fundamental statement of who we are as a business and how we operate.
How we manage Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues is not an ‘add on’ to how we operate, but at the heart of our business.
Performance, reports and data
See how we've performed against our sustainability targets.