When energy giant npower relocated over 1,800 to new but difficult-to-reach Sunderland offices in 2010, one of the major issues to be addressed was how staff would get to work.
npower turned to Go North East to create bus links for existing staff and new recruits. The result is four branded routes: the Laser 35, Red Arrows 921, Metrolink 922 and East Durham 923, which offer 12 buses per hour to the business park at peak times.
The services were initially all funded entirely by npower, but the Red Arrows 921 service has since opened up commercially. Staff pay their own fares, but those who relocated have received a subsidy in their salaries to compensate.
There are now more than 15,000 journeys per month on the services and nearly 20% of the people who work at the business park travel by bus.
Go North East and npower jointly monitor reliability and quality of customer service against pre-agreed standards and both support joint marketing initiatives to publicise the service to current and potential staff.
Dave Horton, RWE npower Sustainability and Capital Investments Manager, said: “Working with Go North East allows us the opportunity to tailor the services to meet our staff needs around shift start and end times whilst also reducing on site parking issues and reducing our carbon footprint by replacing thousands of miles of potential commuter travel. A great solution for our staff and public alike.”
Staff feedback includes:
“I have been a constant user of the company bus service since its inception two years ago. In that time I have found the service to be very efficient, reliable and punctual. I can recall only one occasion in two years where there has been an actual problem with the service, so on the whole the service is second to none”.
“With the use of the 35 service npower and Go North East have made it a lot easier and more efficient to get to work from Sunderland. I now have a direct bus which saves waiting around for connections and conveniently drops me off outside of work. The buses are regular which means I rarely am waiting for a service and this makes travelling each day very simple and unproblematic”.