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Guest Blog : Now It's All Over - Your Olympic Blog
Games - Time Travel - By Des Speed
Ever since seeing the logo, I thought that someone, early on in the planning stages of the Olympics 2012, had mistyped the hyphen in the wrong place. Should it really read Games Time - Travel ?
In February 2010 Firstgroup was the preferred bidder for a wide-ranging spectator contract by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) for the 2012 Games. The contract involved the supply of almost 900 buses. About 500 of those were to be used to ferry spectators between venues across the Olympic sites. On top of this, some 90 buses and coaches were to take spectators from parking areas around the M25 to the venues. First was also charged with contracting some 300 buses from local providers to run express services from around the UK into the Olympic sites.
All Firstgroup staff were invited to apply for various positions within the proposed structure. I applied and was successful in applying to be a driver. I was allocated to work in Weymouth and Portland to drive Park & Ride buses for spectators to the Olympic sailing events. After special training sessions and accreditation by the Olympic Delivery Authority I was ready to ‘Live The Dream’.
FGT staff were accommodated in the Weymouth, Poole & Bournemouth area, with shuttle coaches provided to take staff to and from their accommodation.
First Games Transport (FGT) was the company that would deliver the Olympic Contract.
The Weymouth operation consisted of three park & ride sites, Mount Pleasant, Monkey’s Jump and Kingston Maurward all feeding into the Weymouth Swannery Transport Hub. First buses left the park and ride sites at 08.00 and the last buses left the Swannery Hub at 23.30.
All sites involved Spectator Assistants loading and unloading buses at numbered platforms.
1 - Swannery Transport Hub - All park & ride buses fed into and from the hub. Express services contracted by FGT also fed into and from the hub. All drivers would take their meal breaks at the hub.
2 - Mount Pleasant Park & Ride and FGT operating depot - Was where the buses were parked for the night. All early morning staff reported to Mount Pleasant to sign on, be allocated a bus and do the safety & security checks required before that bus was taken onto the road in service. At the end of service, all buses were returned to Mount Pleasant.
3 - Monkey’s Jump & 4 - Kingston Maurward - The main park and ride sites. Access was on a temporary track road system.
Weymouth FirstGroup Garage - Played a big part in the FGT framework. They fueled and washed all buses on a daily basis. FGT staff weren’t allowed in the Weymouth Garage. We would drive into the garage and a member of staff would take the bus from us, drive it to the fuel pump and through the wash. All members of Weymouth garage staff were really friendly and interested in what was going on ‘across the road’. One even took my camera and took a shot of a FGT bus being fueled.
Working for FGT was an amazing and satisfying experience. Organisation of the transport was flawless. All staff were friendly and helpful.
The passengers were why we were there and they responded to the transport in a very positive way. Chatting to staff, front seat passengers waving to all oncoming buses and all saying ‘thanks’ at the end of their journey.
No detail was left to chance, even our four legged friends were catered for -