Former military drivers at Arriva rally behind free travel offer for Armed Forces Day
3 months ago
Arriva bus drivers who used to drive military vehicles get behind the bus operator’s offer of free travel to Armed Forces, Veterans and Cadets for Armed Forces Day.
You might think driving a bus is different from driving heavy duty military vehicles, but many Arriva staff have left behind a life in the forces in order to get people moving in civvy street.
One of them is bus driver Graham Taylor, who travelled the world when he was a soldier with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, but now drives an Arriva bus in Runcorn, Cheshire.
Graham, 61, served for 27 years – completing tours of duty in the Falkland Isles, Northern Island and Afghanistan – before he retired and then joined Arriva.
Arriva is offering free travel to past and present members of the Armed Forces on all its bus services to thank them on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, June 24, 2023.
The commitment to free travel for the Armed Forces is supported by the many Arriva employees who have served in the military in the past.
Graham, a father-of-three, said: “I had a brilliant time in the Army, but I love my job as a bus driver.
“I get to speak to people and I think it’s nice that the public know that a lot of our drivers are ex-military.
“You can spot us, because we’re usually the ones who have extra-shiny shoes – force of habit!
“It’s really important that we are able to take service people past and present on free journeys for Armed Forces Day, as it’s a way of allowing younger people to learn about the importance of these events.
“It’s also important that we look after ex-service personnel because many of them struggle after leaving the forces – something I’ve seen as a bus driver in the community.
“It’s brilliant that Arriva are doing something like this.”
Serving military personnel (both regular and reservists) veterans and cadets will be allowed free travel on Arriva services all day on Armed Forces Day.
When boarding the bus, they will need to show the driver Armed Forces identification card, Veteran identification card or Ministry of Defence-issued Veteran’s Badge.
A number of towns and cities across the country are hosting events on Saturday.
Bus driver, Rob Svennson, who served for 16 years with the Royal Signals, will be attending Armed Forces Day events in Liverpool on his day off.
Rob, 49, from Wirral, completed two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and now works from Arriva’s depot in Birkenhead.
The father-of-two said he walked past the Army Careers Centre and saw a picture of a soldier canoeing and that attracted him to the military.
He said: “Sadly, there were no canoes, but I enjoyed my time providing military communications.
“I’ve been a bus driver since 2013 and it’s different from being in the forces, but what’s similar is – we wear a uniform and have great banter.
“I think it’s great that Arriva allows servicemen and women free bus travel on June 24 as I think they do a lot for the country but they need some extra recognition.”
Our employees across all our regions are passionate about showing their support and appreciation for our military personnel – past and present.
Cora Woodhouse, director of marketing and customer services at Arriva, said: “We’re proud to offer military service people free travel on our buses to celebrate Armed Forces Day 2023.
“I hope everyone who’s in or has been in the Armed Forces takes the opportunity to use our buses – whether they’re attending an Armed Forces Day event or whether they need to get around that day.
“As a business, we’re proud and grateful for their brave and dedicated work done by service personnel and we recognise the important roles they have played in serving and protecting our country.”