Suffering huge losses annually due to vandalism of its infrastructure and vehicles, the GO GEORGE bus service has embarked on a multi-pronged anti-vandalism campaign, now also including a short play by a group of communication champions addressing this issue.
After a year of Covid-19 restrictions and cautious engagement with the public, including their regular school visits, the GO GEORGE communication champions have recommenced their outreach to schools where limited numbers of students at a time and fully compliant with Covid-19 safety regulations are addressed on important topics such as vandalism and the rules of carriage.
According to James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, the communication team had to think creatively about conveying the shocking message about the impact of vandalism and the consequences for the perpetrators themselves.
“The senseless vandalism of the bus service’s infrastructure prompted us to address the youngsters in their language to get their cooperation to help us prevent this kind of behaviour when they happen to witness any such incidents,” said Robb. “When we used this medium to engage with learners before the Covid lockdown, it was clear that we had struck a chord, judging from the participation of the audience and the extent to which they absolutely enjoyed the fine humour.
“We find that this way of explaining the reasons for rules on the buses and the impact of destructive behaviour is most effective and plan to use it increasingly to drive home important messages to the public. And of course, it was not difficult at all to find enough voluntary actors and talented comedians among the champions for a brief production, adding variety to their daily task of engaging, assisting, guiding and educating passengers.”
Role play highlighting consequences
Encouraging respect for others and public property, the anti-vandalism play also touches on the criminality of damaging public property, the possibility of going to jail for these senseless acts, and the negative impact of a criminal record on the perpetrators’ future employment prospects.
The feedback from high schools that have already been visited is overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the learners enjoying the witty presentation “in their language”, relating and taking it to heart, principals say that the message of respect for other people and public property is universally applicable and welcomed.
A puppet theatre to engage with younger children is also on the cards.
Schools interested in a visit from the GO GEORGE team are welcome to phone the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044 and leave a message. Adherence to Covid-19 protocol is a top priority and will be discussed with interested parties.