Go Bus polishes its escorting skills
As the country was celebrating International Women’s Day, Go Bus was polishing its skills of driving VIPs. Our people attended the escort training organised by the Police and Border Guard Board in order to practice cooperation between different parties when escorting important visitors of the state and guaranteeing their safety.
The training was attended by the Police and Border Guard Board, the Personal Protection Office, the Guard Office, officials of the Traffic Monitoring Centre, assistant police officers, the Military Police and Go Bus.
Field Manager of the Guard Office of the PBGB Tõnu Janter said that there are different escorts. “In this case, we’re practising escorting VIPs. We remind ourselves how to drive and what to look out for in order to guarantee the safety of foreign guests and disrupt the lives of ordinary people as little as possible.”
The preparation, principles and organisation of an escort and guaranteeing security were discussed during the first day of training. The elements of ambushes on motorcades and ways of prevention of such attacks were also discussed. This knowledge was put into practice the next day when we prepared a motorcade and drove along the given route.
According to Tõnu Jenter, safety is the most important keyword in the case of a motorcade. “We practice driving smoothly, so that the guest can do everything they planned and the safety of ordinary road users is guaranteed. The programme must be prepared in such a manner that the route is properly passable,” said the Field Manager. “In order to avoid accidents, it must be indicated to ordinary road users that a motorcade is approaching, so they see it and take it into account. However, it’s also important that people driving their cards show with their actions that they have noticed the motorcade by stopping next to the right side of the road.”
Headphones are a major source or risk. “Unfortunately, many young people are wearing headphones on the streets today and therefore don’t notice what is happening around them,” explained Janter. “For some reason, people’s field of vision also gets smaller when they cannot hear what’s happening around them, and they simply step right in front of a motorcade. People will not be run over, the speed may not be high, but we do urge road users to notice their surroundings.”
Everyone received instructions at the start of the practice day. We went over the basic truths, agreed on signals, and received our maps. The motorcade gathered and headed to town, keeping the right distance between the vehicles. It felt like we weren’t practising, but doing something we’d been doing for a long time. The streets were only closed for a moment and we smoothly crossed one-way streets and crossroads when the red lights were on. Sounds and flashing light signals about the approaching motorcade were given to other road users when necessary. Safety vehicles sometimes drove out to the right to guarantee the unity and safety of the motorcade.
“Today, streets are usually closed for a very short time for a motorcade and the five to six vehicles in the motorcade are kept together to disrupt ordinary traffic as little as possible,” said a representative of the police. Streets must be closed for longer only if the top people of the world come to visit.”
Go Bus has extensive experience in providing escort transport. Our blue coaches have served royals, presidents and the Pope. All bus drivers of Go Bus have passed the relevant training. There bus drivers of Go Bus participated in this course and one of them, Tõnu Paju, has escorting experience from the time of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. “It’s important to keep the right distance between vehicles and drive smoothly,” says Tõnu Paju. “Thankfully, there haven’t been any major incidents. However, there was a situation where someone stepped in front of the motorcade. People just feel shock when it happens. You have to keep calm in these situations and drive past the person. The speed we select is such that we can react appropriately.”
We bid the motorcade farewell in front of the Office of the President of the Republic. The vehicles turned their alarm lights on and smoothly followed each other down the slope of Kadriorg to continue their practice day in the city centre.