GO-OP is a Multistakeholder Co-operative Society (Somerset Rules), registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Acts. Registered societies are similar to companies in many ways (limited liability and legal personhood, for example) but are defined in law as mutuals - that is, they are managed democratically by their members. In a co-operative society, the purpose is self-help, and the 'user members' work  together to meet their needs.

In the case of GO-OP, members are in one of three classes: traveller members have 50% control of the business and must be users or prospective users (ie they live near a proposed route) of our public transport services; worker members are employees (or, in some cases, regular contractors or volunteers) and have 25% control; and there is also a class of non-user members that are supporters of the project and have made a significant investment in it. The non-user members can never make up more than a quarter of voting strength either at general meetings or board meetings, so as to ensure that the co-op is always under the control of its intended beneficiaries

GO-OP is not charitable, but it is non-profit in the sense that any surplus might be returned to the members in the proportions that they contributed to it (co-operative dividend), used for charitable purposes or community benefit, or reinvested in the business, but never distributed to investors. Interest paid on shares is intended to be a sufficient compensation to attract and retain investment; it is the only financial return we offer to shareholders.

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.


Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.


The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

1. Voluntary and Open Membership Co-operatives are voluntary organisations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2.Democratic Member Control Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.

3. Member Economic Participation Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.

4. Autonomy and Independence Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organisations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organisations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.

6. Co-operation among Co-operatives Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.

7. Concern for Community Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.

Go! Co-operative aims to improve access to public transport by providing open access rail services linking main lines to smaller market towns. Where feasible, we will also provide light rail or bus links or develop car pools to enable outlying communities to access these services.

Other benefits include:

·               reduced greenhouse gas emissions

·               reduced road traffic congestion

·               improved sustainability of outlying communities

·               more evenly distributed economic opportunities

·               greater mobility for non-car owners

Rail Facts (source: Transport 2000)

·               Passenger journeys on Britain’s railways exceeded one billion – the highest since 1959

·               Public transport is often the only way to travel for many groups of people such as the elderly or people on low incomes

·               Rail links in rural areas and smaller towns will not only ease social exclusion but also sustain and boost local economies

·               Train operators estimate that demand for rail travel will grow by 66% over the next 20 years

Open Access is seen as a positive solution by others too. Connecting Communities an Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) report argues that the demand for rail services has soared in the last decade. "Record passenger numbers and rising demand require us to plan for the long term, while climate change and population growth make it vital that in doing so, we adapt the rail network to meet tomorrow's needs. Providing attractive new services and easier access to the rail network will encourage passengers to switch to rail from other, less green, modes of transport.” (ATOC chief executive, Michael Roberts).

Click here to download the GO-OP Rules