Saturday, 16 February 2019

Lothian Buses


Routes for our new Enviro400XLB buses are revealed


Lothian Buses announcement dated February 14, 2019

We can now reveal, our new 100 seat Enviro400XLB buses will start operating on our Services 11 and 16 early next month (March). Our Service 11 operating from Ocean Terminal to Hyvots Bank and Service 16 connecting Silverknowes and Colinton. Together, these popular cross city routes carried over 10 milllion customers last year.



These buses can carry up to 129 customers each. They have been designed with a front and middle door to speed up the times spent at bus stops and have been built to even higher standards than bus users in Edinburgh have become accustomed to, with comfortable high-backed seating, Wi-Fi, USB charging, mood lighting and audio-visual stop announcements.

Richard Hall, Managing Director, said: "The city is changing and public transport operations must evolve to meet the growing needs and expectations of our customers. Core cross city routes are an important piece of our network, transporting millions of customers quickly and efficiently to their destinations every week. Services 11 and 16 are high frequency core route services, together carrying over 10 million customers across the city with high demand in the morning and afternoon peaks, as well as at weekends. By deploying these new vehicles onto these services to cope with customer demand patterns, we will be able to change how we deliver these services for the benefit of our customers and the areas in which we operate. We look forward to seeing these vehicles out and about on the streets of Edinburgh providing the next generation of public transport."


To ensure the smooth introduction of these vehicles to the streets of Edinburgh, we have an in-house project team carrying out route assessments and familiarisation training. Look out for them travelling around over the next few weeks.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Latest London Bus contract awards


The latest awards recently announced by Transport for London as follows:

 


128 (24-hour route) (Claybury Broadway & Romford) LBSL contract awarded to Stagecoach East London using existing fleet 2012 Euro-V diesel double-decks. Currently operated by Arriva London North with ADL Trident from Barking (DX) Garage (start start date 12th October 2019) 


201 (Herne Hill Station & Mitcham) LBSL contract re-awarded to Abellio London using existing fleet 2014 Euro-VI diesel single-decks (5th October 2019)



364 (Ilford & Dagenham East) LBSL contract re-awarded to Go-Ahead Blue Triangle with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks (2nd November 2019)

375 (Romford & Passingford Bridge, Mon-Sat) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London North using bus type as yet to be confirmed (6th July 2019)





407 (Sutton & Caterham Station) LBSL contract re-awarded to Abellio London using hybrid double-decks as yet to be confirmed (2nd November 2019)




627 (Worcester Park Station & Wallington High School, schooldays-only) LBSL contract re-awarded to Arriva London South using existing fleet 2009 Euro-IV diesel double-decks (2nd November 2019)

Euro-IV and V buses will be upgraded to Euro-VI emissions standards



Want more information on the full London bus scene, then why not have a look at the London Omnibus Traction Society's website at http://www.lots.org.uk/
Better still why not join and gain the benefits of the regular monthly newsletter along with other useful publications

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Leeds clean air zone approval


The owners of heavy polluting lorries, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged for entering parts of Leeds. The city council has been given government approval - and £29m - to implement a Clean Air Charging Zone.

From 6 January 2020, the operators of vehicles will face charges of up to £50 per day to enter the zone. The Road Haulage Association said the fee was a "punitive tax on the industry sector Leeds relies on".


Of the £29m, which comes from central government, £23m will go towards helping businesses adapt and get greener vehicles, while £6m will go towards creating a CCTV network to monitor number plates of vehicles entering the zone. It marks a reduction in the original amount of £40m sought by the council for the plans.


Daily charge for non-compliant vehicles
Buses/coaches - £50
HGVs - £50
Taxi and private hire vehicles - £12.50 (or £50 per week for Leeds-licensed vehicles)
Private cars, light goods vehicles (LGVs), vans, motorcycles and any other vehicle - no charge

The zone covers most of the area inside the city's outer ring road, running from Farsley in the west to Colton in the east and Moor Allerton in the north to Hunslet in the south.




The area covered by the new zone, image courtesy of OpenStreetMap and provided by the Leeds City Council

Councillor James Lewis, the council's executive board member for resources and sustainability, said the authority had not got the full funding it asked for but financial support was available for the owners of affected vehicles. He added: "Leeds City Council will not make money from these charges."

The authority has previously said Leeds has 500 taxis and more than 4,000 private hire vehicles, with 86% diesel, 6% petrol and the remainder electric hybrid and gas/bio-fuel.



Wednesday, 13 February 2019

East Midlands Trains Franchise

Stagecoach Group plc has confirmed that its subsidiary, East Midlands Trains Limited, has agreed a new short-term rail franchise with the Department for Transport ("DfT").   The new franchise will commence on 3 March 2019 and run until at least 18 August 2019.  The DfT has the discretion to extend the franchise by up to 24 weeks on terms that have been agreed.


Under the new agreement, customers and communities will continue to benefit from a range of improvements, including:

•    Supporting the delivery of the £1.5bn Midland Main Line upgrade to improve capacity and reduce journey times.
•    Continuation of the investment programme to improve stations and trains, which includes accessibility improvements at stations and on trains.
•    Roll out of smart ticketing in March 2019 as part of the wider programme on National Rail.

In addition, East Midlands Trains will be focused on ensuring readiness for the new franchise, including helping to put in place plans for extra seats from 2020.



Under the terms of the new contract, revenue risk will sit primarily with the DfT.  East Midlands Trains expects to earn a modest profit under the contract and a profit sharing arrangement with the DfT will apply.

East Midlands Trains remains the UK's most punctual long distance railway, a position it has held for the last ten years. Last year saw East Midlands Trains work with Network Rail to successfully deliver a £200m re-signalling and upgrade project at Derby. Over the last 11 years, customers have benefited from millions of pounds of investment to improve services, whilst taxpayers have benefited from substantial premium payments to Government.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Bus route cuts in North East Scotland


Bus services across Aberdeenshire to be scrapped in effort to save council funds

Bus services across the north-east will be scrapped in an effort to help Aberdeenshire Council save money. The authority has identified 27 routes that will now be withdrawn – to the dismay of many community groups and leaders. Alterations will affect Fraserburgh in the north to Laurencekirk in the south and will be felt as far afield as Braemar.

There are even fears the cuts will prevent people from enjoying the Deeside village’s increasingly vibrant visitor offering. The council has cited “budget pressures” as the driving factor behind its decision to slash services that have been assessed as under-utilised. Money available for council-supported bus services is expected to be reduced by around £560,000 when the authority sets its budget later this month. To stay within budget for 2019/20, the council’s transportation service is reducing those bus routes it deems provide the least value for money.
 


It has admitted the changes – which will come into effect from Monday April 15 – will have a “detrimental impact” upon passengers but has also warned further tough decisions are ahead. Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter. Among the communities affected will be Braemar, which will lose its last Sunday bus service connecting the town to Aberdeen. Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett expressed her disappointment and pledged she will fight the cuts. She said: “We’ve got the newly opened Fife Arms and there’s the new Highland Games centre. There’s so much going on in Braemar right now, yet people will no longer be able to hop on a bus and come out and see it. It’s going to be very detrimental for the people of Braemar and indeed the people of Aberdeenshire and I’ll be speaking out against this on behalf of the community.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Transportation, Ewan Wallace, said: “We have tried to minimise the potential negative impacts for individuals and communities where possible, but would encourage anyone who feels they would be unduly affected to get in touch. We realise this may have a detrimental effect on passengers, but the council and communities will continue to have difficult decisions to make on the provision of local services into the future.”

Another community affected is Peterhead, which will lose services to Fraserburgh, Mintlaw and Boddam.




The changes will come into force from the 15th of April.

The full list of the changes is detailed below:


Service 26 Luthermuir/ Laurencekirk – Stonehaven – Saturday services cut. There are no alternatives between Laurencekirk and Stonehaven by bus, but there are rail links.
Service 51 Fraserburgh – New Pitsligo – Ellon – Saturday services cut. Alternative routes to and from Fraserburgh (Stagecoach 270) or to/from Ellon via Mintlaw (central Buchan A2B Dial-A-Bus)
Service 66/66a Stuartfield – Peterhead – 2245 bus from Mintlaw to Peterhead and 2320 from Peterhead to Stuartfield, both on Saturdays, are both cut. The last bus from Peterhead now leaves at 2220 and stops in Mintlaw.
Service 68 Mintlaw – Fraserburgh – 0721 bus cut. There are no alternative services.
Service 67/68 Aberdeen – Fraserburgh – 1910 and 2010 services from Fraserburgh to Aberdeen between Monday and Friday replaced by one departure at 1940. 2105 and 2205 from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh during the week replaced by one at 2135.
Service 69 St Combs – Fraserburgh – Monday to Friday services after 1830 withdrawn, with no alternatives.
Service 69B Peterhead – St Fergus – Fraserburgh – 0645 Saturday service between Fraserburgh and Peterhead withdrawn, with no alternatives.
Service 74 Rosehearty – Fraserburgh – Services after 1900 on weekdays withdrawn.
Service 76/77 Fraserburgh Town Service – 1805, 1835 and 2115 Saturday services from Broad Street withdrawn.
Service 81 Peterhead – Boddam – 0518 from Peterhead to Boddam and 0530 Boddam to Peterhead withdrawn.
Service 82A Peterhead – Meethill – Boddam – 0730 Saturday service from Peterhead to Boddam and 0747 from Boddam to Peterhead on the same day withdrawn.
Service 84 Peterhead Town Service – 1853 Monday to Friday and 1850 on Saturday, both from Chapel Street withdrawn.
Service 201 Aberdeen – Aboyne – 2115 Sunday service between Aberdeen and Aboyne will terminate in Banchory. Nearest alternative to Aboyne leaves Aberdeen at 2245.
Service 201 Aboyne – Torphins – 2117 Friday service between Aboyne and Torphins withdrawn. Nearest alternative departs at 2028.
Service 201 Aberdeen – Braemar – 0745 Sunday service between Aberdeen and Braemar withdrawn; 0945, 1345 and 1815 Sunday service from Aberdeen to Braemar will terminate in Ballater; 2245 Sunday route between Aberdeen and Ballater to terminate in Banchory; 1025, 1225, 1825 and 2035 between Braemar and Aberdeen on Sunday will commence from Ballater.
Service 204 Strachan – Banchory – Aberdeen – 0715 from Strachan to Aberdeen between Monday and Friday withdrawn.
Service 218 Alford – Westhill/ Aberdeen – 1812 Alford to Elrick and 1906 Elrick to Alford, both Monday to Friday, withdrawn.
Service 231 Alford – Huntly – Monday to Friday service, comprising 4 return journeys, withdrawn; Schoolday return journey departing Alford at 0750 hrs and returning from Huntly at 1552 hrs is unaffected. Reduced inter-peak service to be provided by an A2B dial-a-bus service. 1355 hrs from Alford to Huntly (Saturday) and 1452 hrs from Huntly to Alford (Saturday) withdrawn. There is still a return journey on Saturdays, departing Alford at 0955 hrs and returning from Huntly at 1152 hrs.
Service 253 Turriff – Mintlaw – Fraserburgh – 903 hrs from Turriff to Fraserburgh (Tue & Fri) and 1320 hrs from Fraserburgh to Turriff (Tue & Fri) withdrawn; Alternative services available, for all intermediate settlements affected, to their nearest market towns.
Service 272 Banff to Fraserburgh – 0720 hrs from Fraserburgh to Banff (Mon – Fri) and 1705 hrs from Banff to Fraserburgh (Monday to Friday) withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 273 Banff – Gardenstown/ Fraserburgh – Saturday service, comprising 4 return journeys, withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 292 Tarves – Ellon – 0812 hrs from Tarves to Ellon (Mon – Fri) and 1708 hrs from Ellon to Tarves (Mon to Fri) withdrawn; No alternatives.
Service 301 Macduff – Aberchirder – Huntly – Saturday service, comprising 2 return journeys, withdrawn; Aberchirder has an alternative Saturday service to/from Turriff and Inverurie (Service 308).
Service 308 Aberchirder/ Turriff/ Rothienorman – Inverurie – 1114 hrs from Aberchirder to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1310 hrs from Turriff to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1011 hrs from Inverurie to Aberchirder (Mon – Fri) and 1357 hrs from Inverurie to Rothienorman (Mon – Fri) withdrawn. Remainder of Monday to Friday service plus Saturday service unaffected.
Service 402 Kingseat – Hatton of Fintry – Inverurie – 0915 hrs from Kingseat to Inverurie (Thursday) and 1215 hrs from Inverurie to Kingseat (Thursday) withdrawn; The Tuesday return journey from Kingseat and Inverurie via Newmachar and Kinmuck is unaffected; A weekly A2B dial-a-bus service has recently been introduced between Hatton of Fintray and Inverurie.
Service 417 Lumsden – Insch – 0915 hrs from Kingseat to Inverurie (Thursday) and 1215 hrs from Inverurie to Kingseat (Thursday) withdrawn; The Tuesday return journey from Kingseat and Inverurie via Newmachar and Kinmuck is unaffected; A weekly A2B dial-a-bus service has recently been introduced between Hatton of Fintray and Inverurie.
Service 421 Alford/ Kemnay – Inverurie – 1820 hrs from Alford to Inverurie (Mon – Fri), 1905 hrs from Inverurie to Alford (Mon – Fri), 1845 hrs from Alford to Inverurie (Saturday), 2127 hrs from Inverurie to Kemnay (Saturday), and Sunday service, comprising 3 return journeys, withdrawn; Alternative evening and Sunday services to/from Aberdeen only.
Service 777 Oldmeldrum – Westhill – Dyce – 0640 hrs from Oldmeldrum to Dyce (Mon – Fri) and 1640 hrs from Dyce to Oldmeldrum (Mon – Fri) withdrawn; Alternatives available for the vast majority of passenger journeys currently being undertaken, albeit requiring interchange in some cases.
A2B Dial-A-Bus Insch – Monday to Thursday inter-peak flexible service withdrawn. Insch has alternative Services 41 and 416 to/from Inverurie, 41A to/from Huntly, and 10C to/from Aberdeen. Friday A2B service is continuing.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Cuts to bus routes


Thousands of bus routes 'at risk' of being scrapped, warn councils






Thousands of bus routes in England are under threat because councils have said they cannot afford to pay for them. They blamed an "unsustainable" funding gap of £652m in the free bus pass scheme, which local authorities have been forced to fill. Councils subsidise 44% of English bus routes but they warned that, without more funding, these could be cut.

The government said it provides £250m a year to support bus routes and £1bn for free bus passes. Councils are required by law to reimburse bus operators for carrying passengers who hold a free off-peak bus pass, such as the over-65s and disabled people.



The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils, said that the gap between government funding for the free bus pass scheme and the actual costs has soared from £200m in 2016 to £652m in 2017/18. That increasingly means they have less money to spend on supporting rural bus services, as well as other optional forms of subsidy such as free peak-time travel for pass holders, post-16 school transport or support for young people's travel.

The LGA is calling for the government to return to fully funding the costs of the free bus pass scheme in the Spending Review this year.

Councillor Martin Tett, the LGA's transport spokesman, said: "Properly funding the national free bus pass scheme is essential if the government wants councils to be able to maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and protect vital routes. If this is not addressed in the Spending Review it could lead to older people having a free bus pass but no bus to travel on."




The LGA said more than 3,000 routes have already been withdrawn, altered or reduced since 2010/11.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "It is for councils to decide which bus operations to support in their areas, but we help to subsidise costs through around £250m worth of investment every year." She said that £42m of this sum goes to local authorities and an additional £1bn is used to fund free bus passes.


Saturday, 9 February 2019

Nottingham City Transport


World’s Largest Bio-Gas Double Deck Fleet will More than Double in Size Following OLEV Funding Announcement

Nottingham City Transport’s fleet of 53 bio-gas double deck buses will more than double in size this year, as a further 67 join the City Operator of the Year’s fleet. NCT has been successful in securing a further £1.12m from OLEV (Office of Low Emission Vehicles), which will be used to expand its bio-methane refuelling station at its main bus depot.

The announcement was made on the 6th February at the UK Bus Summit by Buses Minister Nusrat Ghani, who commented: “This government is doing more than ever before to reduce emissions across all modes of transport and I’m delighted to see the bus industry putting itself at the forefront of this.”



Expanding the bio-gas refuelling station is necessary for NCT to be able to fuel more gas buses and this funding announcement paves the way for NCT to confirm its order for 67 more bio-gas double decks, representing a total investment by NCT of £20m. The first of the 67 buses will enter service on Brown Line 17 to Hucknall Road, City Hospital and Bulwell in April, with further routes announced and launched throughout the remainder of the year. It is expected all 120 bio-gas buses will be running by November. The introduction of further bio-gas double decks allows NCT to withdraw its oldest buses (pre-2010), with Pink Line 28 to Bilborough set to receive these new buses in the summer.


Gary Mason, NCT Engineering Director said, “With 53 Bio-Gas double deck buses already successfully operating in Nottingham and making a significant impact on reducing emissions in the city, this announcement for funding to expand our gas refuelling station paves the way for investment by NCT in a further 67 Bio-Gas double decks to join the fleet this year. This fleet of 120 Bio-Gas double decks, coupled with the retrofitting of exhaust treatment systems to our diesel buses, demonstrates NCTs support for cleaning up Nottingham’s air, contributing to Nottingham City Council’s overall clean air strategy.”

Bio-gas double decks are the greenest buses on the road, with well-to-wheel emissions that are 84% lower than an equivalent new diesel double deck. With 120, more than half the NCT double deck fleet will be fuelled by bio-gas by the end of the year.







Alongside this significant investment by NCT in new buses, the company is also fitting exhaust treatment systems to its existing younger diesel buses, following funding secured by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council last year. This will see all NCT buses meet the most stringent Euro VI emissions standards across its fleet within a year, supporting Nottingham City Council’s clean air strategy.

Dave Liversidge Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport said, “It’s great news that NCT will be able to double the size of their biogas fuelling station, which means we’ll soon be seeing even more clean, green biogas buses on our streets. Great public transport is so important - not just to help people move around the city, but also to improve the quality of the air we all breathe. Biogas buses have already played a vital part in reducing air pollution in the city, and expanding the fuelling station will enable NCT to operate one of the cleanest bus fleets in the country. We’re pleased to have supported them in this bid as Nottingham continues to lead the way in improving air quality.”




Friday, 8 February 2019

RMT suspends Northern strike action

RMT suspends Northern strike action after major ACAS talks breakthrough ends two years of deadlock


RAIL UNION RMT said today that substantial progress in talks through the offices of ACAS has allowed the union’s executive to suspend the on-going programme of strike action on Northern Rail over the retention and the role of the guard on their trains.




Through the talks process the company have now offered a guarantee of a conductor on all trains, including the new fleet, for the duration of the current franchise. The guarantee is supported by the Department for Transport. Further talks, involving all stakeholders, will now seek further agreement on operational models moving forwards.



Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ultra-low emission bus scheme: successful bidders

Department for Transport


Winners of the 2018 ultra-low emission bus scheme competition which provided funding for buses and infrastructure to local authorities and bus operators. List of the winning local authorities and bus operators for the 2018 ultra-low emission bus scheme competition. The winning bids will provide funding for Buses and bus related infrastructure

The competition ran from March to June 2018 and applicants could apply for up to 3 financial years of funding.

This competition expanded the requirements for the low emission bus scheme of 2016.



 Hydrogen powered bus in London showing the tanks situated on the roof

Published 6 February 2019

Bidder Type of technology Number of buses Funding for buses Funding for infrastructure Total amount funded
Birmingham Airport Electric 6 £711,000.00 £664,500.00 £1,375,500.00
Brighton and Hove Buses Hydrogen 20 £3,610,435.00 £750,000.00 £4,360,435.00
Cardiff City Council Electric 36 £5,356,000.00 £341,000.00 £5,697,000.00
City of Wolverhampton Electric 1 £128,000.00 £15,000.00 £143,000.00
Coventry City Council Electric 10 £1,556,375.00 £698,625.00 £2,255,000.00
First Bus Manchester Electric 12 £1,647,000.00 £375,000.00 £2,022,000.00
First West Yorkshire Electric 9 £1,275,747.00 £494,725.50 £1,770,472.50
Go North East Electric 9 £1,210,005.00 £450,000.00 £1,660,005.00
Greater Manchester Combined Authority Electric 23 £3,543,750.00 £1,889,360.00 £5,433,110.00
Manchester Community Transport Electric 3 £402,900.00 £60,000.00 £462,900.00
Newport Transport Electric 1 £210,864.00 £786,795.00 £997,659.00
Nottingham City Transport Infrastructure only bid (biomethane) Infrastructure only bid £0.00 £1,129,125.00 £1,129,125.00

Nottinghamshire County Council
Electric 4 £608,000.00 £300,000.00 £908,000.00
Stagecoach Manchester Electric 32 £5,411,200.00 £1,523,732.00 £6,934,932.00
Stagecoach South Wales Electric 16 £1,941,835.00 £900,000.00 £2,841,835.00
The Big Lemon Electric 5 £560,167.00 £0.00 £560,167.00
Transport for London Electric 63 £3,456,000.00 £3,500,000.00 £6,956,000.00
Trent Barton Electric 8 £1,512,000.00 £363,859.00 £1,875,859.00
West Yorkshire Combined Authority Electric 5 £393,000.00 £224,000.00 £617,000.00


 Diesel-Electric powered Optare Versa currently on the Manchester City Centre Shuttle service
Fully electric BYD/ADL single-deck operated by Nottingham Community Transport on the Centrelink service

A full electric BYD/ADL Enviro200 recently on trial with Trentbarton


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

EARLY WARNING DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday 17th August - Salisbury Plain





In 2009, a group of bus industry professionals achieved a long standing ambition to run a vintage bus service from Warminster in Wiltshire, to the abandoned village of Imber on the Salisbury Plain. It proved to be so popular that it has now become an annual event, with most journeys continuing across the Plain to parts of Wiltshire rarely seen by ordinary public transport users.




There are only a few days each year on which the road through Imber is open to the public and so this year we are aiming to operate the Imberbus service on Saturday 17th August 2019  with several London Transport Routemaster buses (plus a few newer ones) providing a bus service from Warminster Station to Imber and to other isolated locations on the Salisbury Plain. As the buses will be operating an ordinary bus service, there is no need for passengers to book in advance – just turn up and pay the conductor on the bus.




We will be providing more information about this year’s service on this website during the summer.
In the meantime if you want to see what arrangements applied to our 2018 event please click here to visit the Imberbus 2018 page.



NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE:



Just before Christmas 2018 Paul Gooderson took a trip down the River Danube and along the way stopped off in several countries. A trio of small albums have now been placed on the Flickr site from Austria (Vienna), Hungary (Budapest) and Slovakia (Bratislava), and feature some of the transportation at those locations. These can now be viewed by clicking here  here and here

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

First Group assets sale


Transport giant FirstGroup is allegedly selling one of its biggest regional bus divisions in a bid to stem mounting losses. The Manchester operations, once worth about £100m in annual turnover, are to be sold in a cut-price deal, The Telegraph understands. Hundreds of buses across three depots in Bury, Oldham and Bolton, will be sold to rival operators.





Industry sources indicated FirstGroup may sell up in the north west for as little £20m. Each of the sites will be sold to separate bus companies, they added. Recent analysis suggests Manchester, FirstGroup’s fourth-biggest regional bus network by revenue, has veered sharply into the red and is now its worst performing UK network. It made about £3.5m of operating profit on £101m of turnover in 2012/13. However, by 2017/18 it had racked up £5.8m of operating losses on revenues of £86m, trade publication Passenger Transport reported.

The bus fire sale comes as FirstGroup remains under pressure from investors to dispose of assets. Some investors believe its student and urban bus operations in North America alone were worth more than its current stock market value of £1.2bn.

Meanwhile, questions continue to be asked over FirstGroup’s commitment to UK rail with Great Western, South Western and Transpennine ­Express franchises all continuing to struggle. However, FirstGroup says it is hamstrung from bowing completely to shareholders' wishes because of a £200m pension hole.

“We can’t ignore some of the structural issues, particularly around pensions, in our UK defined benefit scheme,” chief executive Matthew Gregory said last year.



British bus operations generated the biggest percentage profit margins in the company’s most recent half-year results in November.

A FirstGroup spokesman said: "We don’t comment on market rumours or speculation. We keep all bus services, depots and the business portfolio under constant review so we can be responsive to changes in market conditions.”


The Telegraph's report can be found by clicking  here

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Tram-train Proposals for Manchester

A shared commitment to expanding the Greater Manchester tram network through tram-train services, enabling faster, more reliable journeys across the network and cutting congestion, was welcomed by the Transport Secretary and Greater Manchester Mayor on 25 January 2019.


Chris Grayling announced that the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) are working to explore a range of proposals for expansion.
He did this on a visit to the new Wharfside Metrolink stop – part of the £350 million Trafford Park Line extension supported by government through the Greater Manchester Devolution Deal. 
The proposals could include an innovative tram-train system in Greater Manchester and underlines a shared agreement on the opportunity for greater local control of transport services. Proposals will be brought forward by TfGM before the summer.


Both the Transport Secretary and the Mayor will also agree on the need for a positive, collaborative approach to help unlock the potential of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail,  
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
Metrolink has been transformative for Greater Manchester and I want to see the network expand.
A Greater Manchester tram-train also has the potential to seamlessly integrate our existing rail and tram tracks and services. We will work closely to explore proposals which would see Transport for Greater Manchester running more services, underlining our belief in greater local control.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said:
Greater Manchester is a growing city-region, but our transport network and infrastructure is holding us back. The people of Greater Manchester deserve a transport system that works for us both now and in the future.
Greater Manchester leaders recently shared our vision for the future of the city-region including our plan for jobs, homes and growth. Bringing innovative tram-train to Greater Manchester with greater local control and better integration of our transport system is a key part of this vision and I’m pleased that the government supports this ambition.
I also welcome the government’s commitment to working together to deliver bus reform and secure the best possible outcomes for Greater Manchester and the north from both Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed 2.
Using existing rail and tram infrastructure, a Greater Manchester tram-train system could increase rail capacity, reduce congestion, improve air quality and deliver more seamless, frequent journeys for passengers across the city-region.
Focus Comment
Manchester Mayor Mr Burnham says "our transport network and infrastructure is holding us back"
As usual he avoids proposals as to how Manchester deals with traffic congestion due to lack of controls on private cars.
Congestion has negatively impacted on bus punctuality, costs and fares, while also damaging public confidence in buses. Additionally, more than a third of vehicles entering the city are diesel cars, contributing to the growing air quality crisis.
He clings to the hope that he can grasp control of the buses based on the broken model of bus franchising which is anything but successful and would see taxpayers become responsible for the full cost of the bus network instead of the current system where the majority of costs are covered by bus operators.. The London system that he has quoted so many times to support his case is well and truly broken. Bus use in London has fallen 6% in the past three years, Transport for London is facing a £700m deficit and many bus services are having to be cut.

Tram-train will be good for Manchester, alongside the existing tram network and in partnership with local bus companies who are willing to invest in a modern, clean fleet of reliable buses. 

Manchester bus operators have recently launched an impressive ground-breaking £100m partnership blueprint which amongst many things, contains an action plan for Manchester and other agencies to tackle congestion hotspots, speed up journeys and cut gridlock
Presumably Mr Burnham would like to ignore the proposals in the hope that he can grab control of the buses. Is this more to do with power and control rather than the best interests of the people of Manchester?
Full details of the Bus Partnership Blueprint here



NOW SEE THE LATEST ON THE NEW FOCUS FLICKR SITE:


 


The latest album focuses attention once again on that colourful period London, when the various companies could operate their buses in their own livery. This can now be viewed by clicking  here

Friday, 1 February 2019

Lothian Motorcoaches and Musselburgh Racecourse Partnership


Lothian Motorcoaches has announced a new partnership with Musselburgh Racecourse to operate free shuttle services for racegoers across 26 race meets including this weekend’s bet365 Scottish Cheltenham Trials.





Operating from Newcraighall and Wallyford train stations direct to the racecourse, the complimentary double deck vehicles featuring free Wi-Fi will provide a comfortable, clean and customer focussed service for the thousands of customers visiting the venue across 2019.





Willie Hamilton, Coaching and Touring Manager, Lothian Motorcoaches said: “Our team are fully committed to delivering high standards of service for each and every one of our customers and our partners. In the last seven months we have evolved our customer offering, invested heavily in our fleet and built key relationships with businesses across Edinburgh, the Lothians and beyond.


“Musselburgh Racecourse is a VisitScotland 5 star venue and we are delighted to be able to work in partnership with them to provide their complimentary shuttle services for the thousands of racegoers travelling to the track.”


Philip Duncan, Operations Manager, Musselburgh Racecourse said: “We strive to make the visitor experience at Musselburgh as enjoyable as possible and what better way to start a day at the races than being transported from local railway stations in comfort?


“Working in partnership with Lothian Motorcoaches, we are adding value for racegoers who will enjoy a quick, efficient and free transfer to and from Musselburgh.”


Lothian Motorcoaches 
launched in June 2018, is a subsidiary of Lothian, to provide bespoke Day Trips across Scotland, as well as private hire services specialising in high-end corporate hire, events and weddings.




Initially they launched with five new 14-metre tri-axle Plaxton Panther 3’s, liveried in charcoal grey. The bespoke coaches have 61 seats in a charcoal version of Lothian’s unique moquette.

They also have three fully refurbished Van Hool Acrons in the same livery and specification, and for shorter transfers such as the Musselburgh contract, ten Wrights Gemini double-deck buses which have been brought up to coach specification, including a refit with high-back, seats with seatbelts.