Friday, 15 December 2017

Latest London Bus Contract awards

The latest awards have recently been announced by Transport for London as follows

105(24-hours) (Heathrow Airport Central & Greenford Station) New LBSL contract awarded to London United with new Euro-VI hybrid double-decks. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with VW-class Volvo B9TL double-decks from West Perivale (PA) Garage (Contract start date 30th June 2018)

216   (Kingston & Staines) Renewal of LBSL contract with new Euro-VI diesel double-decks (30th June 2018)

288   (Broadfields & Queensbury) New LBSL contract awarded to London Sovereign with new Euro-VI single-decks type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Arriva London with ADL, DAF and Dennis Dart single-decks from Garston (GR) Garage (1st September 2018)

303   (Edgware Station & Kingsbury) New LBSL contract awarded to London Sovereign with new Euro-VI single-decks type yet to be confirmed. Currently operated by Arriva London with ADL, DAF and Dennis Dart single-decks from Garston (GR) Garage (1st September 2018)

H12  (South Harrow Station & Stanmore Station) LBSL contract awarded to London Sovereign with double-decks type to be confirmed. Currently operated by Metroline Travel with Volvo B7TL double-decks from Harrow Weald (HD) Garage (1st September 2018)

H14  (Hatch End & Northwick Park Hospital) Renewal of LBSL contract to London Sovereign with double-decks type to be confirmed. (1st September 2018)

H17  (Harrow & Wembley) Renewal of LBSL contract to London Sovereign using existing fleet 2011 Euro-V diesel single-decks (1st September 2018)

H18/H19 (Harrow & Kenton circulars) New LBSL contract awarded to London Sovereign with new Euro-VI single-decks type yet to be confirmed (1st September 2018)

K2    (Kingston & Hook) Renewal of LBSL contract to London United with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks (30th June 2018)

K3    (Roehampton Vale & Esher) New LBSL contract awrded to London United with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks. Currently operated by Abellio West London with ADL E20D single-decks from Fulwell (TF) Garage (30th June 2018)

K4    (Kingston Hospital & Mansfield Park Estate, Mon-Fri) Renewal of LBSL contract to London United with new Euro-VI diesel single-decks (30th June 2018)

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

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Bombardier Signs West Midlands Trains Contract Worth Over Half a BILLION

Derby’s Bombardier has signed a contract worth over half a billion pounds to build and maintain hundreds of train carriages for West Midlands Trains.
Back in October, the Litchurch Lane firm was announced as the preferred bidder to build 333 electric carriages for the rail franchise, operated by a consortium made up of Dutch national operator Abellio, the East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui and Co.
Now, Bombardier has put pen to paper, signing a deal to supply and maintain the trains with West Midlands Trains and Corelink Rail Infrastructure, the latter of which is a joint venture between Deutsche Asset Management and Infracapital.

The deal also includes a maintenance and support services contract - and the overall value of the deal is £542 million.
The maintenance contract will run for the duration of the franchise, which started on December 10, with an option to extend in line with any franchise extensions.
The train that Bombardier will be supplying is the Aventra, which has been designed and developed in Derby.
The Aventra has so far proven extremely popular with customers. Bombardier is supplying the Aventra to Transport for London’s Elizabeth Line (formerly Crossrail), London Overground and the South Western Railway and Greater Anglia franchises.
For West Midlands Trains, Litchurch Lane factory will supply 36 90mph three-carriage trains for metro services and 45 110mph five-carriage trains for outer suburban and long distance configurations.
The new trains are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2022.
Richard Hunter, UK managing director at Bombardier Transportation, said: “Our modern Aventra trains will be built in the Midlands for the Midlands, and will transform the travel experience for passengers on the new West Midlands Trains franchise by delivering more reliability, shorter journey times, and an exceptional travel experience through enhanced interior design.
“This important contract win again demonstrates Bombardier is the first choice when it comes to delivering high quality, integrated transportation products and services, and value-adding long-term solutions for our customers.
“It’s another huge endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture in the UK.”
Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: “This is all part of the £1 billion investment we’re bringing to the West Midlands franchise.
“Customers will enjoy new trains and upgraded stations, along with a whole host of other benefits.
“At Abellio we’re committed to supporting the communities in which we operate as much as possible and getting these trains produced in the Midlands is a key part of this.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century.
“West Midlands passengers will see longer, more frequent trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service for passengers.
“This is part of a huge investment happening up and down the country and will make a real difference to passengers.
“This investment reflects our commitment, and that of train operators, to put passengers at the heart of everything we do.”

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Biogas Enviro 400 Trialling on Cambridge Busway

Stagecoach East is testing Britain’s first biogas-powered double-decker bus on the Guided Busway A and B services between Huntingdon and Cambridge.
The six-week trial of a ‘greener’ Enviro 400 Scania double-decker is taking place and, last week, the bus company showcased the benefits of running such a bus in real-life service to key stakeholders, local MPs and city council members.

The Scania model – which has been specifically developed for the UK bus market - offers a number of advantages which complement Stagecoach East’s environmental goals of improving air quality in Cambridge, and its commitment to sustainable transport and renewable fuels.

The advantages are as follows:
  • Using biogas reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 84 per cent.
  • Travelling in a biogas bus is 50 times cleaner than travelling by car. An average car journey emits 120g of CO2per km while the equivalent journey using a biogas bus only emits around 2.4g per km.
  • Biogas is created from waste products such as household food waste, farm waste and sewage – making it a natural and renewable fuel to produce.
  • Biogas-powered buses additionally help the environment by using products otherwise destined for landfill – reducing the amount of potent greenhouse gases (methane) which would have occurred and been released into the atmosphere if the waste products had been left to decompose naturally.
Stagecoach East is committed to delivering greener, smarter travel where it can, and is already making a significant contribution towards reducing its carbon footprint. A specially blended 30 per cent bio-fuel is already used across the entire Stagecoach East fleet – and, at the start of the year, the company invested £4.7million in a fleet of 22 ‘greener’ Park & Ride buses, all fitted with the very latest stop-start technology to prevent them ‘ticking over’ at bus stops.
Andy Campbell, Managing Director of Stagecoach East said: “The technology around biogas-powered buses is still very new, but trials of bio-methane gas have proved very encouraging, resulting in minimal emissions.
“Looking after the environment is an important consideration for us. We have frequent bus services running every 10 minutes, and so we are actively working at reducing our environmental impact wherever possible.
“By continually striving to improve the fleet, we aim to deliver the highest, as well as the greenest, standards of public transport in our city, both now and in the future.”
Tanya Neech, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Fuels at Scania, added: “The biogas double-decker bus has been independently tested and is accredited under the Low Emission Bus Scheme. Of the 19 models approved through the scheme, ours is the greenest bus available with a Well to Wheel (WTW) CO2 saving of 84 per cent.”

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

New Scarborough TransPennine Depot

TransPennine Express (TPE) is set to invest £7m into a new train servicing depot in Scarborough.
The facility, which is expected to open in summer 2018, will provide light maintenance services for trains between Scarborough and Liverpool Lime Street, and will create around 15 jobs.
It will maintain the 13 new, five carriage trains being introduced by the train operator, which will operate between Scarborough, York, LeedsHuddersfield, Manchester and Liverpool from late next year.
Along with planned timetable enhancements, including new early morning departures and more services later in the day, the new, longer trains will mean an additional 700,000 seats per year for those travelling to and from Scarborough.
The investment will include enhancements made to the track itself, with a mile of brand new track being laid.
New TPE trains are under construction, there will be
 13 five carriage Mark 5A Coaches – built by CAF in Spain
12 five carriage Class 397 electric trains – built by also by CAF
19 five carriage Class 802 bi-mode trains – built by Hitachi Rail Europe in County Durham, England

Nick Sworowski, TPE’s depots and infrastructure project manager explained that the operator is pleased to bring jobs to the area through the long-term investment.
He said: “We considered a number of sites across the wider Yorkshire area and Scarborough provides a geographically strategic site for this essential maintenance work.”
Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for Rail for North Yorkshire, welcomed the investment, adding: “Through our membership of Rail North, North Yorkshire County Council has been encouraging the rail industry and train operators to invest in the County’s rail infrastructure, to improve station facilities and to enhance the travelling experience for our residents.”
Chair of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership’s Infrastructure Board, David Dickson, commented: “The new jobs and investment in the depot at Scarborough are a very welcome addition to the significant upgrades that TransPennine Express is making to the capacity and quality of trains connecting Scarborough to York, Leeds and beyond.”
Councillor Joe Plant, portfolio holder for strategic planning and transformation on Scarborough Borough Council also welcomed the investment, explaining: “It will deliver skilled jobs into Scarborough and, along with new modern state of the art trains and improved timetabling, will make a significant improvement to connectivity to and from Scarborough for residents, visitors and business users.”
Construction is expected to begin in the New Year, and TransPennine Express has said that local suppliers will be used where possible.
All track works are planned for completion between January and April 2017, outside of the core charter train season.

Monday, 11 December 2017

London Northwestern brand being brought back to the UK Rail Network

With the start of the new UK rail timetable on 10th December Abellio, JR East and Mitsui have replaced London Midland’s west coast services with the London Northwestern franchise.
London Northwestern is designed to reflect the increasing economic power and growth of the north western corridor – whilst placing the west midlands at its heart.
The new brand presents a contemporary take on the original heritage of the line, representing a credible alternative to existing operators, with a company parentage that includes international railway operators of Holland and Japan.
All remaining London Midland services, operating in and around Birmingham, will be rebranded to West Midlands Railway. This brand was announced last year, after being created by the West Midlands Combined Authority to better serve its local customer base.
London Northwestern and West Midlands Railway will offer two fresh brands, the business units will have a shared management board, while being closely aligned to their regional and route specific service requirements.
The introduction of two new, separate, railway brands is to enable potential devolution of the west midlands routes to the West Midlands Combined Authority. London Northwestern would remain under the remit of the Department for Transport for future retender.
The current changes are a part of the near £1bn of investment into the network over the next nine years by Abellio, JR East and Mitsui. This includes £680m on new trains, produced by Bombardier and CAF and £70m on new depots.
Dominic Booth, Managing Director of Abellio UK said:
We are delighted to bring the London Northwestern brand to a whole new generation of passengers, and it seems apt during a time of record investment into the railways.
“This is all part of the £1bn of improvements we are delivering to the network over the coming years.”

Sunday, 10 December 2017

London’s best and worst boroughs for bus crime

Westminster has topped the list as the worst London borough for bus crime, figures have revealed.
New analysis of stats found the number of sexual offences reported on the capital’s buses rocketed this year, despite overall crime on London buses dropping by nearly seven per cent.
After Westminster, the boroughs of Hackney and Camden recorded the most crime on buses followed by Haringey, Lambeth and Islington.

The safest borough for bus crime was leafy Richmond, followed by Kingston, Sutton and Harrow.

Revealed: the best and worst boroughs for bus crime in London. (Locksmith Service)
The data, which covered all 32 London boroughs except the City of London, comes from the Office for National Statistics and Transport for London and was analysed by website Locksmith Service.
It revealed the total number of crimes committed on buses between January and June this year was 7,957, down by 6.9 per cent from 8,545 crimes in the same period last year.
The most common crime was theft, which accounted for nearly half of all offences committed on the capital’s buses.

The most common crimes on London buses

Theft and handling (3,334) - down 9.5%
Violence against the person (3,034) – down 4.5%
Criminal damage (514) – down 12.4%
Robbery (492) – down 1.4%
Sexual offences (423) – up 9.6%
Other notifiable offences (160) – down 23.8%
A close second was violent offences, with 3,034 such offences committed.
Despite most crimes dropping, the number of sexual offences committed on the buses rocketed by nearly 10 per cent, the data showed.
Ealing, which was rated eighth for highest number of bus crimes in 2016, appears to have been safer in 2017, dropping out of the top 10 list.
Lambeth, which was second worst for bus crime last year, also recorded fewer crimes in 2017, dropping to fifth place.
Steve Burton, TfL’s director of enforcement and on-street operation, highlighted the fact crime on the bus network is falling.
He said: “Our top priority is the safety and security of passengers who make around 15 million journeys on our services each day. The transport network is a safe, low crime environment with very few people ever experiencing or witnessing crime.”
“In contrast to national trends, crime on the bus network is falling, but we will continue to work closely with the police to ensure that offenders are dealt with robustly and that our staff and Metropolitan Police Officers are on hand to help customers who need assistance.
“This includes continuing work on our important ‘Report It to Stop It’ campaign, which is encouraging victims of sexual offences to come forward and report crimes.”

Saturday, 9 December 2017

TfL Search for Supplier of New DLR Trains

Transport for London (TfL) has taken a significant step in its search for a manufacturer to design and build a new generation of trains for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), by issuing an Invitation to Negotiate.

Four pre-qualified bidders - Alstom Transport UK Ltd, Bombardier Transportation, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A. and a consortium, consisting of Siemens PLC, Stadler Bussang AG and Stadler Rail Valencia SAU - can now proceed to the next stage of the formal procurement process for the new trains, which will come into service from 2022.
The new trains are part of TfL's continued multi-billion pound programme of major investment in new and better public transport to support London's growth and the creation of new homes and jobs.
The order will include 43 new walk-through trains to increase capacity on the DLR by up to 30 per cent, which is needed to support the increased popularity of the railway and the continuing redevelopment of the Docklands area. The new trains will replace rolling stock some of which is nearly 25 years old. They will feature on-board real- time information, air-conditioning and mobile device charging points for the first time, providing customers with better and more efficient journeys.
The contract to build the new trains will be awarded in autumn 2018.

Jonathan Fox, TfL's Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said:
'This important step in the procurement process brings us closer to delivering the new trains needed to support the continued passenger growth on the DLR, which currently carries 122 million customers a year. These new trains will enable us to increase capacity on the network by up to 30 per cent, significantly improving the comfort, reliability and quality of our service for customers. They will also support the creation of further jobs and homes in the Docklands area.'
The DLR will provide several interchanges with Elizabeth line services between central London, Shenfield and Abbey Wood from 2018. These interchange stations include Canary Wharf, West India Quay, Stratford and Custom House.
The new trains also support the Mayor of London's draft Transport Strategy, which plans to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by improving public transport. London's population growth will place increasing demand on the rail network and the need to create new capacity and unlock access to new homes and jobs is vital to London's success. The higher capacity DLR trains are a key investment in TfL's long term plans to develop infrastructure and assets to meet this demand.

The existing DLR trains are over 30 years old. The new trains are needed to support the continued passenger growth on the DLR
In August the DLR celebrated 30 years of serving east London and to mark the anniversary a '30 things to do by DLR' travel guide and an easier to read line map have been released.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Stagecoach Half Year Results for Period Ending 28th October 2017

 Half-year financial results in line with expectations

·      Earnings per share 13.6 pence (H1 2017: 12.7 pence)
·      Adjusted earnings per share* 13.6 pence (H1 2017 restated**: 13.9 pence)
·      Interim dividend maintained at 3.8 pence per share
·      Profit before tax £96.7m (H1 2017: £89.5m)

Positive progress in all divisions

·      Management action on regional UK bus pricing, services operated and commercial initiatives - delivering in line with expectations
o  Revenue per vehicle mile up 2.7%
o  Journeys per vehicle mile up 0.3%
·      Positive London Bus tender outcomes: 4.5% net increase in vehicle miles
·      Improved revenue trends in North America
·      Progress and opportunities in UK rail market
o  Progressing negotiations with Department for Transport on new Virgin Trains East Coast contract
o  Extension of East Midlands Trains franchise to March 2019 confirmed, with plan for further Direct Award franchise beyond that
o  Good progress towards new Virgin Trains West Coast Direct Award franchise from April 2018
o  Shortlisted for new South Eastern franchise
o  UK rail franchises moving to a more balanced risk profile

·      No change to expectations of 2017/18 earnings per share

Chief Executive, Martin Griffiths, said: 

"I am pleased to report half-year financial results in line with our expectation and an interim dividend maintained at 3.8 pence per share.

"We have made positive progress across our businesses.  In UK rail, we are working with the Department for Transport towards new contracts at Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains West Coast.  Our East Midlands Trains franchise has been extended through to March 2019, with the prospect of us agreeing a further direct award franchise from March 2019, and we are part of shortlisted bids for new South Eastern and West Coast Partnership franchises.

"In bus, the actions we have taken on pricing, services operated and commercial initiatives across our regional UK bus operations are delivering the results we expected, while our London bus business has had success in winning new contracts.  In North America, we have seen improved revenue trends, new contract wins and growth in profit.  

"We are focussed on making further progress in the second half of the year and have maintained our expectation of full year adjusted earnings per share."


Thursday, 7 December 2017

The 2018 Easter weekend event in Cumbria

After some speculation and rumour that this splendid annual event may not occur, confirmation is received that it will go ahead in 2018. Entrants are invited to make contact via the address as shown below.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Train travel fares

British commuters to be hit by biggest rise in five years

Rail passengers will be hit by the largest fares hike in five years next month.
Industry body Rail Delivery Group says ticket prices across Britain will go up by 3.4 per cent on average in January - the sharpest rise since 2013, when fares increased by 3.9 per cent.
Passenger watchdog Transport Focus compared the news to "a chill wind" blowing down platforms as many passengers' incomes are stagnating or falling.

The Government uses the previous July's Retail Prices Index measure of inflation to determine increases in regulated fares, which was 3.6 per cent.These are around half of all tickets and include season tickets on most commuter routes and some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: "While substantial, welcome investment in new trains and improved track and signals is continuing, passengers are still seeing the basic promises made by the rail industry broken on too many days."
Alex Hayman, from consumer publication Which? said:  “This price hike will be another blow for passengers, many of whom continue to experience cancellations, delays, overcrowding and poor service from train companies.
"For passengers to genuinely get value for money, they must be able to find the best ticket for their journey, cheaper fares must not be hidden and compensation must be paid where it is owed.”
One in nine trains (12 per cent) failed to meet the rail industry's punctuality target in the past 12 months, meaning they arrived at their final stops more than five minutes late for commuter services or 10 minutes late for long-distance journeys.

Fewer than half (47 per cent) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to Transport Focus.
Train operating companies set the prices of other tickets but are bound by competition rules. The RDG said more than 97p in every pound from fares goes back into improving and running the railway.

Chief executive Paul Plummer noted that the Government controls increases to almost half of fares while the rest are "heavily influenced" by the payments train companies make as part of contracts to run franchises.
He said: "Alongside investment from the public and private sectors, money from fares is underpinning the partnership railway's long-term plan to change and improve."
It has been the policy of successive governments to reduce the funding of the railways by taxpayers and increase the relative contribution of passengers.
Office of Rail and Road figures published in October showed that £4.2 billion of taxpayers' cash went to the rail industry in 2016/17.
Taking inflation into account, this is down almost 13 per cent on the previous year but more than twice as much as British Rail used to get before the rail network was privatised.
The RDG highlighted that private investment in rail reached a record £925 million in 2016/17.


A second small set of images from the Ensignbus Running Day have been provided by David Heath, placed in an album and can now be viewed by clicking  here

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Monday 25th December - Christmas Day vintage bus service


On Christmas Day 2017 a free bus service will run on route 430 between Roehampton and Putney Bridge. It will be staffed by volunteers using a 1950s vintage RT bus. The operators are doing it for fun, goodwill and to promote vintage bus hire.

The service will run hourly between about 09:00 and 16:00. It will follow the normal 430 route from Putney Bridge to Roehampton Village, but will then serve Alton Road and Bessborough Road as well as Danebury Avenue.
So if you’re visiting a pub on Christmas Day, going to church, visiting friends and family, or just want to take the children out for a ride, check out the timetable! For Roehampton Hospital the route stops quite near the back entrance, a short walk along Crestway to Dover House Road.

This is not a Transport for London or London General service. However the bus is run professionally under an operator’s licence, meeting current safety regulations. The bus is not fully accessible, but there will be a conductor to help passengers.
If you have any questions about our Christmas Day service, please email


Saturday 2nd December saw yet another seasonal ENSIGNBUS Vintage Bus Running Day on either side of the River Thames between south Essex and North Kent. A selection of fine images have been provided by Eamonn Kentell, Chris Gaskin, David Heath, Martin Ruthe, John Scragg, Kevin Smith and Matthew Wharmby. All are in an album and can now be viewed by clicking  here 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Linking Derby with HS2

Buses on concrete rails on the A52

Guided busways are already used in other parts of the UK and abroad and Trent Barton's managing director says they would be cheaper to install along the A52 than tramlines

Putting electric buses on concrete rails along the A52 is the best way to link Derby to HS2, according to Trent Barton’s managing director.
Jeff Counsell says the buses, which are already used in some parts of the UK as well as South Africa, Mexico, Australia and Ghana, would be cheaper than bringing Nottingham’s tram network to the city – and he’s already met with transport decision makers to put forward his idea.
Mr Counsell made the comments after the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board said extending the tram west of the proposed HS2 rail hub in Toton would be “prohibitively expensive and hugely disruptive”.

A selection of guided busways in Greater Manchester, Luton/Dunstable and Cambridgeshire. Bus company Trent Barton says a similar project should be considered for connecting Derby to the planned HS2 hub at Toton
Instead, he believes electric buses using dedicated concrete “busways” built alongside the A52 or through the dual carriageway’s central reservation is the affordable, achievable and environmentally responsible option.
Guided busways are already used elsewhere in the UK and across the world. In Cambridgeshire 13.3 miles of guided concrete track was completed in 2011 in an effort to ease congestion on the A14.
That project was completed at a cost of £150m – far less than the estimated £500 million cost of extending the NET tram network by a similar distance through to Derby.
Mr Counsell said busways - which can be concrete rails specifically designed for buses or bus lanes separated from the road - were the obvious choice for getting people in Derby to HS2 trains. He said that building concrete bus rails was much cheaper than building tram lines and stations.
He said: “Forget what you know of today’s typical local bus services that are beset by traffic and congestion. By the time HS2 is operational in the 2030s there will have been significant evolution in public transport vehicles and the infrastructure they run on.
“Even today, there are clean, green, high capacity buses with great creature comforts running on smart networks including bus ways in cities such as Johannesburg, Mexico City, Adelaide and Accra.

“And closer to home there are cities such as Cambridge and Manchester which are benefiting from rapid bus transit.
“Fast forward 15 years and the quality and features of future buses will have stepped up several gears. Derby could have a bus system plugged into HS2 via dedicated transport corridors, operating at a frequency where passengers don’t have to worry about a timetable.”
Mr Counsell said dedicated bus ways could be built alongside the A52 or in the central reservation of the dual carriageway. Buses using the route would also be able access normal highways.
“That gives the flexibility to respond to the major changes there will undoubtedly be as travel patterns and employment evolves around Toton and across our region by 2030,” Mr Counsell said.
Recently, the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board – made up of council and business leaders – admitted a new tram line that followed the A52 between Derby and Toton was unlikely to happen due to the cost involved.

Board member David Ralph, who is also chief executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said the more likely option for connecting Derby to Toton was a bus rapid transit system, such as new bus lanes or guided busways.
Mr Counsell said Mr Ralph’s suggestion made sense. “Creating a bus rapid transit system infrastructure will cost local authorities and/or national government a fraction of that for light rail or trams,” he said.
“Commercial operators, such as us at Trent Barton, would take the commercial risk of investing in the vehicles.”
Mr Counsell said a bus rapid transit system could also be used to connect Toton to East Midlands Airport.
He said: “I believe it is more viable than any other option. Modern bus rapid transit systems offer all the environmental and mass capacity benefits of light rail and tram systems at a fraction of the cost.
“They are far quicker to establish, easy to adjust in line with demand and the vehicles can be refreshed more readily to get the benefits of technological and other innovations.”
Andrew Pritchard, director of policy and infrastructure at East Midlands Councils, which is co-ordinating the region’s work on HS2, said the strategic board had already met with Mr Counsell to discuss his ideas.
Mr Pritchard added: “In addition, we are just about to commence work on a strategic study which will include looking in more detail at the options for connecting Derby to the hub station at Toton, which will present another opportunity to explore Trent Barton’s ideas.”

Why build a busway?

According to infrastructure specialists Britpave, busways provide segregated transport corridors for bus services, allowing operation of regular reliable services with reduced influence from traffic congestion.
Historically on-street bus lanes have suffered from a number of problems in operation, such as:
  • Discontinuities and shared use by other traffic at junctions
  • Obstruction by parked vehicles or delivery vehicles
  • Use by unauthorised vehicles
These all interrupt the timing of the bus service and affect the ability of the bus operator to provide a fast, regular and reliable service.
A dedicated busway which excludes other road users provides a solution to these problems. The permanent infrastructure of a dedicated busway improves public perception of bus travel.
Busways also take up less land than a tram network.
Other benefits include:
• Affordability and low whole life cost
• Simplicity of technology
• Reliability
• Flexibility and integration with other public transport
• Capability for vehicles to operate both on and off the guideway

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Go-Ahead Group half year results

The Go-Ahead Group plc has announced its trading update for the period from 2 July 2017 to 29 November 2017. The next scheduled market update is the Group's half year results for the six months ending 30 December 2017 on 22 February 2018. 

The growth rates reported in this statement are for the four-month period from 2 July 2017 to 28 October 2017.

Full year expectations unchanged in bus and rail
Regional bus trends in line; contactless payment option introduced and new bus app due to launch
London bus trends in line; Quality Incentive Contract bonuses strong in the period
ASLEF members end longstanding industrial dispute
Good financial position with robust balance sheet

Go-Ahead's Chief Executive, David Brown, said:
"Overall trading for the first four months of the year has been in line with our expectations.
 "In Bus, regional revenue and passenger trends are in line with expectations and London revenue, mileage and peak vehicle requirements are as anticipated, reflecting small net contract losses. We continue to engage with Transport for London around key issues for the capital, such as congestion and air quality. Both in and outside of London, we believe buses are the solution to these problems in our towns and cities.
"In Rail, trading has been satisfactory in the period. Following the end of ASLEF's longstanding dispute with Southern, we are wholly focused on further improving the service for passengers and supporting the completion of the Thameslink Programme.
"We welcome the strategic vision for the railways announced yesterday by the Secretary of State for Transport.  We are pleased to see proposals to strengthen the partnership between the public and private sector, aimed at further improving services for customers.  We look forward to working with the Government to understand the strategy in more detail.
"Our international strategy is focused on delivering long-term value for shareholders by building a portfolio of low-risk businesses with limited capital requirements in stable and attractive markets. There are additionally good long-term pipelines of work in all of our target markets. 
"The Board remains confident that the Group will deliver full year results in line with its expectations."



Year to date underlying growth rates*
Passenger journeys
* Revenue and passenger journey growth rates exclude the significant impact of a programme of route restructuring (estimated at -0.5%). This principally reflects reductions to the route network in East Anglia.  

Revenue and passenger journey growth trends in regional bus remain in line with our expectations. Across the division we continue to see growth in some regions being offset by softer performance in other areas.

The roll-out of contactless payment options across our regional bus business is well advanced, with all of our fleet in Oxford, Go North East, Plymouth and Go South Coast now accepting this form of payment. Following the introduction of contactless technology in Oxford in June, over 20% of on-bus payment is now made through this channel. Also aimed at improving convenience for customers, our new bus app will enable passengers to receive real-time information, track bus locations and be notified of the best value ticket for their journey.
We expect regional bus profit for the first half of the year to be slightly lower than last year, more than offset by a stronger second half as one-off costs in Oxford in the prior period reverse.


Year to date growth rates
Peak vehicle requirement (PVR)*
*Peak vehicle requirement is the number of vehicles required to operate the highest service frequency on a route. This measure provides a useful indication of the volume of contract work being operated from one year to the next.
In London bus, growth trends in revenue, mileage and peak vehicle requirement were down slightly as expected reflecting the timing of small contract losses. This effect on revenue was partially offset by strong Quality Incentive Contract bonuses in the first part of the year with around £3m received to date compared with £2m in the same period last year.

Through the contract tender process, we have secured the majority of work expected for 2017/18. The market remains very competitive and mileage will continue to be under pressure as a result reductions in Transport for London funding. However, we maintain strong financial discipline in contract bidding, which is supported by our network of strategically located depots.
Our bus operation in Singapore, reported within the London bus division, continues to perform well, delivering high levels of punctuality on behalf of the Land Transport Authority.
As previously disclosed, the first half of the year is expected to deliver stronger profitability than the second half due to the timing of small contract losses.

The rail division currently operates the Southeastern, London Midland and GTR franchises through our 65% owned subsidiary Govia. On 10 December 2017, London Midland will cease operation, following the Department for Transport's (DfT) franchise award decision, announced on 10 August 2017.


Year to date growth rates
Passenger revenue
 Passenger journeys

Southeastern's passenger journey growth rate is consistent with that reported at the full year, while revenue growth slowed further, as expected.
The DfT recently published the invitation to tender for the new South Eastern franchise, scheduled to begin in April 2019, for which Govia is shortlisted. We are confident that we will submit a deliverable and attractive bid for customers, the DfT and shareholders.

In GTR, on a moving annual average basis train performance has consistently improved since the period of intense industrial action ended in January 2017. In Southern, the number of cancellations has fallen by 8% and punctuality levels have improved by 16% in the 11-month period. Earlier in the month, we were pleased that ASLEF members ended their industrial dispute. GTR's management team can now solely focus on improving performance levels for our customers.

Discussions with the DfT regarding a number of contractual variations are ongoing; management's judgement around these discussions and the potential impact on current year rail profitability remains consistent with previous guidance of plus or minus £5m.  

London Midland
Trading in the period has been in line with expectations. Demobilisation of the London Midland franchise is well underway ahead of 10 December, when it ceases to operate.

International development
The mobilisations of our Dublin bus contract and German rail contracts are well underway ahead of their respective 2018 and 2019 start dates.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Exeter Bus Station

Exeter City Council backtracks on plan to close bus station

Despite being widely advertised, Exeter City Council has backtracked on its pledge to close Exeter Bus and Coach Station.
It means plans advertised for on-street interim bus measures are null and void until at least spring 2018.
It's the latest bombshell since Crown Estate and TH Real Estate's Princesshay Leisure project on the site was was scrapped, along with news the council had parted ways with the construction tender for their £40m bus station and leisure centre plan.
Speaking with Devon Live Cllr Phil Bialyk, the chief of the stalled bus station regeneration project, admits the decision to keep the bus station open shows "mixed messages" to the public but the decision is "brave."
"While we have changed our message on this, there is a message that stays," said Cllr Bialyk, "That we will develop the site, we will build a new bus station and we will build a new leisure centre.
At one point Cllr Bialyk said "he did not want residents waiting for buses on the street during the middle of winter" and welcomes the idea buses won't be "running off the highway."
However, Devon Live pointed out that was the publicised plan proposed by the council and inked in for the end of the month, to which he said: "Yes, we always said we would close it, we thought we could carry on and de-risk it.
"It is about timing, and fresh advice from council officers we hoped to move a bit sooner now it is clearer to me we cannot."

He added: "It is not the easiest situation to resolve. It is brave decision, and I'll take the flak for it now. I'm frustrated but I am still enthusiastic and I want to run with this."
The news comes as a letter from Devon County Council to Exeter City Council, made available to Devon Live, revealed county's strong criticism of the idea.The correspondence from Dave Black, head of county planning, to Exeter's Deputy chief executive Mark Parkinson, urges the council to reconsider.

On the decision to close the bus station, Mr Black comments: "This will cause a huge amount of public dissatisfaction, impacting directly on captive public transport users, all of which is considered unnecessary until work starts in earnest.
"In addition, there are numerous operational issues such as layover, driver welfare and difficulty finding bus stops. This will have a significant impact on passenger experience and could see patronage levels dropping and operator costs rising."
Cllr Bialyk says the county's view was not factored into the decision, made with Stagecoach and council officers, but added that he would "love to have a debate with Devon County Council on what they could do better for Exeter."
In a message to councillors, Council Leader Pete Edwards said: "I wanted to contact you urgently to inform you urgently to inform you about a meeting that took place between myself, Stagecoach MD Bob Dennison and council officers.

"As you know, the Bus Station and Leisure Complex Programme Board recently reiterated the council’s commitment to redeveloping the bus station.
"This tired site remains in desperate need of redevelopment and we have never moved on our commitment to create a new bus station and new leisure complex on the site. We remain absolutely committed to delivering this long overdue redevelopment.
"An extraordinary council meeting took place at the Guildhall, to discuss recommendations made by the Programme Board for moving forward with our plans.
"One of those recommendations was to formally affirm closure of the bus station.

"However, following advice we have received it has become apparent that we will not be able to proceed with our plans to demolish the bus station as quickly as we thought.
"I shall be recommending to council that the closure of the bus station is rescheduled to take place early next year.
"Bus users have, and always will be, our priority. It has now become apparent that we will be able to reduce the period of time the public will be inconvenienced by the closure of the bus station, and it is right that we do so.
"With this in mind, it was agreed by all parties that it would be in the best interests of passengers to keep the bus station operating as usual until early next year.
"This is the recommendation that I will be asking members to support at the next full council meeting.
"We will ensure that the necessary communications are carried out to ensure everyone is aware that the temporary, on street solution for passengers will not be introduced until early next year.
"All other recommendations made by the Programme Board regarding the redevelopment of the site remain the same.”

Bob Dennison , Managing Director of Stagecoach South West, added: "We've had an extremely positive and productive meeting with Exeter City Council.
"Here, we discussed what would be best for bus users during the bus station re-tendering process. My priority has always been to put our customers' needs first, minimising any inconvenience to them and this view is shared by the council.
"To this end, I am pleased to confirm we have jointly agreed to keep the bus station open until early 2018."
One resident, John Brownbridge said the situation was "a complete fiasco."
He added: "When will Exeter City Council stop presiding over the series of disasters which is the bus station project?"