Tuesday, 18 June 2019

£2.3m Appeal to Save Waverley


Supporters of the last ocean-going paddle steamer have launched an appeal to raise £2.3m for major repairs.




The Waverley's 2019 excursion season had to be cancelled following the discovery of serious problems with its boilers.

The operators said the 73-year-old ship needed the marine equivalent of "open heart surgery".

Enthusiasts and politicians gathered at Glasgow's Pacific Quay to mark the official start of fundraising.

Named after Sir Walter Scott's debut novel, the ship was built just after World War Two as a replacement for a vessel sunk during the Dunkirk evacuation.

In 1975, at the end of its working life, it was bought for £1 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.

For generations of Scots it has been a familiar sight, offering "doon the watter" trips along the west coast, carrying 130,00 passengers a year.




Waverley has operated on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis since 1975 and is owned by a Registered Charity (SC005832). Waverley has carried over 6 million passengers since being preserved in 1975 and visits over 60 ports and piers around the U.K. offering a variety of day, afternoon and evening cruises. 




Waverley has a 4-star Scottish Tourist Board Tour Award and was nominated by the Sunday Times as “Top 3 nostalgic journey in the world”. 
A recent Economic Impact Survey concluded that Waverley contributes over £5.6 million to the U.K. economy an equivalent of 136 jobs per annum.

The discovery of serious problems with the boilers earlier this year meant this is the first time since 1812 there has been no paddle steamer operating off Britain's coast.

Operators Waverley Excursions Ltd said the iconic red, white and black twin funnels would have to be lifted off, and large sections of decking removed to allow the boilers and other equipment to be lifted out.

The replacement boilers are expected to extend Waverley's operational life by a further 20 to 25 years.





The Waverley - facts and figures


Built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow and launched in October 1946.
Entered service with the London and North Eastern Railway in June 1947, working LNER's Firth of Clyde steamer route from Craigendoran Pier, near Helensburgh, to Arrochar.
Powered by a three-crank diagonal triple-expansion marine steam engine built by Rankin & Blackmore in Greenock.

Now painted in original LNER 1947 livery of red, white and black funnels, traditional brown-grained (or "scumbled") superstructure and black paddle-wheel boxes.
July 1977 - badly damaged when she struck rocks near Dunoon. 

The heavier than normal post-war construction which made provision for possible future military use as a minesweeper may have helped her stay together while she was refloated.
June 2009 - struck the breakwater at Dunoon with 700 passengers on board, 12 of whom suffered minor injuries.
Since being sold to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, she has carried more than five million passengers.


Paul Semple, who heads the team which operates the ship said £100,000 had been donated already to the appeal.

"We're heartened by the support so far - it's clear that huge numbers of people around Britain and around the world want to see Waverley sail again," he said.

"But the financial challenge which faces Waverley remains very significant, and we urgently need more funds to let us place the orders and then carry out the work over the next nine months."

In recent weeks, the organisers have drawing up detailed plans and costings for the repairs.

Mr Semple he was determined not to allow the ship to become a "static relic".

"Waverley's truly unique status as the world's last seagoing paddle steamer mustn't be taken for granted," he said.

"Not for the first time, the future of the ship hangs in the balance. Once again, it's time to save the Waverley."

Monday, 17 June 2019

Class 755 Trains Authorised


Greater Anglia Class 755 trains have received authorisation to operate in the UK from The Office of Rail and Road

The ORR has contacted Stadler to approve their application to bring Class 755/4s into service.




This will see 755401 – 755424 into passenger service on the East Anglian route.

The conditions of the authorisation are that the trains are not to be operated until Greater Anglia has an S-stage Summary of Compatability in place.

GA 755/4s have been authorised to operate at 100 mph on GA routes.

Greater Anglia is the first train operating company to introduce the Class 755s into operation on the UK network.



The 755s are scheduled to replace Class 153, 156 and 170s used by GA, as well as a Class 37-hauled trains.

The 755s will be maintained by Greater Anglia at their Norwich Crown Point depot.



Greater Anglia is using new state-of-the-art train simulators to teach its 768 drivers how to drive the brand-new trains which are due to replace all the company’s existing trains

The company has fitted four new simulators – worth £1.6 million each - at its driver academies in Norwich and Stratford.

 The course includes three days of class room and simulator learning, followed by three days of driver training on the trains themselves.

Glen Harwood, Greater Anglia driver trainer and simulator manager said: “Driver feedback about the new trains is overwhelmingly positive.

“They’re building up their confidence on the simulators but are eager to get to drive the new trains themselves.

“The basics of driving the new trains are the same as for existing trains, but the added technology in the cab gives drivers the opportunity to do more to improve the service they give to our customers.”

The simulator is constructed to feel like an actual train cab – so the controls are exactly the same as in the new trains themselves.

Realistic CGI animation is shown through the windows of the view ahead and from the cab’s side windows as the driver “drives” along routes.

Several Greater Anglia routes have been recreated on each simulator – the first time drivers have been able to experience real routes on a simulator.

The driver can see customers “on a platform”. When they stop the train at a platform, two screens switch on and show video from internal and external CCTV, so the driver can check everyone has got safely on and off the train before opening or closing the train’s doors.

If a train is longer than the platform, the software onboard automatically selects to open only the doors next to the platform.

If it looks like anyone needs assistance, the driver can inform the conductor, who in real life will be on board the bi-mode trains assisting customers, giving them a helping hand to get on and off the train if they need it, answering enquiries and selling tickets.

Drivers on the simulator are given a number of different scenarios which they might face, including encountering animals on the line, varying weather conditions and customers on board needing emergency help.

For the first time, drivers will be able to control the temperature on the train, either switching on the air conditioning or turning up the heating.

Andrew Goodrum, Greater Anglia business readiness director said: “The new trains are a giant leap forward in technology and it’s essential that all our drivers are ready to drive them as soon as they come into service.

“We’re getting 169 brand new trains, with three different models. While the trains are still being made and tested, we’re preparing our drivers to be able to play their important role in the transformation of the railway.”

Greater Anglia is getting 58 trains from Swiss manufacturer, Stadler – 38 bi-mode trains which can switch between diesel and electric power and 20 electric trains – ten for the Intercity route and ten for Stansted Express services.

In addition, the company is getting 111 electric commuter trains from Bombardier, in Derby.


All of the new trains will be longer with more seats, plug and USB points, air conditioning, free fast wifi and accessible toilets.


Take a video tour around the new trains https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/newtrains/360tour

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Lothian Country - Green Arrow

Introducing a new express services – Green Arrow

Lothian Country have announced routes for their new Green Arrow express operation for West Lothian and Edinburgh areas which will commence on Sunday 30 June.

Operated with custom built 49-seat Plaxton coaches, the two new routes from Linlithgow and Bathgate will provide residents and commuters with a direct express coach service to and from Edinburgh’s West End.



                                                                 

The new routes will be as follows:

EX1: Bathgate Town Centre, Boghall, DIRECT VIA M8, Maybury, Haymarket and The Exchange every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday and hourly on a Sunday.


EX2: Linlithgow Bridge, Linlithgow Town Centre, Springfield, DIRECT VIA M9, RBS Gogarburn, Maybury, Haymarket, and The Exchange every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday and hourly on a Sunday.




Nigel Serafini, Commercial Director, said: "We are fully committed to investing in and developing the public transport offering in West Lothian and building new connections within the area and into Edinburgh. We want to promote bus travel as a great solution to both sustainable and active travel journeys, encouraging people out of cars and onto public transport, thus reducing congestion and even more importantly improving air quality and the impact on climate change. We continue to see significant growth across our network in West Lothian since its launch in August last year and the introduction of these direct express coach services from Linlithgow and Bathgate will considerably enhance the offering for these communities and the greener options available for travel".

Green Arrow will have a bespoke and dedicated team of drivers. The operation will run with a fleet of eight coaches which have been custom built in the UK by Plaxton, part of Alexander Dennis Limited, to exceed customer expectations. 

The coaches have an innovative new forward facing wheelchair bay and have been fitted with full coach seating, Wi-Fi, USB charging, mood lighting and audio-visual stop announcements, offering a fantastic customer experience.

Lothian Country will be holding roadshows in Linlithgow on Saturday 15 June and Bathgate on Saturday 22 June to give a chance to find out more about these new services and see their new vehicles before they go into service.

This information is from the Lothian Country website 
here Further information on fares will be announced closer to the launch date of the new services.






Lothian Country is part of the Lothian Buses network – allowing customers access to over 70 bus routes including Airlink & Skylink throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians.









..

Saturday, 15 June 2019

STAGECOACH EMPLOYEES BECOME FIRST IN THE UK TO COMPLETE BUS DRIVER APPRENTICESHIP


Two Stagecoach employees have become the first in the UK to complete a new bus driver apprenticeship programme.

The drivers – based at Stagecoach North East – have qualified through the new Passenger Transport Driver (Bus and Coach) Apprenticeship which was launched last year in partnership with Interserve Learning & Employment. Currently around 200 Stagecoach recruits are benefitting from the scheme across England.




Stagecoach’s existing bus driver training module has been enhanced and extended, within the framework of the Apprentice Levy arrangements, to use a combination of practical training and off-the-job learning over a period of 12-months, providing more comprehensive training and complementing Stagecoach’s high standards around high quality driving, excellent customer service and a key focus on safety.

Caroline Crozier, a former school teaching assistant from Newcastle, joined Stagecoach in Walkergate depot in March 2018 as an apprentice PCV driver. At the same time Gary Jardine, a former warehouse employee, commenced his apprenticeship within Stagecoach's Slatyford depot in Newcastle.

Both have completed the programme and have become the first in the country to gain their PCV licence and their driver’s certificate of professional competence through the apprenticeship.





Stagecoach is currently implementing the Passenger Transport Driver - Bus and Coach apprenticeship throughout its English Operating Companies, and by January 2020 it is anticipated that all new trainee bus driver employees will have the opportunity to complete this apprenticeship programme.

Stagecoach UK Bus Chief Operations Officer Mark Threapleton, said: “I’d like to congratulate Caroline and Gary – we’re proud that the first two people in the country to achieve this qualification are Stagecoach employees and wish them every success in their careers going forward.

“There are so many skills needed to be a good bus driver, including a key focus on safety, excellent driving ability, first class customer service skills, good decision-making skills and the ability to deal with challenging situations. These are all covered during this comprehensive 12-month programme and we believe this approach will help build on the already high standards we have in place to ensure we deliver the best possible service for the millions of people who use our buses every day across the country.”





Newly qualified driver Caroline Crozier said: “I have found this apprenticeship invaluable for my continued support, and training in a new career ! It has boosted my confidence and enabled me to do my job to the best of my ability.”

Colleague Gary Jardine added: “The apprentice scheme has helped in a big way in my first year at Stagecoach, as it covers a range of topics that help you in your role as a bus driver. The workshops that I have attended have helped me deal with different situations when I'm out on the road.”

Gregg Scott, National Delivery Director for Interserve Learning & Employment said: “We have been working in partnership with Stagecoach to co-deliver the Passenger Transport Bus Driver L2 apprenticeship since 2018. Stagecoach is leading the way for Passenger Transport Apprenticeships within the Industry and we are delighted to announce that our first two learners have now completed and passed the End Point Assessment (EPA) for this apprenticeship standard.




“This is a fantastic achievement not only for the learners, but for the whole team who have passionately designed, implemented and delivered this apprenticeship. Stagecoach is a key partner of Interserve, promoting and investing in apprenticeship training to create a highly skilled workforce. We look forward to celebrating future successes together.”

Friday, 14 June 2019

Southeastern Franchise Extension


An extension to the current Southeastern franchise has been agreed following an announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport.

Southeastern will continue to operate services until 10 November 2019, with an option to extend to 1 April 2020, allowing the Government more time to review and award a winner for the next South Eastern franchise. 




During the extension period Southeastern will introduce an improved compensation scheme as part of a suite of passenger-focused improvements. 'Delay Repay 15' will mean passengers delayed by 15 minutes or more will receive money back to compensate them for the inconvenience, where currently compensation applies for delays over 30 minutes.

David Statham, Southeastern's Managing Director, said:

"This extension gives us the opportunity to build on the customer improvements we've delivered over recent months, during which service punctuality has reached its highest levels in Southeastern's history.

"I don't want any of our passengers to be delayed, but if they are it's really important that we compensate them properly. That's why I'm delighted to announce these improvements to Delay Repay, which will make a real difference for people who experience shorter delays of between 15 and 30 minutes".


Govia, Go-Ahead's joint venture with Keolis (Go-Ahead 65%, Keolis 35%), is shortlisted for the next franchise. Govia has operated the franchise as Southeastern since 2006.



Thursday, 13 June 2019

Solaris Presents World Premier of Solaris Urbino 12 Hydrogen Bus & Accepts First Order


Solaris showed two zero-emission vehicles at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 held in Stockholm

The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen which was celebrating its world premiere. The second vehicle was the well-known Solaris Urbino 12 electric in its newest design, characteristic for all new vehicles from Solaris Bolechowo since January of this year.




Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen

Solaris was one of the first electric bus manufacturers to direct its research and development efforts towards electric drivelines. Nearly a decade after the première of its first e-bus, Solaris is now supplementing its zero-emission bus range with the Urbino 12 hydrogen in which hydrogen is transformed into electric energy directly fed into the driveline of the vehicle. Hydrogen technology used for power generation will enable buses to travel even longer distances completely emission-free.

Solaris believes that the development of all electromobility types, whether it's battery buses, trolleybuses or hydrogen-fuelled vehicles, should proceed in synergy, and that this process is indispensable to ensure sustainable transport of the future. Therefore, hydrogen-powered buses of Solaris will not constitute competition for battery buses or models of the Trollino series. These technologies will complement each other perfectly and they will all benefit from the technological progress of electric drivelines and their components.

The advantages of hydrogen as an energy source are indisputable. Hydrogen can be produced from water in the electrolysis process, giving a really clean source of energy. It is also a perfect solution for operators who have access to hydrogen derived from renewable sources, or from the industrial processes. Using reverse electrolysis, hydrogen fuel cells are relatively small in size and they generate energy during the operation of the vehicle. That is why they are an ideal solution when a long drive range has to be ensured. Hydrogen refilling takes little time and is quite convenient, similar to refilling a vehicle with petrol or diesel.

Solaris gained its first experience in hydrogen when it designed battery vehicles using fuel cells as range extenders. As part of the JIVE initiative, Solaris has supplied two Urbino 18.75 electric to Hamburg and 10 trolleybuses with hydrogen-based range extenders to Riga. 
Now, the manufacturer has taken its next steps towards progress, presenting at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm the Urbino 12 hydrogen, a completely emission-free electric bus.

The electric Urbino 12 hydrogen is fitted with a cutting-edge fuel cell that acts as a miniature hydrogen power plant on board of the vehicle. Thanks to the use of advanced technology, the bus will be capable of covering up to 350 km on a single refill. In a hydrogen fuel cell electric power is generated in a process called reverse electrolysis and then passed on directly to the driveline. The sole products of the chemical reaction occurring in the fuel cell are heat and steam. Consequently, the vehicle does not generate any noxious substances whatsoever.

A set of 60 kW fuel cells is used in the Solaris hydrogen bus. The hydrogen system also contains auxiliary devices, for the re-circulation of the resource that has not been used up, and also for maintaining a proper and stable temperature of the fuel cells during operation.

The novelty of Solaris’ portfolio will be also fitted with a small Solaris High Power traction battery which is to support the fuel cell whenever the demand for energy is the highest. The battery is filled with energy derived from hydrogen and through the regenerative braking, though it is also possible to recharge it by means of a plug-in socket. Complementing the driveline is an axle with integrated electric motors.

The Urbino 12 hydrogen features cutting-edge solutions for storage of hydrogen. The chemical element is compressed in gaseous form at a pressure of 350 atmospheres into 5 new-generation tanks placed alongside the bus roof. Thanks to the use of type-4 hydrogen tanks, Solaris engineers managed to reduce the mass of the cyllinders by 20% compared to the parameters of the previous model. The composite tanks, placed longitudinally above the first axle of the vehicle, allows for a hydrogen storage capacity of 36.8 kg. A multifunctional valve is installed at the end of each tank; this valve includes a range of safety elements: a solenoid valve, an emergency valve activated by high temperature and an overload valve cutting off the flow of hydrogen in case of loss of containment of the system.

In order to reduce energy use to a maximum, the vehicle will feature a climate comfort system with a CO₂ heat pump that allows to use waste heat from the fuel cell. This solution guarantees very high efficiency and allows to increase the drive range of the vehicle even more.

First orders

The Italian city of Bolzano is first to order Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses.

– Bolzano invests strongly in modern and clean public transport. Solaris will now be a part of it delivering its newest zero-emission technologies. SASA in Bolzano already operates Urbino electric buses. Now Solaris and Bolzano go hydrogen – said Petros Spinaris, Deputy CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A.

The contract includes an 8 year-long service and maintenance package. Part of the contract is also a special drivers’ and workshop personnel’s training emphasising the safety aspects of using and servicing hydrogen vehicles.


Paris Agreement


During the UITP Global Public Transport Summit, representatives of Solaris and Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) signed a contract for lease and tests of the Urbino 12 hydrogen. The operator responsible for public transport in Paris for 10 weeks (April-June 2020) will test the Solaris hydrogen bus in regular passenger traffic. This is another step made by RATP in the preparations for transforming its fleet to completely zero emissions vehicles.

In May RATP also signed a contract with Solaris for delivery of the Solaris Urbino 8.9 LE electric with the option of extending the order for another e-buses with a total value of 10 million euros.


Solaris Urbino 12 electric and e-mobility


In barely eight years since the début of its first electric bus, Solaris has delivered or received orders for nearly 600 vehicles from customers in seventeen countries. At the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019, the Polish producer is showing zero-emission vehicles that draw from the experience of over 15 million kilometers covered by its buses. The latest technological solutions regarding heating, cooling and the steering system were designed to help reduce energy consumption.



The drive unit of the Solaris Urbino 12 electric presented at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 consists of two electric engines with a peak performance of 125 kW each, installed in the drive axle. 

The energy needed to propel the two units is stored in Solaris High Energy batteries with a total capacity of 240 kWh. The vehicle version presented at the trade fair can be charged using a stationary external charger or a (34kW) onboard charger without the need to install additional infrastructure. The bus on display seats 28 passengers of which 12 are accessible from the low floor.



The Solaris Urbino 12 electric bus was nominated ''the city bus of the year in the “Bus of the Year 2017” contest.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Virgin Applies for London Liverpool Open Access Service

A partnership of Virgin Group, Stagecoach, SNCF and Alstom has applied to launch a rival rail service on the West Coast mainline from London to Liverpool.


Virgin is 51% owned by Virgin Group and 49% owned by Stagecoach, plus SNCF and Alstom  has submitted an application to launch open access services from May 2021 -- 14 months after its current West Coast franchise is due to expire.
Virgin Trains has run services on the route since 1997 but its bid for the next franchise was disqualified by the Department for Transport (DfT) in April in a row with Stagecoach over pensions. That decision is now being challenged in court. Virgin Group and Stagecoach have launched legal action against the DfT over the decision, claiming it breached its statutory duties.
Stagecoach has launched separate legal action against the DfT after being barred from bidding for the East Midlands franchise, which has been awarded to Dutch operator Abellio. The travel operator was also banned from bidding for the South Eastern franchises.
In its application for open access services, Virgin Trains said it wants to run hourly services between Liverpool Lime Street and London Euston from May 2021. About 24 trains a day would run, most likely calling at Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Liverpool South Parkway.
Applications for open access operations will be considered by rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which says they must generate extra demand rather than simply taking revenue away from incumbent operators.
‘Virgin Trains has led the UK rail industry for 22 years’, said Managing Director Phil Whittingham. ‘But we want to go further. These new services will allow us to take the customer experience on the UK’s railways to the next level and show the rest of the industry how it can be done.’

 The Pendolino's currently run by Virgin won't be used on the new open access
services because they will transfer to whoever wins the West Coast franchise.

If successful in its application, Virgin Trains will be able to launch a rival rail service to the winning bidder of the West Coast franchise, which will be revealed this summer.
Examples of  successful open access operators include Heathrow Express, Hull Trains and Grand Central, which all compete with franchised train operators.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

FirstGroup Sale


The Manchester operations of FirstGroup were recently sold off to GoAhead, who have now taken over operation of the former routes. 


Go North West have launched their new livery

David Cutts, Interim Managing Director of Go North West, said: “We very much look forward to joining Manchester’s public transport community. We are excited to welcome our passengers and offer them a reliable bus service that meets their needs.

Queens Road Depot will house a new senior management team and new, in-house customer service team,
 employing local people with local knowledge to deliver a better service.


















"Go North West is committed to providing a high-quality bus service and we will make further announcements over the coming weeks.

"Finally, I’d like to thank the Go North West team who have managed the acquisition and transition process and the staff at Queens Road who we have greeted us with open arms and who we look forward to welcoming on-board.”


Since the sale of the Manchester operations FirstGroup has announced plans to sell off its remaining bus operations in the UK and Greyhound buses in America



The news of the sale comes after the company said it lost £327m in the year to 31 March 2018, compared with a profit of £152.6m in 2017, leading last year, to the departure of chief executive Tim O'Toole. This year the group's annual loss in a little short of £100m.




The Aberdeen-based company operates a fifth of all local bus services outside London as well the South Western Railway and TransPennine Express rail franchises.




It is reported to be under pressure from investors to reorganise and make changes at board level, and is set to concentrate on the North America market. 
A First Group spokesperson commented: ‘Today we announced that we will be pursuing strategic options, through a sale or other means, to separate First Bus from FirstGroup. 



Please be assured that as this process unfolds, we will continue to operate our services as usual, working closely with our local authority partners and demonstrating our commitment to our customers through the service we offer them. In recent years we have improved customer service at First Bus by investing in our buses and new technology, transforming our networks, and making operations and maintenance more efficient. 

As a result, First Bus is now on a much stronger footing, and we believe it is the right time to pursue structural alternatives so the business can continue to provide excellent service, ensure the best possible future for our staff and continue to meet stakeholders’ requirements.'

Monday, 10 June 2019

Geely Introduces the F12 Hydrogen Bus With a Range of 500km


In addition to its all-electric buses, 
Geely's Yuan Cheng brand has introduced its first hydrogen fuel cell model with a range of 500 km (311 miles)

So far China has focused on the all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, seems to slowly be exploring the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

One of the latest examples of growing interest in FCVs (Fuel Cell Vehicles) is the Yuan Cheng F12 hydrogen fuel cell bus, presented by the Geely's Yuan Cheng brand in Beijing, alongside new all-electric Yuan Cheng C11 bus.




The F12, available in 12m and 10.5m long versions, can travel over 500 km (311 miles). The hydrogen consumption in real-world operation stands at around 7.5 kg/100 km (62 miles) according to Geely, which means that the tanks need some 37.5 kg total. The main positive is refuelling time of just 10-minutes.


"The F12 is Geely’s first commercial vehicle which utilizes hydrogen fuel cell technology and after a 10-minute refueling can run over 500km. Hydrogen fuel cell only emits water and is considered a zero-emission technology."

"The new hydrogen powered F12 city bus was developed by GCV in response to China’s national new energy policy and as part of Geely’s continuing R&D into fuel cell technologies. Hydrogen fuel has several major advantages including diverse availability and environmental friendliness. 

Hydrogen fuel can be extracted from fossil fuels, generated as a by-product of chemical production, and from electrolysis. Hydrogen is the ultimate environmentally friendly fuel for vehicle as it emits no emissions and only produces water. In addition, hydrogen refueling is similar to gasoline or diesel, simplifying infrastructure building.

The F12 bus adopts world-class fuel cell stack technology. In real world operational tests, it had an energy consumption rate of 7.5kg of hydrogen per 100km. A full tank is enough for all-day operation. Through extreme environmental test such as extreme heat, cold, and high altitude, hydrogen fuel cell technology has been proven to be very adaptive.

In addition to its advantages of zero emissions and low energy consumption, the F12 also comes with attractive design, comfortable interior, and multiple smart functions. In terms of smart functionality, the F12 bus comes with real time remote monitoring, road condition warning, remote fault diagnostic, and other intelligent features to assist companies in scheduling and fleet management."




"The C11 pure electric bus is made for a variety of operational scenarios such as city commuting, tourism, and public transportation. Along with a high passenger capacity, the two new models also have the advantages of being quiet and economical."

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Borders Buses Launches New Customer Website

Borders Buses has launched a new website which offers customers live bus tracking, real time updates and directions to bus stops.

The new website, a desktop version of the bus company’s mobile app, has been supported by Scottish Borders Council and part funded by Paths for All, a Scottish charity whose match funding programme Smarter Choice, Smarter Places promotes smarter ways to travel.




To encourage people to be more active in their travel choices, the bus company customised its website to offer the same functionality as its Borders Buses mobile app. The website also includes a “Things to do” section which provides details of the quickest and easiest ways to travel by bus to local events, attractions and walking routes.

Sharon Morrison, commercial manager at Borders Buses, said: “We are excited to launch our new website and hope customers make full use of its live functions.

“There are many people out there who want to use the bus, but don’t know how, when and where to find or use it. Our website (and app) offers a simple guide to bus travel. It takes you through each step of the process; from planning your trip, buying your ticket, getting you to the bus stop to tracking the bus.

“The information available on the website couldn’t be any easier and the tracking of the bus, we feel, reinforces customer confidence in service reliability. We strongly hope it can play a part in getting more people active, out of cars and on to buses.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “I am delighted the council has supported the new Borders Buses website.



“We recently had the introduction of the innovative bike friendly buses to the X62 service and the launch of the new Borders Explorer train-bus joint ticket which have both been well received. Alongside the new website, it is now easier than ever for locals and visitors to travel and discover our stunning area this summer.”

Graham McQueen, open fund senior development officer at Path for All, said: "Paths for All is delighted to offer match funding to such an innovative project. The real time functionality of the website will provide customers with added confidence on bus reliability whilst its journey planner will help locals and tourist find their way about the area by bus.”

“The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Fund is set up to encourage people to travel more sustainability for their everyday journeys and this is exactly the type of project that will help achieve that aim.”

The website was created by Passenger, a Bournemouth based technology company.

Passenger founder Tom Quay, added: “'It’s great to be building on the strong relationship we have with Borders Buses to deliver the live buses functionality to their customers, both for their new website and the Borders Buses app.

“Since the Transport Focus findings on young people’s relationship with buses, it’s further demonstrated young people want to follow their bus along the route and view it ‘live’.

“We think this solution is going to improve user experience and encourage more Borders Buses customers to catch the bus, with the confidence of knowing where their bus is.”


https://www.bordersbuses.co.uk/

Saturday, 8 June 2019

DATE FOR THE DIARY - Saturday 15th June - Rowsley in Derbyshire


A chance to travel around Derbyshire and its Real Ale pubs on a selection of heritage buses from the 70’s and 80’s. Four free bus routes departing from Rowsley South Station approximately every 15 minutes linking Bakewell , Matlock and the surrounding areas giving you the chance to visit 30 real ale pubs en-route and sample a huge selection of real ales from local and national breweries throughout the day.

The routes are:-

183 – Peak Rail – Bakewell-Ashford-in-the-Water – Monsal Head – Little Longstone – Great Longstone – Ashford-in-the-Water – Bakewell – Peak Rail.

184 – Peak Rail – Bakewell – Hassop – Calver – Baslow – Pilsley – Bakewell – Peak Rail.

240 – Peak Rail – Matlock – Matlock Bath – Cromford Crossroads – Holloway – Crich

241 – Peak Rail – Matlock – Matlock Bath – Cromford Crossroads – Lea – Wessington.

Peak Rail trains will also be in operation from 11.00am and normal fares and timetable will apply to these dates.







Whether it’s simply a nostalgic journey back to a bygone age or a discovery of the sights and sounds for very first time of a steam or diesel locomotive Peak Rail welcomes you to experience the thrill of their preserved railway whilst travelling through the delightful Derbyshire countryside.

The line forms part of the old Midland Railway line between Manchester Central and London St Pancras which was closed in 1968. They currently operate on approximately 4 miles between Rowsley South Station and Matlock Platform 2 giving interchange facilities with Derby to Matlock trains.




Friday, 7 June 2019

Go Ahead Results to June 2019

The Go-Ahead Group plc has announced its trading update for the period from 30 December 2018 to 5 June 2019. The next scheduled update is the Group's full year results for the year ending 29 June 2019 which will be announced on 5 September 2019. 

The year to date growth rates in the announcement are for the period from 1 July 2018 to 27 April 2019.
Overview
·
High levels of punctuality across all divisions; record customer satisfaction in regional bus
·
Full year expectations increased in the London and international bus division due to strong operational performance, including in Singapore and Dublin
·
Growth in passenger volumes and revenues in all regional bus businesses, full year expectations broadly unchanged
·
Southeastern continues to perform well; continued improvements in GTR operational performance
·
German rail contracts launching this weekend following a four-year mobilisation period

Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive, David Brown, said:

"I'm pleased to report that we have delivered revenue growth in all three of our business divisions. This performance is driven by our commitment to continually improving services for our bus and rail customers and I'm delighted with our recent results in reliability and satisfaction levels.
"In bus, service performance levels in our London operations remain high resulting in continued growth in Quality Incentive Contract income. Service levels also remain high in our regional bus business, which recently achieved the industry's highest ever customer satisfaction score of 92%, with Go-Ahead topping the league table for punctuality and journey time.
"In rail, Southeastern remains the best performing large UK train franchise, with the highest levels of punctuality in its history. Service levels at GTR continue to improve with punctuality for the month of April reaching 89.3%, a record level for the franchise, after nine consecutive months of year on year improvement.
"PickMeUp in Oxford is growing in popularity, with 25,000 people now registered to use our app-based service and over 130,000 journeys made since its launch in June 2018.  On the back of this successful pilot, we have recently won a year-long contract from TfL across the borough of Sutton, in partnership with ViaVan.
"Our international bus operations in Singapore and Dublin are trading ahead of expectations, and we look forward to operating rail services in Germany from this weekend. Our international development teams continue to work on contract opportunities in our target markets and there is also a strong pipeline in these areas."
Bus

Regional

Growth Rate Year to date *
Revenue
Passenger journeys
c.4%
c.3.5%
* Revenue and passenger journey growth rates exclude the impact of acquisitions. 



We are pleased that we continue to grow passenger volumes and revenues, albeit at a lower yield due to our targeted campaigns aimed at younger passengers.  We have plans in place to improve yields whilst ensuring we continue to grow our customer numbers and manage the cost base. In the second half of the year operating profit is expected to be in line with the second half of last year.

We have now completed the acquisition of the Queens Road bus depot in Manchester from FirstGroup and began operating 22 routes with 173 buses earlier this week.

London and international bus

 Growth Rate Year to date*
Revenue
Mileage
Peak vehicle requirement (PVR)
c.(0.5%)
c.(4%)
c.(5.5%)
*Revenue, mileage and PVR growth rates exclude the impact of the Dublin bus contract which began in September 2018.


Our expectations for the full year have increased and we now anticipate a stronger financial performance than last year. This reflects a strong operational performance in London which has resulted in higher Quality Incentive Contract income. Singapore's operations also performed well and our first contract in Dublin has been successfully mobilised.

As expected, mileage and peak vehicle requirement were down year on year due to contracts lost during the prior year. We anticipate growth in both metrics next year as new contracts are introduced.





With over 60 per cent of our contracts in London having been re-tendered over the past two financial years, the majority of our bidding activity over the next few years will be focused on new contracts and we continue to bid with financial discipline.

We will begin a second bus contract in Dublin before the end of the calendar year operating routes to commuter towns outside of Dublin.


Rail

The rail division operates the Southeastern and GTR franchises through our 65% owned subsidiary, Govia.
Southeastern


 Growth Rate Year to date* 
Passenger revenue
Passenger journeys
c.6%
c.4%

Southeastern continues to perform well. Growth in passenger journeys and revenue remains strong albeit at a slower rate than at the half year, as the comparative period includes the benefit of London Bridge reopening in January 2018. We continue to focus on customer service and operational performance in partnership with Network Rail.
We remain in discussions with the DfT regarding an extension to the current contract and we await the outcome of the new South Eastern franchise competition.

GTR
GTR's operational performance has consistently improved over the last nine months with punctuality reaching record levels for the franchise and cancellation rates at an all-time low.   
As previously reported, GTR is not expected to contribute to Group profitability in the current financial year following the settlement reached with the DfT last December.  
International rail



Following a four-year mobilisation period, two of the five secured rail contracts in Germany are commencing operations. Our team in Germany is preparing for the introduction of our third contract in December 2019. In the same month we will begin operating rail routes in Norway.

CFO Appointment
As announced this week, Interim Chief Financial Officer Elodie Brian has been confirmed as permanent CFO of The Go-Ahead Group. Elodie has been in the role since December 2018, previously having been Finance and Contracts Director at Southeastern.