Saturday, 30 June 2012

First to Sell Seven Bus Companies

FirstGroup is seeking buyers for seven different operations in England, according to a list obtained by Passenger Transport.
In the North West, the group is inviting bids for its operations in Wigan, Chester and Birkenhead, while in the Midlands the group’s bases in Northampton, Redditch and Kidderminster are for sale.
Also being lined up for disposal is an as yet unspecified part of its 163-vehicle operation in Somerset.

Link from Martin Arrand

Friday, 29 June 2012

New London Cable Car Opens

Britain's first “urban cable car” opened in London yesterday just in time for the Olympics.
The 'Emirates Air Line' transports passengers across the Thames between North Greenwich and Royal Docks.
It could also be used to ferry Olympic competitors to the O2, which is hosting gymnastics and basketball. The completed £45 million project, which took just under a year to build, was unveiled by the Mayor. Arriving in North Greenwich on the cable car, Boris Johnson called it is a”stunning piece of engineering”  and said: “It is also a simply beautiful way to travel.”
Passengers enjoy views taking in the City, Canary Wharf, Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park. The system has a cable span of 1,100 metres across three helix towers, with 34 cars each holding up to 10 people, travelling at a height of 90 metres. Up to 2,500 people an hour can be carried in each direction.
Passengers can touch in at the gates with their Oyster cards for a single fare of £3.20 or £1.60 for children. A non-stop return costs £6.40 on Oyster.
There is also a “frequent flyer” pass allowing 10 single journeys for £16. On the south bank, the Air Line is about a three minute walk from North Greenwich Tube station.
Cable cars arrive at intervals of less than 30 seconds and passengers climb in as it moves.
About 30 protesters from the union Unite gathered outside the cable car station at North Greenwich today   calling for a £500 Olympic bonus for bus drivers.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

£266m Local Sustainable Transport Fund Awards

Towns and cities across England are set to benefit from major transport schemes boosting green growth, Transport Minister Norman Baker announced yesterday.
The funding forms the third allocation from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. 12 major projects have won funding totalling £225 million, while 15 smaller schemes are receiving a total of £41 million from the Department for Transport. This includes an additional £40 million on top of the previously- announced £560m funding available under the scheme.
This central funding will be matched by a further £194 million funding from local authorities and businesses, bringing the total value of the schemes to £460 million. Since the Local Sustainable Transport Fund was created, almost a hundred schemes have benefitted from more than £1 billion.
The schemes announced today are led by 24 local authorities, with many more as partners and cover eight regions.
Each of the projects will provide a transport package that delivers carbon savings and economic growth, and in many cases will see major investment in local transport infrastructure.
The successful schemes include a variety of measures including improving sustainable transport options for commuters, encouraging parents and children to walk to school, creating public transport hubs and building better cycling infrastructure.
Norman Baker said:
“The schemes we are funding will improve life for millions of people in towns and cities up and down the country and show that cutting carbon and boosting economic growth go hand-in-hand.
“Investing in these schemes shows that we are serious about funding infrastructure where there is a clear business case for doing so. The money we are putting into these projects will unlock much greater economic benefits for communities as well as improving the environment – it’s a win-win.”
The schemes to be funded include:
  • Reading will see a real boost for bikes, including a London-style cycle hire scheme and a new state-of-the-art pedestrian and cycle bridge crossing the Thames. There will also be new park-and-ride schemes and improvements to existing schemes to help commuters access key employment hubs.
  • Merseyside will see a project providing better public transport and cycle infrastructure, linking areas of deprivation with areas of employment. The scheme will include real-time travel information and extra services for bus users as well as station improvements on the local rail network.
  • Nottingham will see its smartcard scheme expanded to cover all of the city’s buses, trams and trains with more outlets offering top up services for the cards. The funding will also cover cycle storage and hire schemes, as well as a network of local travel hubs set up to address the specific travel needs of different communities.
A full list of the successful bids can be found below. All the schemes for which funding has been confirmed today are also receiving significant contributions from the local council or the private sector.
These local schemes will bring national benefits. In addition to supporting economic growth, enabling and encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices, the projects will reduce delays on the roads in urban areas, which cost the economy around £11 billion a year. These projects will help tackle problems such as poor air quality, and improved cycling and walking infrastructure will help to improve the health of the nation.


  1. Other schemes benefiting from funding under the Local Sustainable Transport Scheme were announced in May 2012 and July 2011. Today’s announcement relates to schemes seeking contributions from the Department of more than £5 million, as well as the remaining smaller schemes that were not announced in May 2012.
  2. A written statement was laid in Parliament today
  3. DfT funding has gone to the following bidders: Schemes receiving £5m or less
    Bedford Borough Council £4.8m
    Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council £1.5m
    East Sussex County Council – Coastal Towns £2.2m
    East Sussex County Council – Lewes £1.6m
    Hampshire County Council £3.8m
    Middlesbrough Council £1.2m
    North Yorkshire County Council – Harrogate £1.7m
    North Yorkshire County Council – Whitby £3.7m
    Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead £2m
    Rutland County Council £4m
    St Helens Council (lead authority) £3.1m
    Stoke-on-Trent City Council/Staffordshire County Council £5m
    West Sussex County Council £2.3m
    Wiltshire Council £4.25m
    Larger bids
    Bristol City Council £24m
    Bournemouth Borough Council £12.1m
    Centro £33.2m
    Hertfordshire County Council £9.7m
    Merseytravel £20m
    Nottingham County Council/Derbyshire County Council £10.3m
    Reading Borough Council £20.7m
    Surrey County Council £14.3
    Telford & Wrekin £6.1m
    South Hampshire £17.8m
    South Yorkshire £24.6m
    Transport for Greater Manchester £32.4m

Barrow to Fleetwood Hovercraft Service

Hovercraft Service Ltd a subsidiary of Preston-based coach firm Walton’s Coach Hire, is proposing to introduce an 18-minute shuttle between Barrow and Fleetwood.
The Preston-based company hopes to operate up to 14 return trips a day, with two vessels each carrying up to 84 passengers. The scheme would involve an investment of £9.5m and include onshore passenger terminals at Barrow and Fleetwood.
Although the company is yet to submit any application to introduce the service, the proposals have been welcomed as a potential boost for tourism.
A spokeswoman for Wyre Council, the local authority for Fleetwood, said: “In theory it is a good idea and could potentially benefit Wyre by bringing people into Fleetwood and providing another travel option for residents, however we would need to view the proposals in more detail.”

There’s also a mention of a proposed service to run from Fleetwood to the Isle of Man. That hover journey would take one hour 40 minutes, against the three and a half hours it currently takes by ferry.
Hovercraft Services have also written to the Prime Minister about the plans.

Link from Tony Wilson

Hollycombe Rally

Ken Jones visited the Hollycombe Steam Museum Rally at Liphook Hants, where there was a display of visiting vehicles. Ken travelled from Coventry on the Midland Red S15.  

Stagecoach supported the event by sending two Enviro 400's. one of which was decorated to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Arriva Acquires Ambuline


Arriva has announced it has acquired Birmingham-based specialist patient transport company Ambuline Limited (Ambuline) to expand Arriva’s position in social and healthcare passenger transport markets and build on the partnership the organisations have developed in securing non-emergency patient transport contracts.
Ambuline joins Arriva Transport Solutions which works with public
sector organisations to identify and deliver innovative solutions to
help fulfil their transport needs more efficiently, including special
education needs transport, social care transport and patient

Established in 1979, Ambuline employs some 240 people and today
provides up to 1,000 patient journeys each day in the East Midlands,
West Midlands, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Humberside for National Health Service (NHS) Trusts and other public sector organisations. Arriva has acquired 100 per cent of the Issued Share
Capital of Ambuline Limited for an undisclosed sum.

Jonathan May, managing director of Arriva Transport Solutions, said: “Over the last year Arriva and Ambuline have worked together to respond to tenders to provide non-emergency patient transport
services. Combining the specialist and clinical expertise of Ambuline with Arriva’s scale, geographic reach and fleet and logistics management expertise has proved successful in securing contracts.

“Bringing the Ambuline team, led by directors Paul Willets and Dennis Jones, into Arriva Transport Solutions cements that partnership. The recent contracts we secured together in the East Midlands effectively double the size of the Ambuline non-emergency patient transport business and firmly establish us in this important and growing market.”

Arriva Transport Solutions and Ambuline have recently been awarded a number of NHS contracts to deliver non-emergency patient transport services. These include contracts, starting in July, to provide about 500,000 patient journeys a year for NHS Trusts in Leicestershire and

To fulfil these contracts Arriva is investing £6 million in a fleet of more than 130 new ambulances and cars. The start of the contracts on 1 July 2012 will see 290 staff previously employed by the East Midlands Ambulance Service transfer to Ambuline under the Transfer of
Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

Operations will be overseen by two new Arriva control centres in Nottingham and Leicester, utilising state-of-the-art GPS satellite location systems linking the ambulances with Arriva’s patient
transport booking system, to ensure patients get to and from appointments on time. Further innovations include internet and SMS text technology which will enable patients to confirm they are ready to be collected and “ring when ready” pick up services when appointments are completed.

Information from Tony Wilson

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Stagecoach Preliminary Announcement

Stagecoach have issued their Preliminary results for the year ended 30 April 2012

Business highlights

Maximising shareholder returns
·      Adjusted earnings per share* up 6.7% to 25.4 pence (2011: 23.8 pence)
·      Full year dividend up almost 10% to 7.8 pence (2011: 7.1 pence)
·      c.£340m cash return to shareholders in October 2011

Leading the way in improving transport for passengers
·      Growth underpinned by innovation, value for money, investment and operational delivery
·      Expansion of in North America and Europe
·      New Alliance with Network Rail

Pursuit of new opportunities for growth
·      Like-for-like revenue up 6.9% across the Group
·      Virgin Rail Group's bid for new West Coast rail franchise submitted May 2012
·      Shortlisted for two new UK rail franchises
·      US$134m planned acquisition of businesses and assets from Coach America
·      Further potential to grow operating profit at acquired London Bus business

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive, Sir Brian Souter, said:
"We continue to see good organic growth in our bus and rail services in the UK and North America. This has been supported by our successful mix of innovation, value-for-money travel, continued investment in our services, and strong operational delivery.

"Our UK regional bus operations are delivering good returns with different management approaches applied to respond to the different conditions in each of the markets in which we operate. In London, our turnaround plan is progressing well and we have won new contracts on more acceptable profit margins.

"We are excited about the next phase of our growth plan for our budget coach brand, As well as testing the market in Europe, we are expanding to new locations in North America where the response to the product from consumers has been particularly strong.

"The planned acquisitions from Coach America will enable us to expand our US business at a reasonable price while further underpinning the development of in targeted regions.

"In UK Rail, we are pleased that East Midlands Trains has returned to profit and South West Trains continues to perform well.  We are involved in shortlisted bids for a number of new franchises. At South West Trains, we are moving forward with our alliance with Network Rail to deliver a more efficient railway and a better service for passengers. We believe this approach can be a model for future franchises and our pioneering work can give the Group first mover advantage.

"Across our business, our new ideas and partnerships are helping shape the future of public transport and the Stagecoach difference is delivering strong returns to our shareholders. We believe the outlook for our bus and rail services is positive and we look forward with confidence to the year ahead."

Go Ahead Trading Update

The Go-Ahead Group plc has announced its pre-close trading update for the year ending 30 June 2012 ahead of its full year results announcement on 6 September 2012.
David Brown, Group Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said:
“Go-Ahead continues to perform well, with all our companies seeing revenue growth in the year to date.
“In line with our strategy to grow our bus division, we have acquired a number of businesses during the year and have driven organic growth through smart-ticketing and providing high quality value for money services.
“In rail, we are pleased with the performance of our three franchises despite the challenging economic environment.
“Overall, we remain confident that we will deliver a full year result in line with our expectations.”
BUSES Our deregulated bus division continues to see solid growth. We expect full year passenger revenue to increase by around 4% on a like-for-like basis (after adjusting for acquisitions) and passenger journey growth of around 3%.
We continue to see stronger growth in fare-paying passengers, partly offset by weaker concessionary performance. Whilst the average yield per journey remains lower as passengers continue to take advantage of our value for money period passes and smartcards, the successful uptake of these products enhances the long term growth prospects of our business.
Since our last update in April, we have acquired HC Chambers & Son Ltd, a small bus company operating on the Essex/Suffolk border. Including acquisitions, we expect full year growth in deregulated passenger revenue of around 7% and journey growth of around 4.5%.
Our regulated London bus operations have delivered a strong performance in the year to date, with like-for-like revenue expected to increase by around 6% in the full year and mileage up by around 4%. Contract wins and the acquisition of the Northumberland Park bus depot in North London will result in strong mileage growth continuing into the next financial year.
RAIL Our rail division operates the Southern (including Gatwick Express), Southeastern and London Midland franchises through our 65% owned subsidiary Govia.
Southern continues to perform well and we anticipate full year like-for-like passenger revenue growth of around 8.5% and growth in passenger numbers of around 1.5%. The current economic environment does present challenges going forward as the bid model in 2009 assumed stronger underlying economic growth rates at this stage in the franchise.
Southeastern has shown a solid performance and we expect growth in passenger revenue of around 10% in the year, with passenger numbers growing by around 1.5%.
London Midland’s growth in passenger revenue and numbers remains strong, with full year expectations around 13.5% and 8% respectively. The franchise became eligible for revenue support in November 2011, but it has not been required due to successful revenue generating initiatives such as marketing campaigns and special offers.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Waterloo & City Line to Open on Sundays

A Sunday train service last used just after the Second World War is to provide a major transport link during the Olympics and Paralympics.
The Waterloo & City line, known as “The Drain”— the direct link between Waterloo and Bank — is to open on Sundays throughout the Games.
Usually the busy commuter route does not open on Sundays because transport chiefs say there is no demand. Sunday services last operated regularly between 1943 and 1947.
It will provide a major boost for the 80,000 extra passengers a day expected to use Waterloo mainline station during the Games. It will provide spectators with direct access to the Docklands Light Railway and Central line at Bank while avoiding the Jubilee line. They will also avoid London Bridge — forecast to be one of the most overcrowded stations throughout the entire Games.
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Lib- Dem group on the London Assembly and the Assembly’s transport committee, said: “This is a welcome development. Transport for London should use this opportunity to examine potential weekend demand and see whether there is a case for regularly running trains every weekend.”

Sunday, 24 June 2012

MP calls for investment in Midland Mainline services

Here's a copy of a report about investment in the Midland Mainline.

Tony Wilson comments "Once again our intrepid media appears to have little grasp of
progress. A news report on the BBC local Derbyshire website cites that
improvements are required on the Midland Mainline and include an image
of an MM-liveried train. I can find no reference whatsoever in this
report to the current main operator, East Midland Trains."

East Midlands Trains, who run the franchise, don't get a mention in the report.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

West Yorkshire Quality Contracts Proposed

Bus services in West Yorkshire could be brought under public control under proposals announced by the local transport authority.
Metro, which funds the area's public transport, said it was considering putting bus services under contract, allowing it to set fares and fine companies that failed to meet targets.
If approved, the scheme would be the only one outside London, although a similar scheme is being looked at for Tyne & Wear.
One bus company said it was "extremely disappointed" at the plan.
The chairman of West Yorkshire Metro Councillor James Lewis said the aim was to "drive up standards in public transport".
He said: "We invited the bus companies to share their views on how they felt they could do this with us earlier in the year but we felt the deliverability wasn't there.
"The ability to hold them to a service and hold them to standards wasn't there in the offer they made so that's why we are moving down the route of quality contracts."
The Quality Bus Contract (QBC) scheme was introduced in the Transport Act in 2000.
It allows local authorities to specify what the local bus network should be and how it should be operated. Under the legislation bus routes and fares can be regulated.
Currently, only Transport for London operates such a scheme
Metro said that moving to the new system "carries some significant risks". Under a QBC any increased costs, such as fuel rises, will have to be met by the authority.
Metro said: "Extra cost would have to be funded either through more public subsidy, fares would have to go up, or services changed".
First Bus, which operate services in West Yorkshire, said: "It is a real shame for bus users in West Yorkshire that they have chosen to pursue an expensive, bureaucratic approach, rather than engage with operators on our plans which will quickly deliver benefits for passengers.
"Quality contracts are completely untried and we believe they will cost council tax payers money they don't have at the moment."
The plans will be put out to public consultation.

Re-design for 'Loop'

Go North East have been re-designing their 'Loop' livery and Steven Hodgson has sent us the following pictures of the new design.

The 93 and 94 'Loop' services run every 15 minutes, linking Gateshead Interchange, Gateshead College, Heworth Metro and Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as Retail World.

 All pictures © Steven Hodgson

Friday, 22 June 2012

London Bus Workers to Strike

Bus workers from 17 companies will go-ahead with a 24-hour strike in London despite an injunction, a union said.
Arriva, Metroline and Go Ahead applied for the court injunction, which was granted, and their workers have been told not to strike on Friday.
But union members at the other firms plan to walk out in a row over a £500 bonus for working during the Olympics.
Mayor Boris Johnson said the strike was "enormously frustrating". TfL said services "might be quite affected".
The strike is due to start from 03:00 BST today.
Unite had called for the bonus to be paid to its 20,000 members, in line with extra pay deals agreed with train companies.
The three companies who went to court account for 15-20% of London's bus routes, providing services in north-west and south London.
TfL Commissioner Peter Hendy, said these companies and the routes they operate would be running as normal, but about the rest of the network he said: "It might be quite affected."
Unite's regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: "Bus workers across the vast majority of London's bus network will be on strike.
"This comes despite an injunction which was given without any proper explanation.
"Granting an injunction in the face of a massive vote for strike action is an affront to democracy. We will appeal [against] this anti-democratic decision."
Talks broke down Arriva spokesman Francis King said the legal action centred on the legality of Unite's ballot process.
Granting the injunction, Mr Justice Supperstone said: "The principal issue is whether there has been compliance with the statutory ballot and strike notice provisions.

  • London United
  • London Sovereign
  • Stagecoach East
  • Stagecoach Rainham
  • Stagecoach Selkent
  • Arriva North
  • Arriva South
  • First Capital
  • First Centre West
  • London Central
  • Abellio West
  • Abellio South
  • Metrobus
  • Docklands
  • Blue Triangle
  • CT Plus
  • Arriva Southern Counties
"In my judgment, the likelihood is that the claimants will succeed in establishing at trial that the union did not comply with the statutory requirements."
Talks between the bus operators and the union aimed at halting Friday's planned strike action broke down at the conciliation service Acas earlier.
On Wednesday the mayor announced that the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) had offered £8.3m in a bid to avert action.
Unite said it "cautiously welcomed" the offer. It blamed the failure of the talks at Acas on TfL's and bus operators' refusal to negotiate a meaningful settlement.
The £8.3m is in addition to £91m the ODA gave to TfL to cover the additional costs of running extra services during the Olympics, including bonus pay deals agreed with rail workers.
Deals have been announced giving workers at Heathrow Express £700, Network Rail £500, Docklands Light Railway £900, London Overground £600 and London Underground at least £850, Unite said.
Unite estimates it would cost £14m to provide a £500 bonus for every bus driver.
But following the announcement the strike would go ahead, Mr Johnson said: "It is extremely frustrating that it now appears inevitable that there will be a bus strike in large parts of London tomorrow and I have made it clear that there is large sums of cash to compensate drivers for the extra work they my be doing on some routes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"But that cash is only available to staff who turn up for work tomorrow. There is a large amount of money on the table, there's been ample time for the companies and Unite to get their act together and sort it out."
Mr Hendy said: "As I understand it, the bus companies made three offers to supplement this with more of their own money, but the Unite leadership have refused to budge from their position of £500 after tax for everybody, and indeed have asked for more during the course of the negotiations.
"The union leadership have also refused to defer the strike to give time for further negotiations or for any of the offers to be put to their members."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Olympic Torch Travels by Train

The Olympic flame has been carried on 46115 'Scots Guardsman', for the journey from York's National Railway Museum to Thirsk.
It was originally planned that 'Flying Scotsman' was to be used but further work is required to the engine before it can enter service again.

Fast Charging Electric Buses

Britain's first fast-charging electric buses have been launched this week.
Three of them are going to transport passengers through Coventry in the city's park and ride scheme.
The buses have been part funded through the government's Green Bus Fund.
The BBC's Business Correspondent, Emma Simpson, has been given a sneak preview of how they work.

Link from Tony Wilson

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Peak Park Preserved Bus Gathering 2012



There are at present three sets of photographs of this event on FocusonFlickr
Click HereHere  & Here

Arriva Launches Rainy Days Out Campaign

With the UK’s summer turning into a damp squib, following the wettest April on record for 100 years and forecasters predicting wet and windy weather for the entire month of June, Arriva buses has launched a national appeal this week, aimed at helping members of the public beat the Great British weather.
Arriva is creating a special country-wide guide to Rainy Days Out in Britain in a bid to help avoid the wet weather putting a dampener on people’s spirits. The guide will feature destinations and attractions that can be reached by hopping on board an Arriva bus.
And Arriva is appealing for members of the public of all ages from up-and-down the country to rally together and help make the guide happen by sharing their rainy days out suggestions via email at or by calling 0845 270 1660. The Rainy Days Out guide will build on Arriva buses’ set of ‘town guides’, which are packed with local activities and events recommended by members of the public.

Railfest 3 & GCR

The Following pictures were taken recently at the Great Central Railway in Loughbrough

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

York launches city-wide single bus ticket

Travellers using more than one bus operator's service in York will be able to purchase a single ticket for the whole of their journey.
The Labour-run council said the introduction of the new ticket follows months of negotiations between it and nine local bus operators.
Launched on 1 July, the All York ticket will be valid on all services.
The authority said it was also working to replace paper-based tickets with a single electronic smart ticket.
 The launch of the 'All York' ticket builds on the council's commitment to 'Get York Moving' and to improve the city's public transport services.

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Planning, Sustainability and Transport, said: "One of the commitments of 'Get York Moving' was to introduce a single ticket that could be used on all operators' bus services, and this is now just about to become a reality.
"So, this event is a first milestone, following many months of negotiations, on the road towards a simpler, more user friendly bus service for York. It will be the first time a single ticket can be used on all local services, and will give all working age residents a new alternative to the car for many more local trips".
The 'All York' ticket can be purchased on any bus in the city and will go on sale from Sunday 1 July.
Two products will be launched on this date:
  • All York Day (£5 - adult day ticket)
  • All York Family (£10 - a day ticket valid for up to five people, maximum two adults)
The 'All York adult day ticket is to be launched at an introductory price of £4.50 which represents excellent value and is significantly cheaper than buying return tickets with two different bus operators.
York bus operators include:
  • Arriva
  • Coastliner
  • East Yorkshire Motor Services
  • Eddie Brown Tours
  • First York
  • Harrogate Coach Travel
  • Reliance
  • Stephensons of Easingwold
  • Utopia

Monday, 18 June 2012

Double Success at the 2012 Scottish Transport Awards

Stagecoach Group and ComfortDelGro celebrated double success at the 2012 Scottish Transport Awards as their coach operations scooped two top awards.
Scottish Citylink - a joint venture between Stagecoach and international transport group ComfortDelGro – won one of the most sought-after awards as it was named Bus Operator of the Year at the Glasgow awards ceremony.
And the groundbreaking overnight sleeper coach service, which is also part of the Scottish Citylink joint venture, came out on top in the Innovation Transport Project of the Year category at the industry event.
Scottish Citylink – which was shortlisted for a total of five awards at the event – impressed judges with its strong performance in delivering good customer satisfaction levels and increased patronage. The company provides inter-city coach services to more than 200 destinations across the country with more than 400 services every day, carrying more than 4million passengers a year.
In 2010, Scottish Citylink launched its luxury Gold network from Glasgow to Aberdeen and Inverness with journey times which rival the train and car travel. Surveys found that 96% of passengers were satisfied or very satisfied with the service and that almost a third of those travelling would previously have used the car for the same journey. Scottish Citylink also plays an integral role in major Scottish events, providing transport for thousands of passengers to worldwide music festivals such as T in the Park and Rockness..
The overnight sleeper coach service became the first service of its kind in the UK when it was launched in October last year. The sleeper coach provides a direct, non-stop service between Glasgow and London and provides passengers with a bunk bed to sleep in as well as a normal seat. Tickets for the service cost between £1 and £40 (plus 50p booking fee) and features include free wi-fi, tea and coffee, a reading light in each bunk and a complimentary overnight kit including a toothbrush and eyemask.
Scottish Citylink and General Manager Ian Laing said: “We are thrilled to win two such high-profile awards and I would like to thank all of our staff who are at the heart of delivering coach services for our customers.
“Through innovative ideas and affordable fares, we are proving that coach travel is a high-quality, fast and comfortable alternative to the car and we will continue to work hard to attract even more people on to our greener, smarter coach services.”
Earlier this year, Stagecoach Group was named Company of the Year at the 2012 Scottish Business Awards. In addition, the Group won the Environment Award at the 2011 UK Bus Awards and was named the Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year at the 2011 Low Carbon Champions Awards.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

ex York Ftrs on Route 72 linking Leeds and Bradford

FirstGroup is understood to be on the brink of redeploying its fleet of Ftr trambuses from its Yorkshire fleets on a single corridor in West Yorkshire.

The initial fleet of Wright StreetCar vehicles were withdrawn from use in York earlier this year as part of an agreement made with the city’s new Labour-led administration.
However, at a meeting this week of West Yorkshire’s ITA executive board it was revealed that the existing Leeds Ftr fleet, which is used on Route 4 linking Pudsey with Leeds and Seacroft, will be withdrawn and redeployed with the York Ftrs on Route 72 linking Leeds and Bradford.
The corridor is identified in the Leeds City Region Transport Strategy as one of the most important in the region. A present it generates a high public transport modal share with 34% of trips to work taken by bus.

“Over the last 18 months the frequency of the service has increased from three buses per hour to eight and a significant growth in patronage has occurred as a result,” wrote Kieran Preston, the director general of Metro, the West Yorkshire PTE.
He said that the introduction of Ftr on the corridor will see frequencies enhanced once again to every seven minutes, with the vehicles sporting branding that will reflect their status as a key link between the two cities.
“It is proposed to enter in to a partnership agreement whereby First will agree to keeping the vehicles on the corridor and introduce further enhancements subject to patronage growth,” Preston added.
A three-phase investment plan for the corridor has been developed by First, Metro and the respective local authorities. Alongside vehicle refurbishment, this will include staff training, joint marketing, smart ticketing initiatives and infrastructure works to accomodate the vehicles.
A spokesman for First said that the group was currently drawing up plans for “the next stage in the lifecycle of the StreetCar vehicles in the north region”.
“We look forward to sharing our vision with our customers and other interested parties,” he added.

Tony Wilson

London Bus Workers to Strike

Thousands of bus drivers in London will go on 24-hour strike next Friday, in a dispute over pay during the Olympics, the Unite union has announced.
The strike will start at 03:00 BST on Friday, 22 June and last until 03:00 BST on Saturday, 23 June.
The union has demanded every bus driver should get a £500 bonus in line with other transport workers.
Transport for London (TfL) said it was a matter for the bus companies but has called the action "reprehensible".
The union said it could not rule out further strikes during the Olympics.
'Massive' workload Unite regional secretary for London, Peter Kavanagh, said: "London buses will come to a standstill for the first time in a generation across London on 22 June.
"The blame lies squarely with the bus operators and TfL.
"The bus companies haven't met with Unite once to discuss bus workers' extra contribution to the Olympic Games and TfL has refused to intervene."
The union said more than 20,000 workers should receive a £500 bonus to recognise the "massive increase" in workload during the Games.
It added bus workers were the only London transport workers not receiving an award for their extra effort during the Olympics.
Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: "We remain clear that this is a matter that must be resolved between the private bus operating companies and the bus workers they employ.
"We urge both parties to seek a resolution as soon as possible.
"Everyone wants a successful Olympic Games this summer and this action is the wrong approach at a time when London is preparing to welcome visitors from around the world to the capital."
 The last London-wide bus strike took place in 1982.

Focus Comment   It is disappointing that TfL are refusing to play a part in this situation. There is every reason why they should call a meeting between the bus companies and the employees.
Deals have been announced giving workers at Heathrow Express £700, Network Rail £500, Docklands Light Railway £900, London Overground £600 and London Underground at least £850.
David Gambles

Saturday, 16 June 2012


The Designline battery buses previously operated by Stagecoach on the QuayLink service in Newcastle and Gateshead are on the move. Unfortunately at the back of a recovery lorry.
 So far seven of the buses have been moved to the storage compound. Six are seen here in the compound, the one with a number plate is VX04 MZG the original demonstrator which was tried at various Stagecoach depots prior to the other nine arriving to fulfil the QuayLink contract. At this point it lost the Stagecoach livery but retained the Stagecoach interior trim. There are other details differences between this vehicle and the remainder of the fleet, which all came with 05 registration numbers.
The ten hybrid buses are owned jointly by Nexus, the Tyne and Wear PTE and Gateshead council and were taken out of service almost two years ago when the QuayLink contract was lost by Stagecoach to Go North East. Stagecoach were persuaded to try them on other routes in the Newcastle area but they were found to be just as unreliable as they had been when operated on the Quaylink services and they have languished in the Stagecoach Walkergate depot ever since. 
It was rumoured that a company called Nexgen had acquired the vehicles to convert them from hybrid power to battery power but all seemed to have gone quiet until last weeks move away from the Stagecoach depot to a Tyneside storage compound.
A search has revealed the following information on a Nexgen website page which talks of the principles of the proposed conversion. but no timetable is included.
We will keep you informed of any further progress.

David Gambles

Friday, 15 June 2012

Richard Smith

Richard Smith. 1949-2012

It is with great sadness to report the death of Richard Smith, he died on Monday (11/6/2012) teatime of a heart attack. He was a well known character working for Stagecoach Chesterfield as a travel clerk in the coach station.
I first encountered Richard over twenty years ago when the then East Midland were operating a Routemaster on route 72 to Meadowhall and he was conducting, he had lightened the journey by telling humorous anecdotes. 
Richard was an avid collector of photos and models of buses he had just that morning taken delivery of the EFE model of Chesterfield’s 34720. Our sympathy to his family. I will miss him.
Colin Sellers

Stephen Read, Operations Manager, Stagecoach Chesterfield, had this to say about Richard.

Richard loved his job with East Midland, achieving around 40 years service before retiring through ill health about 18 months ago.  Richard was held in very high regard by all those who knew him, and loved by his customers, many of whom would call into the Coach Station to simply say hello.  He held a wealth of knowledge about the services operated by not just Stagecoach but other operators in the region, often being able to give the details to an enquiry without the need to even check the timetable and was a valued member of the Chesterfield team.
I particularly enjoyed listening to Richard talk about his experiences whilst conducting, especially when he talked at length about the fleet of Lowlanders.  On the few occasions he came into my office, the old photo's I have on my wall would always evoke so many memories for him and I always felt a special pleasure to be privileged to share these memories.
Richard will be greatly missed.

The funeral is on Thursday 21st June at the
Chesterfield Crematorium  10:50am 

Arriva sees m-ticket journeys pass three million mark

Arriva UK Bus has seen the rate of mobile sales triple since launching its m-ticketing technology in 2009 as it appears UK bus users are readily using their phone to buy tickets.
As smart phones become more prevalent the company has seen the uptake of m-ticketing rapidly increase. It took 18 months for Arriva to register the first million bus trips via mobile, but the last million were made in just five months.
Mike Woodhouse, marketing manager – Arriva UK Bus, said: “We have now had more than three million journeys made on our buses using m-tickets and we predict that, as usage continues to increase, by the end of 2012 we will pass through the five million barrier.”
All Arriva buses are able to accept visual mobile tickets, using an m-ticket app that customers show display to the driver. In addition, Arriva is currently installing new state of the art Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs) within the entire UK Bus fleet, all of which are enabled to process ITSO smart cards, which is the preferred system by the Department for Transport.
Mike added: “The next step is to provide even more information to our passengers, including via mobile channels. A third of visits to our website are now from mobile handsets, so we must ensure that we provide the British public with a simple system that meets their requirements. In future, transport companies must look to supply not only their own tickets, but multi-operator and multi-modal as well; so whether its bus, train or tram, the technology delivers.”
“Going forward we are committed to developing Arriva’s offer and deliver even more power to our customer’s fingertips. Our aim is to make our mobile app a one-stop-shop, which not only provides pricing and purchasing, but full access to timetables, route information, offers, and real-time tracking of their bus.”

London to Penzance "sleeper" train service is safe for at least 15 years

THE vital London to Penzance "sleeper" train service is safe for at least 15 years, the Government has confirmed.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has allayed fears the overnight service would be scrapped by revealing it will be included in the new Great Western franchise.
It comes after a visit to Looe in South East Cornwall this week where Ms Villiers backed calls from Plymouth leaders for better rail services to the city from London, as reported in The Herald.
Campaigners feared a repeat of controversy in 2006 when the "night riviera" service narrowly escaped the axe.
Ms Villiers acknowledged the sleeper is vital to business commuters, spending a full working day in the capital.
She said: "I am delighted to be able to announce that the Paddington to Penzance sleeper service will be included in the new franchise agreements.
"I know how important the sleeper is for the economy of Cornwall and Devon, a point made strongly to me by local MPs."
Whichever company secures the Great Western deal after it expires next year will have to lay on a sleeper even if it is loss-making.
Westcountry MPs lobbied ministers to press the case to preserve the service after indications in a consultation document that its future was at risk.
The link is one of only two sleepers in the UK and stops at most mainline stations in the region.
Leaving the capital at 11.45pm, the train, which includes one and two-bed compartments, arrives in Plymouth at 4.02am and Penzance at 7.53am.
In the other direction, it gets into Paddington before 5.30am.
After train operator First exercised a break clause in the contract, the franchise will be put out to tender this year with the new operator taking charge of services throughout the South West from April.
The sleeper commitment represents the first demand the Government will make of bidders when it tenders the 15-year contract.

Link from Tony Wilson

Thursday, 14 June 2012

New Oldham Tram Line Opens

Yesterday 13th June, passengers travelled on the new Oldham Metrolink service for the first time.
The long awaited service runs between Manchester Victoria and Oldham Mumps taking 25 minutes to complete the journey.
Initially trams will run every 12 minutes, but as passenger loadings increase the service will be increased to run every 6 minutes
The new Oldham line is part of a £1.6bn expansion to the Metrolink service.

The long-awaited service from Manchester Victoria to Oldham Mumps began at 5,24am and has been running smoothly all morning. Metrolink officials said there had been no reports of any delays or disruptions to the service.

Read more at:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Royal Bus Rally

A new rally took place recently at St Helen Auckland, organised by the Eden Bus Company and as it was held on the Jubilee weekend it was called the The Royal Bus Rally. The company is based at the Garage, Staindrop Road, West Auckland.
Thanks to John Colquhoun for sending us the following pictures.

New to the rally scene was FUN 319 a rare Crossley coach belonging to Wrights of Alston just having had a
restoration said to have taken ten years
Impressive line up of Bristol L's
NVK 341 AEC Regent back on the rally scene after an absence of some years due to engine work being required
Leyland Leopard PSU/Alexander. Built 1963. This is an ex-Venture Transport coach, one of a fleet which passed to Northern General Transport at the takeover of the Venture company. It has recently returned to the road following extensive restoration. The other vehicle is an unidentified Bristol LH.
Two vehicles showing the popular Northumbria livery that existed between 1986 and 1996
The 500 Group brought their 1973 Fleetline JDC 544L
 Line up of ex United vehicles
 Leyland Nationals also attended and here we see YFY 4M which is ex Southport Corporation
All pictures © John Colquhoun

Tuesday, 12 June 2012