Wednesday 28 February 2018

London Guided Busway Proposals

London Guided Bus – Project Summary

The proposed scheme The proposal is for a new busway using kerb guidance just like the busways in Cambridgeshire and connecting Luton and Dunstable to provide a fast and congestion-free route for buses and coaches from the M1 motorway and the North Circular Road near Staples Corner to Central London at Marylebone Station. You can download the route map from the downloads section on this page.
The proposition is to use the land next to the railway between Marylebone Station and Finchley Road and alongside the Midland Main Line (MML) between West Hampstead and Brent Cross to construct a two-way kerb guided busway.
There will be connections to the local road network at Marylebone to enable buses and coaches to continue their journeys to the West End and the City. One possible addition to the proposed scheme is the creation of a new coach terminal over the railway at or near Marylebone Station.

click to enlarge

Rationale for the scheme

The starting point  was the belief that guided bus is a valuable form of high capacity transit that has not yet been exploited to its full potential in the United Kingdom. This high capacity solution will be valuable in creating a route through Central London. The proposed scheme also takes a different approach to the schemes in Cambridge and Luton by using land beside operational railways to accommodate the busway with minimal impact on the operation or capacity of rail passenger services.
The inspiration for the proposed Busway scheme came from New York where the Lincoln Toll Tunnel and the ‘Exclusive Bus Lane’ or ‘XBL’ connects New Jersey with Manhattan. The Lincoln Tunnel feeds buses directly into New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street and the XBL caters for around 1,700 buses carrying 62,000 passengers during a typical morning peak period.
The ‘go anywhere’ ability of buses fitted with kerb guide wheels to operate on guided busways and in steered mode on roads gives a high degree of route flexibility. This is best illustrated by reference to the guided busway in Adelaide, Australia where buses from different outer suburbs funnel into the guided busway and where, at the inner city end of the busway, buses are able to take different routes to city centre terminal points.
The expectation is that the substantial time savings that could be achieved by buses and coaches would provide a much more attractive service that would, in turn, attract more patronage and revenue whilst also enabling resource savings by operators.

The benefits

  • It provides new market opportunities for commuter buses and coaches to tap demands that are not met by existing rail passenger services and London Underground services.
  • It provides an opportunity to re-cast London Bus Services in the North West sector of the capital to exploit the shorter and predictable journey times provided by the Busway to deliver faster journey times between Outer North West London and Central London.
  • It provides scope for longer distance coach park and ride services from communities in the northern Home Counties and South Midlands.
  • It offers much improved accessibility through the extensive range of inter-modal interchange opportunities at Brent Cross.
  • It offers more predictability and shorter journey times than buses' and coach operators can exploit to deliver resource savings.
An initial estimate of implementation cost together with an economic appraisal of the scheme has been provided following DfT WebTag guidance as far as is possible at this stage of development of the project. This yielded a benefit/cost ratio indicating that the scheme offers good value for money despite the high cost per route mile reflecting the scale of civil engineering works, the number of structures required, and the complexities of construction work alongside and across busy ‘live’ railways.


The proposals have been discussed with Transport for London, Westminster City Council, the London Borough of Barnet, the London Borough of Camden, the London Borough of Brent, members of the Brent Cross – Cricklewood regeneration team, Network Rail, the Highways Agency and Stagecoach UK Bus.

Our objective

The case study has been worked up to a level of detail sufficient to demonstrate that it could be implemented and to enable initial estimates of implementation cost and benefit/cost ratio. The work to date has been funded by one person and that has limited the level of detail provided. It is hoped that the case presented so far will generate sufficient interest for the project to be developed and taken forward to the next stage of development by the public sector.

click for more information

Point of Contact


The next album of pictures from the North East is now on the flickr site and focuses upon buses and coaches in Durham City. These can now be viewed by clicking  here

Tuesday 27 February 2018

New Leeds Euro VI StreetDecks in Service

First Leeds, one of the city’s largest bus operators, has introduced their new Wright StreetDeck ultra-low emission vehicles into service.
By 1st April 2018, 34 new ultra-low emission “Euro VI” vehicles will be seen along the Headingley bus routes (1 and 6 services). All new vehicles will incorporate enhanced passenger facilities including next stop audio announcements, USB charging points and free Wi-Fi – as well as a new “LeedsCity” external branding which was designed by Best Impressions. 

The new vehicles form part of First Leeds’s commitment to invest £71m in 284 new ultra-low emission buses for Leeds by the end of 2020.
Speaking about the new vehicles, Martin Hirst, Commercial Director at First Leeds, said: “As one of the major bus operators in the city we understand the vital role we play in helping to find solutions to reduce air pollution and so we’re proud to announce the arrival of the latest ultra-low emission vehicles into Leeds.
“All of our new vehicles have Euro VI engines, which are not only compliant with the Leeds Clean Air Zone proposal, but also offer significant reductions in the most harmful pollutants, such as Nitrogen Oxide and are in fact 95 per cent cleaner than some of the vehicles that the new buses will replace.
“Customers will also notice a change in the colour of our new buses, which we have branded ‘LeedsCity

The new livery was designed by Best Impressions. 
Our aim with introducing a new livery for these vehicles is to help customers identify them, as they will all serve the high frequency Headingley bus services and are ultimately, the best vehicles that we have available, right now.”
First Leeds launched the new vehicles on services 1 and 6 to Headingley from 26th February, with all 34 vehicles expected to be in service by 1st April 2018.


Monday 26 February 2018

Serco Might Give Up the Caledonian Sleeper Service

Serco, which operates the Caledonian Sleeper services has announced that it may need to give up the contract following large losses. The company took over running the night sleeper trains to and from London in 2015, last week revealed it had taken a £30 million hit on the franchise as a result of a “sharp increase in costs”.

The terms of the sleeper contract means Serco can try and get the taxpayer to pay for half of its losses from 2020 but the outsourcing giant also warned it may seek an early exit from the 15-year franchise.
It comes just weeks after it was announced the UK East Coast franchise deal will end early and comes amid continuing performance and financial problems for ScotRail franchise holder, Abellio.
Transport minister Humza Yousaf, who earlier this month flew to the Netherlands for crunch talks with Abellio, has written to MSPs to say he is monitoring the situation closely,
Delays to the delivery of new sleeper carriages were blamed for the net £30.6m unrecoverable loss reported by Serco in its latest accounts.
The firm said it would be “examining every option for reducing operating costs” on the trains between London Euston and Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen.
Serco noted in its accounts that from 2020 the franchise agreement provides “a mechanism that requires Transport Scotland to bear 50% of contract losses” and also warned that from 2022 the deal can be altered to result in a “positive profit margin” for Serco or the firm can walk away.
Scotrail operator Abellio posted a £3.5m loss last year and took a £10m loan from its Dutch parent company amid a raft of problems facing the ScotRail franchise.
The firm is said to be continuing to slash spending to try and recoup its losses.
Last month Transport Secretary Chris Grayling admitted the UK Government needs to rethink the way it awards rail franchises, following the announcement that Virgin East Coast will walk away from the contract to run inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line three years early.
 87002 at Glasgow Central waiting to depart with the
Caledonian Sleeper empty stock
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Losses in the early years of rail franchises in the UK are not unusual, whereby early investment is recovered later in the franchise term.
“Officials have been working with Serco to understand their position more fully, and to learn more about their forward planning.
“More widely, our consistent view over many years is that there ought to be a level playing field between the private and public sector in bidding for rail franchises and we are working to enable a public sector bid for Scotland’s railways in the future.”
A Serco spokesman said the firm remain fully committed to its franchise and said the sharp increase in the estimated costs related to the delayed introduction and operation of the new sleeper service.


The first of several albums that focus on buses in the North East of England has now been placed on the site. It features buses at the Metrocentre in Gateshead, during a very wet couple of hours last Monday. The images can be viewed by clicking  here

Sunday 25 February 2018

Go Ahead Half Year Report

The Go Ahead Group have published their Half Year trading report which they say is a good set of results.

The bus operations have performed as anticipated and full year expectations for the division remain unchanged. In rail, GTR and Southeastern are trading in line with our expectations, while a better than expected trading performance towards the end of the London Midland franchise, combined with gains realised on the sale of the franchise's assets, have resulted in an increase in full year expectations for the rail division.

Business overview

•   Good first half performance; full year expectations increase, due to one-off rail benefits
•   Bus division results stable and in line with expectations - operating profit of £46.6m (H1'17: £46.4m)
•   Rail division results ahead of expectations for the half year - reported operating profit of £40.3m (H1'17: £26.6m), including one-off rail benefits
•    GTR/Southeastern - no change to full year expectations, first half outperformance due to phasing of contractual settlements
•    London Midland - strong trading performance until franchise end in December 2017 and £6.4m one-off profit on sale of assets
•   Mobilisation of Dublin bus contract and three German rail contracts is progressing well ahead of respective 2018 and 2019 start dates
•   Strong bid pipeline in our target international markets over next few years
•   Interim dividend maintained at 30.17p
•   Continued focus on making travel simpler by introducing new payment options and channels including flat fares, fare capping, and contactless payments
•   Applying our 30-years of experience to influence stakeholders and Government on the importance of bus in reducing congestion and improving air-quality, and the value private companies bring through the delivery of customer-focused public-sector transport services
•   Progress in all three Group strategic objectives: protect and grow the core, win new bus and rail contracts and develop for future transport needs

Southeastern Trains in line with expectations

David Brown, Group Chief Executive, commented:

"I'm pleased to report a good set of half year results. Our bus operations have performed as anticipated and our full year expectations for the division remain unchanged. In rail, GTR and Southeastern are trading in line with our expectations, while a better than expected trading performance towards the end of the London Midland franchise, combined with gains realised on the sale of the franchise's assets, have resulted in an increase in our full year expectations for the rail division.
"During the period we have delivered improvements to support our strategy and deliver benefits to passengers. In bus, we've introduced new technology, like implementing contactless payments and piloting iBeacon apps, making it quicker and easier to pay for travel. Our regional bus customer satisfaction score of 90% remains the highest in the UK.  In rail, while we acknowledge there is more to do, we've delivered improved reliability in GTR, leading to increased customer satisfaction, with the Thameslink route achieving 83% satisfaction - the highest in the network's history. On Southern services, 36% fewer cancellations occurred in the four weeks to 6 January 2018 than in the same period last year,
"Our international strategy has continued with the mobilisation of new contracts in German rail and Dublin bus and bidding for work in all our target markets. We have also made progress in line with our strategy to prepare for the future of transport with some new initiatives, such as commercialising our retail and ticketing expertise and making a small investment in a German car-sharing business.
"Our established bus and rail businesses continue to demonstrate the value private companies bring through the delivery of customer-focused public-sector transport services. By innovating and adapting our operations, we believe we can protect and grow our core business and by building on our skills and experience in the UK we are able to develop new international businesses and prepare for the future of transport by creating new product offerings for a new set of customers. We are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver value to customers, colleagues, society and shareholders over the long-term."

Saturday 24 February 2018

Elizabeth LineTrains Run from Paddington for Testing

A brand new Class 345 train has run into Paddington for the first time and testing will now take place as far as Reading and Maidenhead.
TfL tweeted the news from the Elizabeth line's official Twitter account on Tuesday.
The line, named in honour of the Queen, is expected to open in phases just before Christmas with passengers set to use 10 new state of the art stations across London and the south east.
The first stage will see Paddington’s new Elizabeth Station open and link with Abbey Wood via central London.

The first Elizabeth line trains came into service in east London between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in June last year.

The first Elizabeth Line Tube roundels were recently installed at stations across the capital.
New images were released of the purple TfL signs at Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations ahead of Crossrail’s launch in December.
Crossrail, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, is 85 per cent complete and will run from Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
When fully open in 2019, it will increase central London's rail capacity by ten per cent, carrying over half a million passengers per day.
It will travel through 42km of tunnels under London and is expected to carry 200 million passengers per year.

Friday 23 February 2018

Greater Manchester Buses

Andy Burnham wants simple 'London-style' bus system in Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester should have a more simple, London-style, bus system within three years, Mayor Andy Burnham said.
He has promised to re-regulate bus services so that one organisation will oversee all routes and operators.

Regulation could mean set fares, the introduction of Oyster-style payment cards which allow travel on buses and trains, and more consistent branding.
"I get more complaints about the buses than anything else," Mr Burnham told BBC Radio Manchester.
"Yes, we will be moving ahead with the powers we have with plans to re-regulate the buses.
"We won't be putting the buses in public hands as the government has ruled that out. However we can have a regulated system like London.
Burnham ignores the fact that the London system is rapidly heading for disaster as income and passenger numbers dive. It is claimed that Transport for London is heading for annual losses of £968m.
In a leaked email to staff Transport for London says that after day-to-day operating costs, there's not enough money to pay for planned renewals to make assets last longer and there's no money to pay interest on money borrowed. The email says: "If this was our household budget, this would be the same as not having enough money left over from our salary each month to pay our interest-only mortgage or get our car serviced."

Criticising the current situation in Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham said: "We are going to have the same here (as in London). But it is going to be two or three years away - it is very complicated." 
Yes, it is Mr Burnham and the London model that these ideas are based on can no longer be used as the target to aim for. The days of London being held up as the shining example are fast disappearing. The London system has only survived on massive subsidies.
Councils also cannot afford to ignore traffic congestion which has a massive effect on bus running times. Reliable journey times play a big part in attracting and maintaining bus customers. No wonder "He gets more complaints about the buses than anything else" The buses get stuck in massive Manchester traffic jams. Burnham conveniently ignores the over use of the private car and instead blames the bus companies for problems caused by congestion. He realises that restricting the use of private transport within cities could be a massive vote looser so instead, pretends that it is the bus companies that are fault.

An estimated 210 million passenger bus journeys take place across Greater Manchester every year, accounting for 79% of all public transport journeys in the region. Buses need more priority measures and it is no longer acceptable to allow single occupancy cars to block up the roads in and out of cities.

Simple ticketing and fares

Transport for Greater Manchester would be charged with implementing any of the mayor's plans, needing a large team of expensive people, all on the payroll of the council. At the moment the bus companies pick up the bill for staff who run the services and who do a magnificent job, in spite of Manchester's traffic logged roads.
A spokesman said: "Greater Manchester needs a joined-up transport network, with simple fares and ticketing, that puts the passenger first and guarantees the best value ticket for their journey. The bus companies would be quite willing to work with Councils to develop and implement joint ticketing, all that is needed is sensible discussion and a true willingness on behalf of Councils to partner with bus companies.

The Bus Services Bill, passed in April, will in theory, allow transport authorities to introduce franchising and new partnership arrangements and to offer multi-operator ticketing services.
Burnham seems to be ignoring the partnership idea and is pushing for absolute control for political reasons. Nexus found out in Tyneside that it is not necessarily the best way to go, £Millions were spent trying to convince everyone that franchising was the way forward. Questionable figures were submitted in a desperate attempt by those who should have known better, all to no avail. They were found out and exposed in the media.
So, Mr Burnham be very careful about making false claims, a sensible look at partnerships is highly recommended before going totally down the 'franchising only' option.
It is rumoured that £11.5 million is heading its way to Manchester to study bus franchising, wow, just think of what that could achieve in the 'real world'. May we suggest that it would be better spent on sorting out traffic congestion and if there's any cash left over maybe fill a fill a few million potholes?

Thursday 22 February 2018

Clean Bus Funding - Latest Awards

Funding will be awarded to 20 local authorities as part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund, which was launched in 2017 and is run by the Joint Air Quality Unit.

 Nottingham have won funding to convert 171 vehicles
To win awards, local authorities had to show evidence that the technology would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by at least 50%. The buses will be fitted with exhaust gas treatment systems called selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and will be back on the roads after their upgrade. As part of the award, councils must continue to monitor the schemes and provide evidence of their effectiveness.
Speaking at the UK Bus Summit at London’s QEII Centre on 8 February 2018, Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani set out how the money will enable older vehicles to meet minimum emissions standards, and contribute to better air quality.
Speaking at the Bus Summit, Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said:
Buses and coaches are hugely important to those who rely on them and to the communities in which these people live and work.
Road transport is going to change dramatically over the next couple of decades – and we have to make sure that the bus industry is ready to benefit from those changes.
We have to move away from nose-to-tail car traffic at peak times, endless engine idling, stop-start travel and rising pollution and carbon emissions. Rather than contributing to the problem – buses and coaches very much form part of the solution.
The money will allow councils to retrofit vehicles with technology to reduce tailpipe emissions of nitrogen dioxide, as part of a drive to help ensure that more buses and coaches can contribute to improving air quality in UK cities.

Picture of Nusrat Ghani in front of the electric buses.

Environment Minister Therese Coffey said:
"Poor air quality affects public health, the economy and the environment, which is why we are determined to do more.
I am delighted to see so many high quality applications to the Clean Bus Technology Fund and, as a result, the government has decided to bring forward funding meaning that we will award nearly £40 million to retrofit more than 2,700 buses.
This is another way which the government is delivering on its commitment to improving the environment within a generation and leave it in a better state than we found it."

 Funding for 43 vehicle conversions has been awarded to Newcastle
The Department for Transport will use the Bus Services Act as a way of encouraging councils and bus companies to look at measures to encourage the public to use buses.
In 2016, government invested £30 million through the Low Emission Bus Scheme, which helped put over 300 new low emission buses on the roads, with a further £11 million and 150 buses being announced in 2017.

 75 Vehicles will be modified in Leeds

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Rival Isles of Scilly Helicopter Service Announced

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has announced that it will launch its new helicopter service from Land’s End airport to the islands in May.

Named Island Helicopters, the new 10-seater helicopter will run year-round, six days a week and with eight return flights a day to the islands of St Mary’s and Tresco. However, the news has split opinion among the islanders, who were already expecting a new service to launch this spring from Penzance, financed by Robert Dorrien-Smith, whose family estate is leased on Tresco island by the Duchy of Cornwall.
Dorrien-Smith has been behind plans to launch Penzance Heliport since 2016. He criticised the Steamship Company, which also runs the islands’ ferry and plane services, accusing it of monopolising the transport infrastructure, while also arguing that Land’s End is an unsuitable location for a heliport.
The previous helicopter service, which ended in 2012, was forced to move from Land’s End to Penzance after a year due to unreliable weather conditions.
“The near sea-level location of the Penzance Heliport site is the keystone to reinstating a reliable, weather-resilient helicopter service to the Isles of Scilly,” said Dorrien-Smith. “Land’s End airport – which suffers disruption on one in every four days each year – is the problem, not the solution.”
He added: “Today’s announcement sadly signals no more than one company tightening its stranglehold further on these islands. It is a blatant attempt to retain a monopoly that is not working in the interests of these islands.”
Andrew May, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said: “We know there is demand from thousands of people who have really missed the helicopter. We’ve listened to that demand, investigated what we believe can work, and have partnered with Specialist Aviation Services (SAS) to make it happen. This gives visitors and islanders more choice over how they travel and makes the transport network more resilient, which is exactly what our customers say they want.”
He added that it plans to fly to St Mary’s airport and Tresco, and the company is renewing its offer to Tresco to establish the route. The Tresco Estate said it had not received any contact from the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, so could not comment on if the route will be operating to the island.
Demand for a helicopter service has been high since the last one stopped six years ago after almost 50 years in operation. When Penzance Heliport put its first planning proposal forward to Cornwall Council in 2017, it received 2,600 messages of support – a record for a planning application.
The helicopter was considered a vital connection in instances of emergency, as well as being a popular tourist attraction in its own right, with many visitors to the islands considering the short flight part of the experience of a trip to the isles. Tourism currently makes up more than 80% of the local economy.
Being able to fly in low visibility, it also offered a more resilient transport connection to the mainland than a plane, which can be disrupted by poor weather. The ferry service stops in winter, from November to March, meaning poor weather sometimes leave islanders stranded.
Beth Hilton, editor of local community magazine and news website Scilly Now and Then, said: “There was real concern about the islands’ increased isolation and vulnerability, particularly regarding medical access. Most locals are very enthusiastic about a helicopter service, although feelings about who should provide it are mixed. There are some reservations about it running from Land’s End in case the same visibility issues would apply to the helicopter as the plane, so most feel it would be better in Penzance.”

Tuesday 20 February 2018

A380 future Secured by Emirates Order

Firming up an earlier Memorandum of Understanding, Emirates has now signed a contract for 20 additional A380s with an option for a further 16.

The $16bn (£11.5bn) deal amounts to a reprieve for the A380 after Airbus threatened to stop making the jet if it could not come to a deal with Emirates.
Emirates is the only airline to have put the A380 at the heart of its operations and had been expected to place an order for more of the jets at the Dubai Airshow last November.
However, it then ordered 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners instead.

Emirates said it had now made a firm order for 20 of the A380, the world's largest passenger airliner, with options to buy a further 16. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020.
Emirates is already the largest customer for the plane, with 101 currently flying and 41 more firm orders previously placed.
Recently, Airbus sales director John Leahy said the company would have to halt the A380 programme if Emirates did not place another order.

Monday 19 February 2018

German Cities to Offer Free Public Transport

The German government is planning to trial free public transport in cities suffering from air pollution, as Angela Merkel’s administration scrambles to meet EU pollution rules and avoid fines.

Five cities – Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Reutlingen and Mannheim – will benefit from the trial “at the end of the year at the latest” according to proposals drawn up by the Federal government.
German and British ministers were among those countries’ summoned to Brussels last month to explain to the European Commission why they had continued to break EU rules on toxic air pollution and what they would do to fix the problem.

“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” a letter sent to the European Commission by German ministers says.
“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” the ministers added.
The letter also contains other proposals to cut pollution support for car-sharing schemes, low emissions zones in cities, and restrictions on the emissions that fleet vehicles such as buses can produce.

The state-run railway operator Deutsche Bahn sells an annual season ticket covering all trains running throughout the whole of Germany, the BahnCard 100, for €4,270 (£3,802) – lower than the price of many single line season tickets in Britain.
If the countries, which also include Spain, France and Italy, fail to come up with proposals they face infringement procedures from the European Commission, which could result in hefty fines for breaking EU law.

Sunday 18 February 2018

Heathrow Rail Link

A proposed new direct rail link from the West to Heathrow will improve journeys to Britain’s busiest airport and help increase economic productivity in the Thames Valley


As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan the Department for Transport asked for development plans to build a new rail tunnel to link the Great Western Mainline to London Heathrow Terminal 5. The proposed rail connection would speed up journeys to Britain’s busiest international airport, by allowing passengers to travel to the airport from the South Coast, South West, South Wales and West Midlands without going into London Paddington.


Benefits for passengers

  • Reduce rail journey times between Reading and Heathrow (by approximately 35 minutes).
  • Direct trains between Reading, Slough and Heathrow (approximate journey time from Reading will be 26 minutes).
  • More travel options for leisure and business travellers to London Heathrow, as well as the thousands of employees who work at the airport.
  • Reduced congestion at London Paddington.


Wider benefits

  • Estimated £800m of economic activity in Britain, including additional economic benefits for the region.
  • Create potential for 42,000 new jobs.
  • Make CO2 savings equating to approximately 30 million road miles a year.
  • Give 20 per cent of the UK population access to Heathrow via one interchange.
  • Help to provide much needed congestion relief for the M4, M25 and M3 (55 per cent of journeys on the proposed service will be abstracted from the road).


Public consultation update

The first stage of informal consultation took place in 2015; the second formal phase in early 2016. This consultation confirmed strong support for the proposed scheme from national and local stakeholders, as well as providing detailed information on local needs.
Work is ongoing with the Department for Transport on the development plans, taking into account how best to integrate the scheme with other major infrastructure projects in the area, as well as responding to new environmental requirements affecting major infrastructure projects and considering the future growth needs of the Great Western Mainline and any Southern rail access proposals to Heathrow.
Final statutory public consultation is required in advance of planning permission being sought from the Secretary of State through a Development Consent Order (DCO). It is now anticipated that there will be a final statutory public consultation in late spring 2018.

Saturday 17 February 2018

London bus drivers' pay deal

'Landmark' deal for 25,000 London bus drivers

Bus drivers in London moving to another company will remain on the same pay grade under a "landmark" deal.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a "Licence for London", which he said would benefit the capital's 25,000 bus drivers.

It puts an end to the previous system where drivers moving to another bus company would get lower pay.
From now on, drivers will be guaranteed a pay grade equivalent to their level of service and experience.
The move follows a previous announcement of a minimum starting wage of £23,000 a year for drivers in all London bus companies.

Mr Khan said: "I'm delighted we're now addressing a situation where a driver with the same level of knowledge, skill and experience could get paid significantly less, simply for working on a different route or moving company.
"Today's announcement shows the real progress you can make when you talk and engage constructively with workers and trade unions, rather than looking for confrontation."
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "No longer will London's bus workers have to take a pay cut if they move operator and go to the bottom rung of the ladder.
"Before now, if a driver with 10 to 15 years' experience moved jobs they could end up being paid the same as someone new to the industry who had never driven a bus before."

Friday 16 February 2018

Transdev in York expansion

"New jobs created in North Yorkshire as we take over routes from Stephensons"

Press release from Transdev

There's great news for jobs and bus passengers in Malton, York and the wider county of North Yorkshire today, with the news that we have been awarded new contracts to replace services formerly run by a collapsed bus firm.
North Yorkshire County Council has confirmed that a package of bus services formerly run by Stephensons of Easingwold has been awarded to Transdev, and as a result, we'll run 2 daytime services and 3 school services under contract to the county council from Monday 19 February.
The award for the contract means that a rapid expansion of the driving team is required at our depot in York, with a new team of drivers required to run the new services.
Our CEO, Alex Hornby, said: “The announcement is great news, both for passengers and for the local economy. We're delighted that as a result of winning this contract, we'll be able to create new jobs at our depot on Hospital Fields Road in York. We'll be taking on a team of up to 4 new drivers to expand our current team and make sure we can provide a stable and high quality service on these routes.”
“We were delighted to welcome a number of former Stephensons drivers into the Transdev family following the collapse during January, and with the news that we'll be running these routes on a permanent basis, we're hoping to open our arms to more ex-Stephensons colleagues.
“We're also delighted for customers, as it ends uncertainty and secures their bus services after the previous operator went into liquidation.
“When that happened we stepped in straight away to take over some of the services involved, and we're delighted that in awarding these new contracts, the county council has recognised that we are in a position to operate and develop these services for the longer term.
The contract award will be complemented by the creation of an exciting new identity for buses across York and the wider county, with the creation of a new local brand to sit alongside the popular Coastliner and Cityzap brands: York & Country. The new identity reflects our recent expansion in York and further into the North Yorkshire countryside, with the new routes branded York & Country alongside other existing routes based at our York & Malton bus depots.
The new services which we'll be running from Monday 19 February are:
  • • 181 Malton – Castle Howard
  • • 194 Malton – Hovingham
  • • 195R Hovingham – Malton schools
  • • 226R Acklam – Norton College
  • • 256R Easingwold – Ryedale School

The announcement ends a period of uncertainty for bus passengers in the York, Malton and Easingwold areas after Easingwold-based based Stephensons ceased trading during January 2018.
The sudden closure left commuters unaware as services were withdrawn in towns and villages in York and North Yorkshire. Transdev stepped in to cover a number of former Stephensons services, including the 29 and 31/31X, connecting Kirkbymoorside with Easingwold and York. The award of new contracts to Transdev means passengers can look forward to a dependable and high quality service in the months ahead.
Our CEO, Alex, added: “We have a very experienced and customer-focused team at our York depot and we're looking forward to providing the best service for our current and new passengers using these services. The full range of Transdev day, weekly and monthly tickets will also be available, including via our app, Transdev Go, making travel on these routes great value.”

Thursday 15 February 2018

easyJet's new 'super quiet' eco plane shown at Manchester Airport

The A320neo is part of easyJet’s plan to reduce harmful carbon emissions and slash noise pollution.
The company also plans to run all short-haul flights on battery-run planes by 2028.
This latest aircraft is said to reduce by half noise on take-off and landing when compared to an average plane - welcome news for those living under the flight path. It's also said to cut CO2 emissions by 15 per cent.
Official data from Manchester Airport reveals 31,600 people within 30sq km of the airport are affected by 57 decibels or above - the figure marking the starting point for ‘significant community annoyance’ according to the Government threshold.

easyJet's new Airbus A320neo

Since 2000, easyJet bosses say, they've reduced carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre by more than 32pc. Its current target is a 10pc reduction from its financial year 2016 performance by 2022, which would be a 38pc improvement from 2000.
Fuel consumption is the biggest polluter and the airline says is is working on more ways to reduce its carbon footprint.
This includes working with Wright Electric to develop a passenger plane that runs on electric batteries.
The goal is that all short-haul flights will be operated by all-electric planes within 10 years.

Inside the cockpit of the A320neo