27 July 2007

Weekly Transport Update 1

As time currently permits I thought I might list some headlines from the UK bus scene from the last week, generally in headline form.

  • Flooding hits the Midlands and South West. Stagecoach in Gloucester, Reading Transport, Johnsons of Henley-in-Arden, Dudley's Coaches, National Express, Pulham's Coaches and DRM Coaches are all affected by the flooding of the last week. Arriva London suffered particular embarrassment as one of their ADL Darts was seen drowned in the subway underneath a rail line in Wallington, Surrey, whilst operating route 410.
  • EYMS subsidiary, Finglands, buys new Volvo 9700. Finglands Coachways of Manchester has purchased the first re-styled Euro 4 Volvo 9700 Prestige for its contract to operate the official coach for Manchester City Football Club. Costing £300,000, the vehicle is 13.8m long.
  • Government reveals 'TC Board'. The DfT is considering the creation of a government board to oversee Traffic Commissioners. TCs are very worried about their independance being compromised and plan to vehemently oppose any new board.
  • TfL publish vehicles exempt from Low Emission Zone. TfL has published on its website details of vehicles categorised as Euro 1 and 2 that will not have to pay the £200-a-day fee to drive within London following the implementation of the LEZ next year. Numerous vehicles, plentiful on the UK's roads are exclused from charges.
  • Petition for reinstatement of 12-day Rule quashed. A petition on the Downing Street website calling for the reintroduction of the 12-day Rule for drivers operating under EC Drivers' Hours regulations was responded to by the government this week. In their response the government said "any changes to the EU Regulation would require the agreement of a qualified majority of EU Member States" and "we see no prospect of securing sufficient support for further change within the EU at this time."
  • First Scotland manager resigns. Brian Juffs, First Scotland East Managing Director has quit his post after 2 years with the company, following adverse press reports into his firm not operating all registered routes over a lengthy period of time.
  • Trathens driver charged. The driver of a National Express Neoplan coach involved in the crash on the M4 sliproad shorly before midnight on 3 January 2007 has been charged with three counts of causing death by dangerous driving. Philip Rooney, 48, of Lanarkshire, Scotland is due to appear at Reading magistrates court on 31 July.
  • Stagecoach Hovercraft first week. Over 16,000 people used Stagecoach's cross-Forth hovercraft in the first week of its trial operation (16-21 July) on a total of 148 trips.
  • Oil prices 'on the up'. Crude oil rose above $76 per barrel to an 11-month high last week with a temporary cut in US refinery output.
  • Concessions Appreals continue. Secretary of State for Transport, Rosie Winterton, has told the House of Commons that 38 appeals by bus operators disputing the reimbursement of concessionary fares in England and Wales were successful for 2006-7. Over 60 appeals were lodged, though 15 were withdrawn subsequently and 4 rejected.
  • In Court for Smoking. Some of the first people to be charged for smoking on public transport were in Birmingham Magistrates Court on 9 July for smoking on Travel West Midlands bus services. All defendants were fined.
  • Parrys International orders 12 Van Hool T917 Astrons. The first of their kind in the UK, they feature MAN engines and 48 seats yet are 12.84m in length and offer additional height.
  • Cottrells Coaches closes. Gloucestershire-based Cotterells Coaches of Mitcheldean is closing at the end of the month following the death of one of the two owners, Edgar Cottrell ages 80 in February. His wife, Phyllis is understood to be unable to continue running the business. The firm's routes can be traced back to 1886.
  • Banga Travel loses £1.5m action. Parkash Ram Banka {Banga Travel} of Wolverhampton has lost his action in Birmingham County Court in which he claims to have been underpaid to the sum of £1.5m by CENTRO in respect of the OAP concessionary fares scheme.