- Continuing TWM crackdown. Travel West Midlands'crackdown on fare dodgers continues this week with official figures released showing that during June 2007 more than 7,000 buses were stopped and 126,511 Travel Cards checked; 3,273 passengers were noticed travelling with incorrect tickets/Travel Cards and of these 664 had their Travel Cards withdrawn, with pending prosecutions totalling £37,000.
- New MD for Stagecoach East. James Freeman, the former Managing Director of Stagecoach East, recently departed for Reading Buses as their Chief Executive Officer, has been replaced by Tony Cox, previously Stagecoach's Regional Director South, in a full-time position until a suitable candidate has been sought. It is widely understood that James Freeman gave a too generous pay deal to Northampton depot and this acted as a spring-board to him furthering his career outside the Stagecoach group.
- Cantabrica application withdrawn. Club Cantabrica Coach Holidays Ltd, who operate European coach holidays from the UK, have withdrawn their application for an O-licence, which was due to be heard at a Public Inquiry on 9 August. Associated firm Len Wright Band Services whose disciplinary hearing was to take place at the same time has been deferred until 20 September.
- Alan Vincer of Safeguard Coaches retires. At 78 years of age and 46 continuous years working for Guildford-based Safeguard Coaches, Alan Vincer retired on 13 August. Alan started with the firm on 29 July 1961 as a bus driver aged 32 and progressed to driving the firm's coaches.
- Bucking the trend. Buckinghamshire has increased the number of bus journeys taken by 15% to more than 1 million additional journeys to a total of over 9 million within the last year. Much of the rise is considered down to free local travel for concessions.
- National Express win East Coast and boost shares. Reported on this blog as the news broke, National Express were awarded the East Coast Main Line franchise though hitherto mentioned was that the Company's share price rose by 17p as the news broke to 1164p, bucking the trend on a morning when much of the FTSE 100 fell.
- Money due to Dublin passengers. Over £1.3million (1.9million Euros) in change vouchers are unclaimed every year on Dublin's bus network according to figures released by bus operator Dublin Bus last week. Dublin Bus operates a 'no change' system, their ticket acting as a receipt for the amount they have overpaid which would then be given in cash back to the passenger at the firm's head office. Since 2002 when Dublin Bus made figures available, only 25% of all those entitled to the overpaid fare collected it.
- TWM trial ethanol Scania decker in Brum. Birmingham is the locality chosen for 'in service' trials of Scania's right-hand drive ethanol-fuel OmniCity double decker demonstrator with Travel West Midlands "within the next five months". The bus is currently loaned to Transdev (London United) operating on behalf of TfL. It is expected to operate on the streets of Birmingham for around 3 months, the news coming in the week when National Express announced it had decided to adandon its own six-month trial of bio-diesel in 45 TWM vehicles.
- Hampshire use ring-fence loophole to cut bus subsidy. Hampshire County Council have become the latest in a slowly growing trend of Councils cutting their bus subsidy budget - £6million in Hants case - by £500,000 from April 2008 following an overspend in its Social Care budget to the tune of £21million.
- Megabus move to London VCS. As reported earlier today, Megabus have announced they plan to leave their Green Line terminal in central London for Victoria Coach Station.
- Traveline Tim. Wales launched a new public transport mascot this week called Traveline Tim, an animated character, launched at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, and is primarily designed to promote the new Traveline Cymru phone number.
- Driverless Daventry. Daventry District Council is to showcase driverless vehicles such as Cybercars between 24 September and 5 October 2007 forming part of the 'Daventry Transport Conference 2007' on 26 September.
- Alexander Dennis Limited adds another range to school bus market. ADL has now added its Enviro200-bodied Dart to its range of school buses, already comprising the Enviro300. The Enviro200 buses will range from 8.9m or 12.5m in length and have seating capacities from 29 to 60.
- Vandals in Surrey arrested. Police raided numerous addresses in Croydon, Surrey, of those suspected to be involved in ongoing criminal damage to buses as part of Operation BusTag. Two 19-year old women and a 16-year old school boy were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. An increase in vandalism in the Croydon area started at the same time as free Oyster travel to those aged 16 & 17 commenced.
- Plusbus boost through more ads. As revealed in a recent LEYTR, the Plusbus scheme where passengers purchasing a rail ticket may pay a nominal add-on fee to a locality in the area of their destination but not on the rail network, is to be widely advertised over the coming months with details printed on the back of over 20 million train tickets. The scheme is administered by the Journey Solutions partnership, funded by Arriva, Transdev/Blazefield, First, Go-Ahead, Stagecoach and National Express and supported by the CPT.
- Bobbies on the bus. Solent Blue Line (a Go-Ahead company) has announced it plans to allow free travel to Police officers who are on duty in order to act as a deterrent to would-be vandals and those planning irresponsible behaviour on their services. Free travel is not being allowed on all services, initially confined to their Blue Star and Red Rocket routes.
- First bus stop ASBO issued. A prolific 21-year old drug dealer has been given an anti-social behaviour order prohibiting him from loitering at any bus stop in Lambeth. He was also pictured in a local paper.
- Highest ever entries in BDoY. The 2007 Bus Driver of the Year competition has attracted the highest ever number of entries. This year's national final will take place, as ever, at Blackpool, where a record-breaking 131 drivers are due to take part on 9 September.
- First Scania Olympuses enter service. Reading Buses have taken delivery of the first 6 Olympus-bodied Scania OmniCity double deckers in a special livery for their Loddon Park & Ride service; a further 33 have been ordered by Metroline for TfL route 7 (Russel Square-East Acton); a further 9 have been bought by Transdev-owned London United for TfL route 148 (Shepherd's Bush Green-Camberwell Green).
- Swans leave 060. It us understood that Swans Coaches have unexpectedly ceased operation of National Express Service 060 (Liverpool-Leeds). Swans' MD, a former Selwyns employee, was at the forefront of winning the bid to run the service 2 years ago and the firm were one of the very first to place into operation the Caetano Levante body. The vehicles are understood to have passed to Haytons who are now running the service. Selwyns' diagrams on the same route are not affected.
21 August 2007
Weekly Transport Update 4
Posted by LEYTR