- No fare rises to pay for Crossrail. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has confirmed that there will be no fare rises on the capital’s public transport networks to pay for the Crossrail project. Instead Mr. Livingstone appeared to suggest that changes to interest rates could affect funding for the project. In a statement the Mayor said: “The financing model for Crossrail, as already announced, relies on £5.2bn from government, a supplementary business rate of 2p applied for 25 years to properties with a rateable value of more than £50,000 and the fare income from passengers on the route itself at standard Transport for London zonal fares - with a premium fare applying only to Heathrow airport. No fares increase in London is required.
- London's Dial-a-Ride to become free. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone is to abolish Dial-a-Ride door-to-door fares for older and disabled people living in the capital. The move is expected to benefit around 50,000 Londoners who currently pay to take a total of 1.2m journeys a year. Dial-a-Ride is a minibus door-to-door transport service provided by Transport for London for older and disabled people who cannot use buses, trains and the Tube. It is used for everyday journeys that are taken for granted by people who use mainstream public transport. Following the Mayor's announcement, services will be free from 1 January 2008. Carers travelling with disabled and other people on Dial-a-Ride services will also travel free.
- Driver who caused passenger death has been bailed. On 25 April bus driver Ishmail Ahmed, 42, ran into three passengers waiting for his bus at a bus stop in Mortlake, South London. The three passengers were part of the same family. Elizabeth Panton, 65, was killed, her daughter Sarah Hope, 35, was injured and her daughter, two-year old Polyana lost part of her leg. Mr. Ahmed is facing a charge of causing death by dangerous driving and two counts of unlawful and malicious wounding.
- Direct London-Amsterdam trains halted. Plans for a direct London-Amsterdam train service have run into further difficulties after the Dutch government announced that the opening of a new section of railway for high speed journeys would be delayed indefinitely. Thalys trains between Amsterdam and Paris were due to start using new, dedicated track between Amsterdam and Rotterdam from December this year and run at up to 160km/h as a precursor to 186mph between the French and Dutch capitals, scheduled to start in October 2008. However, in a letter to parliament last week Dutch transport minister Camiel Eurlings said that the plan to start 160km/h running in December was "dangerous". There is now no date fixed for the Dutch part of the high-speed link to open.
- NX expand in Spain. National Express Group says its trading is "in line with expectations" when it announced the completion of its purchase of Spanish bus operator Continental Auto at a cost of £449.7 million. The deal, which had been agreed last April has been given unconditional clearance by Spain's Council of Ministers. Combined with another NX-owned company in Spain, Alsa (acquired in December 2005), passenger numbers for the Company there are expected to exceed 142 million annually with around 2,100 Spanish vehicles being owned.
- Glasgow's Subway expansion possible? Glasgow's Subway could be extended to link the West End to Celtic Park as part of the first phase of an expansion of the city’s underground rail network. The new £670m line could be built in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which Glasgow is bidding to host. It would replace a previously proposed second Subway circle around the East End which is expected to be shelved because of the £2.3bn estimated cost. If Glasgow's Games bid is successful, the opening ceremony would be held at Celtic Park, with an indoor sports arena and velodrome due to be built nearby. By using disused tunnels, promoters say an east-west line would be cheaper than a new circle. It could also use faster tram-type vehicles instead of trains.
- First 'blitz' Sheffield. The UK's largest transport operator, First Group, have undertaken an advertising 'blitz' in Sheffield, promoting the firm's bus services in the city. 33 posters have been placed at strategic areas of the city, with three key messages highlighted (price, network and investment).
- New image for Cardiff Bus. Although recent news from bus operator Cardiff Bus has been of potential sale of some of the council-controlled firm, some good news has been reported of a new brand applied to some of its vehicles. Designed by Best Impressions, 15 new Scania OmniCity vehicles have entered service on routes 28, 29 & 30. The vehicles boast air conditioning and have GPS satelite tracking linking them all to the Cardiff Bus control centre and also to bus stops along the routes giving real-time arrival information. Cardiff Bus are also taking delivery of 13 Scania NUDs with East Lancs Olympus bodies (Darwen Group).
- New bus link for Liverpool. A new city centre bus link, designed to support next year’s European Capital of Culture celebrations, has been unveiled in Liverpool. The S1 service, launched by official ’08 partners Merseytravel and Arriva on 14 October, will offer visitors to next year’s festivities an easy and convenient way to take in the city’s main tourist attractions. It will operate alongside the less frequent S2 and S3 city centre circular services. S1 buses will run every 10 minutes throughout most of the day, including weekends. The current Arriva flat fare of £1.40 will apply for the S1 service and all existing Merseytravel and Arriva Day and Weekly Tickets will also be valid. Highlights of the circular route include the Philharmonic Hall, Cavern Quarter and St Georges Hall, while all major public transport links – Lime Street, Queen Square, Norton Street (coach station) and the Pier Head (for Mersey Ferry crossings) – are also served by the S1. The project has been delivered by a partnership between Arriva, which operates the S1, S2 and S3 buses, and passenger transport executive Merseytravel.
- More late buses for Nottingham. Nottingham City Transport will introduce 8 late-night weekend services to its 'Go2' brand of services on 30 November as part of a re-launch of its night bus network.
- Bendy-bus Inquiry. London Liberal Democrat MEP, Baroness Sarah Ludford, has asked EU Commissioner, Jacques Barrot, to look into concerns about the high number of accidents concerning articulated buses on the streets of London. Mrs Ludford claims the Mercedes-Benz/Citaro buses have a 75% higher accident rate when compared to all other types of TfL-permitted bus.
- IoW bus boom. Southern Vectis (owned by Go-Ahead) and the main bus operator on the Isle of Wight has increased this year's Winter timetable following significant passenger growth. The company claims passenger numbers have increased by 45% in 18 months, justifying the 60% increase in the level of service it provides on the island. However, underlying growth (excluding the surge in concessionary free journeys) is lower at 14%.
- Arriva's Swadlincote depot is to close. At the end of the year bus operator Arriva has announced that its bus depot in the Derbyshire town of Swadlincote will close with all vehicles and drivers transferred to nearby Burton on Trent. All jobs are secured and there are no plans to alter local bus services.
- New East Midlands Airport bus link. Airlink Coalville 155 bus service from Arriva Midlands has been launched in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and East Midlands Airport. Buses operating in a special branded livery serve the Airport seven days a week between 0400-2400hrs and offer direct journeys to/from Coalville, Castle Donington and surrounding villages.
- More B9TLs for EYMS. Local LEYTR operator, East Yorkshire Motor Services, is so impressed by its Wrightbus Eclipse Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL deckers that it has placed an order for 20 more - the firm's largest ever single order for one vehicle type. This compliments additional vehicle orders EYMS announced two months ago, the additional B9TLs are due to arrive in the Spring.
- Uniformed Glasgow bus timetables. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has reached an agreement in principle to produce all bus stop timetable information on behalf of bus operator First Glasgow. Once finalised, the agreement will mean that First Glasgow will pay SPT to take responsibility for the production and distribution of roadside information at more than 11,000 bus stops. Under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001, SPT currently sets the standards for the way bus timetable information is presented to the public. Commercial bus operators voluntarily provide and maintain timetables and bus stop information panels, while SPT provides the necessary information for its subsidised services. Although First Glasgow does provide the required information, compliance with the Act across Strathclyde is only around 40%. When an operator does not comply, SPT is required to provide the necessary information and then recover the cost from the operator.
- Darwen Group use Bus & Coach Live to set out its stall. Andrew Brian, Chief Executive of the Darwen Group, hailed the timing of the Bus & Coach Live show as "the perfect platform for us to roll out the Darwen brand". A new brand image for the company was on display at the Show and despite planned redundancies Mr. Brian was confident that its new, larger premises, increased output and the launch of its first hybrid vehicle would put it in good stead. Two current East Lancs bodies - the Esteem single deck and the Olympus double deck - continue to be the Darwen Group's core products and are expected to take the business forward.
- New Arriva website. Arriva Bus & Coach has launched a new website with details of its history, rental details, finance, service, parts and stock at www.arrivabusandcoach.co.uk.
- Acklams' new Panther. Beverley-based local operator Acklams has received its sixth new 12.3m Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther vehicle and the latest arrival's first visit was to take local cricketers to the NPower National Village Cup final at Lord's. Acklams started as a taxi business over 50 years ago, moving into coach operations on a small scale in the 1970s. The firm now operates 16 coaches - one of which may feature on the 2008 cover of LEYTR.
- Illigal limo petition launched. A petition has been started on the Downing Street website calling for proper enforcement against illegal limos with the capacity to carry 8 or more passengers. The petition is sponsored by Gareth Griffiths, proprietor of Pontyclun, Mid-Glamorgan-based GG Carriages who calls on the Prime Minister to, "Question the Police and VOSA as to why they are failing to enforce these laws: Is it incompetence or corruption?..."
- TV4 open. Network Rail’s £350m Trent Valley four-tracking project to widen the West Coast Main Line through Staffordshire has reached a key milestone with one of the first stretches of new railway to be constructed being used by trains for the first time. The new track opened this week is a 1.5 mile stretch linking Armitage with Handsacre, which is now supported by existing signalling equipment. It is the longest single stretch of new track to be opened so far in the Trent Valley four-tracking project. New sections of track have already opened over the River Tame near Tamworth and at Huddlesford. As well as widening the tracks there are 37 structures to be replaced or modified as part of the Trent Valley project. The majority of the engineering work on these structures has now been finished and the project itself is now over 75% complete.
- Bus driver 'flasher' loses PSV licence. John Robinson, a First bus driver from Leeds, had his PSV licence revoked indefinitely by North Eastern Traffic Commissioner Tom Macartney at a Leeds Public Inquiry following Mr. Robinson 'flashing' near Leeds bus station on 30 November 2006 in front of a woman and her two-year old daughter. He was convicted of disorderly behaviour. Mr. Robinson claimed he had been to the toilet and after re-dressing himself had inadvertantly left his penis exposed. He claims he was in conversation with someone and his rain coat may have "swung open" allowing his penis to become visible, but was unable to explain why, if this was so, he was unable to realise he was exposing himself at 1430hrs on a "quite cold" November day.
- Drug-smuggling coach driver. Charles Colefax of Leeds appeared at a Public Inquiry in Leeds just over five-and-a-half years ago and was convicted of smuggling 49kg of heroin in his coach from an international trip taking people to a pop concert and sentanced to 12 years in prison in January 2002. He was released on parole on 19 March this year and applied for his PSV licence back. Last year a Deputy Traffic Commissioner had revoked his application to re-apply for his licence stating it was too soon to apply when still in prison. Now released and aged 57, he is awaiting the decision of North Eastern Traffic Commissioner, Tom Macartney.
- Fort William station upgrade completed. Fergus Ewing, Minister for Community Safety and MSP for Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber has unveiled a plaque to officially open the new look Fort William railway station on 17 October, which has undergone a £750,000 refurbishment programme. The refurbishment work is the result of a partnership between First ScotRail, Transport Scotland and HITRANS - the regional transport body for the Highlands and Islands. External and internal improvements have included replacing the toilets, upgrades to the left luggage facilities and ticket office and the introduction of five new showers. New flooring has been laid throughout and lighting across the station has been enhanced. Passengers will also benefit from improved facilities on board the Class 156 trains which operate to and from Fort William as a result of a refurbishment programme currently underway.
17 October 2007
Recent Transport Developments
Posted by LEYTR