02 November 2007

Recent Transport Developments

  • New buses for Inverness. Five new ADL Darts/Enviro200 buses have entered service in Inverness with Rapsons on 25 October following a £2.1million project by regional transport partnership HITRANS to upgrade Inverness-area bus routes. In total 10 new vehicles are being provided for upgraded routes in Inverness.

  • New rail-link bus service for Waterlooville. South West Trains is to introduce a new bus service linking Waterlooville with Petersfield railway station.With an average of three trains an hour from Petersfield to London and Portsmouth, the service will allow the train operator to offer Waterlooville residents a connection to mainline rail services.

  • First win award. The UK's largest transport operator FirstGroup has won a national award for its UK Bus operation's New Driver Induction Programme.

  • Eurolines direct services to Wembley. The General Assembly of the Eurolines Organisation has met with officials at Wembley Stadium to commence operations of Eurolines services from the stadium to 500 destinations throughout Europe, worked under the Eurolines name by 32 independant operators.

  • Impressive stats at Peterborough. Peterborough City Council has announced that its free Christmas Park & Ride schemes operated by Kimes and Huntington & District has seen a 43% year-on-year increase in the first four weeks of the year. Two sites are operated (Perkins Car Park 3 & Lynch Wood) and between them have prevented 758 cars from entering the city centre.

  • Edinburgh tram preferred bidder announced. Edinburgh tram scheme promoter TIE has chosen a German consortium consisting of Bilfinger Berger and Siemens Group as its preferred bidder for the £220m contract to carry out the design, construction and maintenance of the Scottish capital’s new light rail network. The Edinburgh trams infrastructure contract is one of the largest construction contracts in the UK and forms part of the scheme’s final business case that will be debated by City of Edinburgh Council on 25 October. Following this debate, at which approval is expected, TIE and the consortium - known as BBS - will work together to achieve financial close where all contracts are finalised and signed. BBS will also take overall charge of the separately awarded £50m tram-building contract, which has been awarded to Spanish firm CAF, and a design contract, worth about £30m.

  • New P&R for Glasgow. First Glasgow launched its first Park & Ride scheme in the city last Monday. The route starts at the Silverburn Shopping Centre on the south side of Glasgow and numbered X8 the bus service operates to a 10 minute frequency.

  • A founder of Travel Wright dies. Frank Wright, 100, who built up the family firm Wright & Sons, later Travel Wright of Newark, Notts, has died. Frank worked with his father Charles, brother Leslie, son Terry and grandchildren David, Paula & Colin from when the business was established in 1926. He was still driving coaches aged 80, his car aged 95 and still attended work until 2005.

  • First wins York P&R contract. First has won a five year contract to provide Park & Ride services in York. They are the current operator of the scheme though had stiff competition from other local operators Go North East and Veolia, who were both though to have placed impressive submissions. However it was thought that the past 12 years service operating the scheme had left First in good stead to offer a better deal. The Firm have pledged to improve the fleet of vehicles they provide, using 15 new EEV Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated vehicles and 17 rigid EEV Volvo single deckers (plus an additional 5 from its city fleet on Saturdays). Although the EEV (Environmentally Enhanced Vehice) specification will cost an additional £10,000 a year, the city council felt the environmental benefits were significant when compared to the financial cost. The vehicles will be painted into a n easily recognisable silver brand livery.

  • Arriva to enter the UK's first EEVs. Mentioning EEVs (above), bus operator Arriva are to be the first bus operator to enter such a vehicle in service in the UK. The vehicles are Wright Pulsar-bodied VDL SB200s and are to enter service in Cannock. The EEV is an EU emissions standard for vehicles operating in cities and has emissions lower than Euro5 spec (33% fewer particulates and 25% lower CO2).

  • Over £8m pledged by Stagecoach towards permanent hovercraft service. Stagecoach has pledged to contribute £8.3m towards the cost of establishing a permanent hovercraft service across the River Forth in Scotland.The Perth-based transport group says it has established a "clear business case" for the service following analysis of the results of a two-week Forthfast trial operation in July 2007. It has unveiled a four-part masterplan to exploit the potential of the Forth estuary, identifying a preferred link between Kirkcaldy and Leith.Stagecoach, which has discussed its proposals with Forth Ports, said that a service could operate from the former bus depot in Kirkcaldy and run over a breakwater ramp at Leith and on to a landing strip at Ocean Terminal. The hovercraft link would have a journey time of around 18 minutes and the route would ensure an integrated connection with Lothian Buses' Service 22, which runs every four minutes to Edinburgh city centre. Financial analysis carried out by Stagecoach suggests that the crossing would become commercially viable under a three-year Kickstart pump-priming initiative. A two-hovercraft operation is expected to attract more than 870,000 passengers a year by year four, with significant savings in carbon emissions.

  • Tyne Tunnel tolls scrapped for buses. Something very evident to readers of the LEYTR in recent years is that of toll costs for crossing the Humber Bridge. It is good to see that last week an agreement has been reached in Tyne & Wear between Go North East and Tyne & Wear PTE that ends tunnel toll payments for buses - a payment that had been evident for 40 years. In general terms the toll for using the Tyne Tunnel has fallen by between 10p and 80p per journey.