- Oysters for NX. National Express has become the first coach company to sell Transport for London Oyster cards. The Visitor Oyster Card is a branded card from TfL, pre-loaded with pay as you go fare credits, and ready for passengers to use as soon as they arrive in central London. Oysters are now available from National Express ticket offices throughout the UK including major airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.
- Former owner of Safford's Coaches dies. The former owner of Safford’s Coaches of Sandy, Malcolm Safford, has died. Aged 66, Malcolm ran the firm until 2003 when he sold it to his niece, Tracey Gillett. Safford’s Coaches was founded in 1933 by Malcolm Safford’s father.
- 3 more P&Rs for York? Three new Park & Ride sites for York are planned, increasing parking spaces outside the city centre by 2,500. A bid has been placed asking for £26.2 million to finance the project, with prospective sites being named as Wiggington Road, Poppleton/A59 and an enlarged Askham Bar site.
- 7 prosecuted for smoking on buses. National Express West Midlands has successfully prosecuted 7 youths caught smoking on its buses in Birmingham. All were found guilty at Birmingham Youth Court and were each fined between £25-50 and ordered to pay costs totalling £400. They follow the prosecution of 19 people in January.
- 5 coaches destroyed in fire. Heritage Travel of Partridge Green, Sussex had five of their vehicles destroyed by fire at their workshop near Horsham. Vehicles destroyed include a DAF/Berkhof Eclipse double decker; a Neoplan Cityliner; two MAN/Noge Catalan coaches; and a minibus.
- 7% profit for Goldline. Stagecoach’s ground-breaking premium Goldline bus service in Leamington Spa has recorded increase in patronage of between 6-7% in the first three months of operation. The Goldline brand has been applied to former service 66, linking Whitnash Estate-Leamington Spa-Woodloes Estate, and was re-numbered G1, operating to a 10 minute frequency with new 11 Optare Solos (10 are needed at any one time).
- New Volvo 9700 for England Cricket Board. The England Cricket Board is ferried around by a coach operated by Go Goodwins of Manchester, who have placed an order for a new Volvo 9700 Prestige Plus. The new vehicle will become the main vehicle to transport the ECB and will also provide service for visiting teams such as Australia and South Africa.
- Enviro400 hits low bridge in Camden. Six people have been taken to hospital after a double-decker bus crashed into a railway bridge near Kentish Town West station shortly after 9am on 11 February. TfL confirmed the bus was following (incorrectly) a diversion following the devastating fire at Camden Market two days earlier. The roof of the bus, a Volvo/Enviro400 operated by London General, was virtually ripped off after the bus – operating service 24 between Pimlico-Camden Town – collided with the bridge.
- 1,000,000 digi-tacho produced. The one-millionth digital tachograph unit has been made, 2.5 years after they began to be produced following a change in the law that meant all new vehicles required a digital version rather than the analogue type. VDO, the company who produces the tachographs, has produced 15 million analogue types since the firm was formed in 1923.
- End for Thameside's Fleetlines. The last bus operator to run Fleetlines delivered new to its operation (or its predecessors) ran two in service on 16 February to mark the last day they would be used. Thamesdown Transport has operated Fleetlines in Swindon since 1968 and plan to keep one dating from 1978 in their heritage fleet. Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport operated a farewell day to its Fleetlines in 1995 when, despite many thinking it would not be possible, Stagecoach replaced the firm’s entire 33 closed-top Leyland and Daimler examples within 2 years of acquiring the business.
- SYPTE to go beyond minimum concession requirement. SYPTE has announced that it is to maintain the 0900hrs commencement time for free concessionary local bus travel following the introduction of the nation-wide scheme from 1 April. The new scheme has a minimum requirement of 0930hrs on weekdays – something many local councils are sticking to even if they don’t do so at the moment.
- CPT joins voice to scrap planned fuel duty increase. The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has joined a list of 11 industry groups by signing a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, calling for the planned 2p per litre fuel duty rise to be scrapped.
- Largest ever order for Swans. Swans Coaches of Manchester has placed its single largest ever order for new vehicles, with 10 new Mercedes-Benz Tourismos being delivered in the summer.
- Victory for Edinburgh residents. Residents living on Craighouse Road in Edinburgh are celebrating a victory over Edinburgh City Council after successfully forcing the council to repair the road, which has a poor camber and in such a poor condition that Lothian Buses are unable to operate low-floor vehicles there on service 23 “for fear of getting stuck”.
- 1 million passengers in 9 months at Preston. The one-millionth passenger has travelled on the new Prestion Citi network, set-up by Stagecoach to offer more choice to passengers in Preston during June 2007. The winning passenger was awarded a year’s free travel on Stagecoach services in the area.
- 19 new Versas for Burnley. Transdev Burnley & Pendle has put into service 19 Optare Versas to upgrade the Burnley town centre route network. All vehicles have been branded “Starship”. The vehicles have 37 seats and are 11 meters long, powered by Cummins Euro 4 201bhp ISBe engines and the batch cost £2.75 million.
- First buys Truonian. Truonian, formed by two ex Western National managers, Geoff Rumbles and David Rabey, has been purchased by the UK’s largest transport operator, First. The Devon and Cornwall subsidiary made the purchase, making the deal particularly ironic as Western National was FDC’s predecessor. Truonian was formed in 1987 and operates 20 coaches on tours and excursions, 50 buses operating local bus services and employs around 200 staff. In 2003 Truonian won Public Transport Operator of the Year Award.
- New Volvo for Andrews of Tideswell. Peak District coach operator Andrews of Tideswell has taken delivery of a 12.8m Volvo B12B/Plaxton Panther C53F. It is the first vehicle to be purchased in 16 years. The firm was formed 75 years ago and continues to be operated by the same family. 24 vehicles are operated from their depot on the main A623 Baslow-Chapel-en-le-Frith road.
- The 5tonne, 72 seater, 20mpg decker. First Chief Executive, Moir Lockhead, has laid down a challenge to Wright Group Chairman, William Wright – a company whom First purchases most of its bodies for its bus chassis from – to develop a double decker that is no heavier than a Routemaster (8 tonnes unladen), can accommodate a similar number of passengers (72 seats) and, crucially, can run at 20mpg. Firstly, to achieve a figure of 20mpg, the vehicle will not operate solely on conventional diesel; it will be a hybrid. Most modern double deckers run at around 7mpg and weigh between 12-13 tonnes unladen. It’s quite a challenge!
27 February 2008
Recent BUS/COACH developments, no 2
Posted by LEYTR