05 June 2008

Recent BUS/COACH developments, no 7

  • easyBus plan new webside. A new website is planned by easyBus, the low cost scheduled bus service linking central London to numerous airports in the area. The current website can be seen by clicking here. The new website will provide maps and will compliment the 'easy' brand. A few neat improvements will be introduced; we especially like the plan to send a passenger, whose inbound service is late arriving, a text message upon arrival in England, informing them that they have been re-scheduled onto a later service - stating the specific time - and that their seat(s) is/are safe.

  • Patronage in Devon on-the-up. A 10% rise in ridership of concessionary travellers has been recorded in Devon, primarily a result of the national free concessionary bus travel scheme.

  • Ebbw Valley bus service cut. We've mentioned the opening of Wales' newest stretch of railway - along the Ebbw Valley - in recent posts, however are a little disappointed to see the 'in tandem' bus link, set-up to compliment the new rail service, has been withdrawn due to low patronage. The service linked Rogerstone and Newport. Instead Labour AM Rosemary Butler, is pressing for the train to replace the bus between the two points, maintaining that the train should have been there from the start.

  • PCSOs on buses in Blackpool. Lindale Gardens and Grange Park estates in Blackpool will see PCSOs traveling on local bus services as a result of persistent anti-social behaviour. Blackpool Police is working in partnership with Blackpool Transport to try and improve the safety of bus travel in these areas.

  • Transdev make gains in York. Transdev Blazefield has almost completed its plans to purchase two bus operations in York - City Sightseeing franchise Top Line Travel and Veolia's bus operation, based at the same location - Fulford. Blazefield operates Yorkshire Coastline (Malton) and Harrogate & District, both of whom operate into York. Top Line Travel was set-up in 2002 and took over from Guide Friday open-top bus tours in York and now operates 10 of these vehicles plus a small number of local service buses and school contracts. Veolia moved into York towards the end of 2006 after it won the contracts to operate a number of local bus routes; it is administered by Top Line Travel.

  • Improvements in Coventry. Coventry City Council, Stagecoach, Warwickshire County Council and Centro have all endorsed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement for a 'Quality Corridor' of buses used on Services 55, 56 and 57. Branded 'Matrix' Stagecoach has provided 14 MAN/Enviro300 vehicles to operate between Conventry city centre and Nuneaton, Bedworth and North Coventry, at a cost of £1.8 million.

  • Preston takes first Solo SRs. 8 of Optare's new Solo SR midibus have entered service with Preston Bus on two Park & Ride services in the city. The vehicles measure 9.5m and are the first Solos to have Euro5 engines; they feature 32 dual purpose seats trimmed in leather and have a wood effect floor. Over half of Preston Bus's fleet is comprised of Optare Solos.

  • New CEO for Transdev Blazefield. Martin Gilbert has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Transdev Blazefield, starting his new role on 1 June. The outgoing Chief Executive, Giles Fearnley, will remain in situ until Mr Gilbert becomes familiar with the procedures and will then take-up a part-time non executive director role.

  • New open-top service for Bournemouth. A new company has been formed - Classic Southdown Omnibuses Limited (CSOL) - to commence a new open-top bus service in the Bournemouth area, in partnership with Transdev Yellow Buses. The service, which will be named 'Seaside 12' will required 4 vehicles and operate between Bournemouth Pier and Boscombe Pier every 20 mins from 28 June for a 3 month trial period. CSOL is 50% owned by Totally Transport, a Blackpool-based business that maintains, preserves and operates around 40 historic buses and trams.

  • Norfolk Green warns of cuts due to fuel hike. King's Lynn-based bus operator Norfolk Green has warned of possible service cuts as a result of the hike in fuel prices. In a week when Go Ahead subsidiary Oxford Bus Company was warned that it's seen its fuel bill rise by 70% so far this year, Ben Colson, Norfolk Green's owner, said that another 2,000 passengers would need to start using his company's buses just to maintain its financial position.