16 June 2008

Recent BUS/COACH developments, no 8

  • League table for London's bus depots revealed. Transit magazine has received details of the best and worst performing bus depots in London. Bottom of the league is Travel London's Beddington Lane depot in the period covering 2 February - 25 April. Topping the league table for the same period was London General's Waterside Way depot. In total three of London General's depots featured in the top 10, as did four of Transdev's companies.

  • TM Travel moves depots. Staveley-based bus and coach operator TM Travel has moved into the former First depot at Halfway in South Yorkshire, after outgrowing its first depot. The firm was formed in 1996 with one coach and now boasts a fleet of around 100 buses and coaches. Most stage-carriage bus service operation is tendered for Derbyshire County Council and South Yorkshire PTE. The new Halfway depot was originally owned by Booth and Fisher, which sold out in 1979 to South Yorkshire PTE when the authority ran bus services. Latterly the depot was used by Mainline, which was purchased by First who vacated the site in April 2007.

  • Trent Barton re-think over congestion. Langley Mill-based Trent Barton, part of the Wellglade Group, is amending Service H1 (Heanor-Derby) from the end of August in order to keep on top of worsening congestion in the Heanor area. The route is expected to be made more linear. However the firm's Ruddington Connection route (Nottingham-Ruddington) is to be doubled in frequency from 27 July following overcrowding issues for some months. At the same time the service will be extended in Ruddington to serve Ruddington Fields Business Park.

  • Scotland to have integrated Smartcard. Cash-less integrated tickets for travel on buses, coaches and trains throughout Scotland have been unveiled by Transport Scotland. Once in place the smartcard technology will mean that Scotland's transport network will be one of the most sophisticated in Europe. Ministers hope to have the system fully finctioning by 2014 - the year the Commonwealth Games comes to Glasgow

  • Preston operators to sort out differences or face Inquiry. Beverley Bell, the North-West Traffic Commissioner, has told Preston Bus and Stagecoach to sort out their differences or else face a Public Inquiry. The date of the PI was on 10 June and we understand that both operators have signed an agreement, details of the voluntary agreement, which Lancashire County Council will be presiding over, can be found by clicking here.

  • Bradshaw wants to see BSOG untouched. Lord Bradshaw, the LibDem's Transport spokesman and former transport management professor at the University of Salford, has warned the government that the removal of the Bus Service Operators' Grant would be "unpopular and probably counter productive". BSOG is worth £400 million each year to bus operators and the DfT has recently produced a consultation document on the future of the grant. Lord Bradshaw added that alterations to the BSOG could be done without as the bus industry is facing a "troublesome time", specifically as a result of the price in rising fuel costs.

  • Hybrid Versa plans now in doubt. The prospect of a hybrid version of the Optare Versa look unlikely now after Traction Technology, the hybrid technology partner working with Optare, announced delays to the project due to unsustainable cash flow problems.

  • Norwich operators need to 'up' their game. A joint investigation between Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council, South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council has concluded that bus operators in Norwich need to improve their services in order to encourage additional patronage to buses in the city. Specific other failings include a lack of communication between bus operators, local authorities and both current and future passengers. Punctuality was being hampered by motorist parking illegally due to poor signage on display by local authorities and timetables and ticketing were causing confusion and that this area was the fault of operators. Additional low floor vehicles are also being requested.

  • Woottens launches bus division. A new local bus division called Tiger Line has been set-up by coach firm Woottens of Chesham, Buckinghamshire. The initial service, numbered T1, will link Aylesbury with Hemel Hempstead to an hourly frequency. The vehicles being used are East Lancs-bodied Leyland Tigers, hence the name Tiger Line.