Stagecoach has said more people boarded its buses this summer, after posting a 4% rise in revenues from regional services.The Perth-based group reported a 0.9% rise in passenger volumes outside London in the 12 weeks to 20 July.It says revenues earned directly from fare-paying passengers contributed most to the UK bus division’s growth rate.Concessionary, contract, tendered and school revenues also continued to grow.The company said about 2.8 million passenger journeys are now made on Stagecoach buses across the UK each day.Revenues from Stagecoach’s UK rail operations, including South West Trains and East Midlands Trains, rose by 4.9% over the 12-week period.The company is in discussions with the Department for Transport over extensions to its South West and East Midlands franchises, although a decision is not expected until after next year’s general election.Stagecoach also has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail, which runs the West Coast franchise.The company said in a statement: â€œAlthough there are a number of challenges to growing profit in the year ending 30 April 2015, overall current trading is satisfactory and we remain on course to meet our expectations for the year.â€
Month: April 2021
Warwickshire operator Ridleys Coaches has taken delivery of a pair of Volvo B8Rs with 57-seat Panther bodywork, supplied by Plaxton (01909 551166).Says Director Jordan Ridley: “I have always liked the Panther and the new B8R brings an added dimension. It combines a proven track record with a stylish, modern look and an interior finish that is second to none. The coaches are already proving hits with drivers and passengers.”Both vehicles are powered by the Euro 6 D8K engine coupled to I-Shift automated transmission, and they have toilet, fridge and servery facilities.
Having successfully entered the UK coach market, Yutong’s promised diesel bus has now arrived in the UK. It aims to offer a full specification for all operators, alongside a competitive price and quality build. Mel Holley visits dealership Pelican and test drives the pre-production modelIn just under three years, Castleford-based dealership Pelican Bus and Coach has sold almost 200 vehicles. With two models, a 9m and 12m, the 9m in particular has proved to be a spectacular hit and despite the current economic uncertainty, Sales Manager Bob Elliott says there is no sign of a slow-down in enquiries or orders, with customer orders and stock vehicles en route, plus stock at Pelican available for immediate delivery.Yutong CB12 is the first bus the manufacturer is offering in the UK, with further variants planned to followWith that in mind, and its long-held plan to introduce buses into the UK – with diesel and electric models in the frame – the first 12m diesel version has just arrived in the UK. Already, reports Bob, Pelican has “firm enquiries” of nearly double figures, and many are expected to translate into orders fairly soon.It will be followed later in the year by a full-electric bus at 10.8m, with a diesel variant of similar length expected in 2017.The initial bus is a pre-production model that is fully-loaded with everything, ready for Whole Vehicle Type Approval. It’s then up to operators to decide what they don’t want. Pelican is also canvassing operator opinion to establish what would be an ideal UK ‘stock’ specification.For example, while the test vehicle is fitted with air-conditioning – purely for type approval – it’s not expected that many operators will want this option.Designated CB12, standing for City Bus 12m, not only will Pelican hold stock vehicles, but customer-specific requirements can be met.BuildThe integral CB12 is powered by the proven combination of a six-cylinder Cummins ISB6.7 engine, rated at 240bhp, mated with a six-speed ZF EcoLife automatic gearbox.In common with Yutong’s coaches, the mild-steel-built CB12 is corrosion-protected using cataphoretic dip, setting it alongside Mercedes-Benz as the only other UK-sold bus to undergo this process. As a result, Yutong provides a 10-year anti-corrosion guarantee.240bhp Cummins ISB6.7 engine is fitted in line with ZF EcoLife six-speed automatic gearboxExternally, stretched steel panels are used. Whether removable lower panels would be preferred is another area of feedback that Pelican is canvassing.Other main components are familiar including SACHS shock absorber bags, WABCO dual-circuit disc brakes all round, ZF integral power steering and Michelin Citybus tyres.The single-door bus has its radiator on the nearside, while the engine bay is not cluttered. Engineers and those doing walk-round checks on winter mornings will appreciate the three engine bay lights, plus another light on a wander lead. The coolant level gauge is clear to view, while the dipstick is conveniently located. There is also an automatic powder fire extinguishing system.Fuel fillers for the 255-litre fuel tanks are on both sides behind the front wheels, while AdBlue is filled at the rear offside. The 10-litre windscreen washer bottle is filled at the front nearside, behind a swing-out flap.A full-height emergency door is at the rear of the low-floor section on the offside.As this bus comes ‘fully-loaded’ it exhibits a number of features not normally found in the UK. Operators with less secure overnight (or daytime layover) parking might welcome the locks on every flap and panel, along with the lockable passenger entry door. Yet keys can be lost, so it’s likely that this will be an option not taken up by many. Keys are not required to start the bus; it’s a conventional push-button arrangement.Also, being fully-loaded in terms of specification means that its 11,700kg unladen weight is a little higher than its competitors from Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. However, deleting items will improve this figure.A number of small changes have already been identified that will be incorporated into production models, one being that the exterior break-glass panel for the emergency exit will become a UK-style handle. Inside, the handle has a sliding cover to prevent accidental use.Passenger accessThe in-swinging dual doors reveal a bookleaf wheelchair ramp, which is simple to use – there are no complex catches. Despite being a ‘heavyweight’ bus with full-size wheels, the entrance area is not crowded and the space between the wheelboxes doesn’t feel cramped.Wheelchair access provided by standard bookleaf-style rampThe low-floor area contains 12 fixed seats plus four tip-ups, of which two are in the wheelchair bay on the nearside, and two by the emergency door. All the tip-ups have seatbelts – again another option that could be deleted.A pair of steps accesses the rear section offering a further 20 seats, and a final ascent of two more steps provides access to the rear row of five. There’s not much headroom at these seats, due to the need to accommodate the in-line drivetrain, although they do offer a good view down the bus. A further positive is that there is no ‘wardrobe’ as in one competitor’s model, plus a full-width rear window letting in light. The total capacity is 70, of which 43 are seated.Passenger comfortOne aspect that won’t be carried over into production models is the New City plastic seats, with continental-style fixed covers. Despite this, for short journeys, such as car park shuttles, they are perfectly adequate. Operators will also have a choice about seating arrangements – for example the seats over the front wheelboxes might be preferred as luggage pens.Total capacity of 70, with 43 seated as saloon progressively rises to rearAgain, for type approval purposes, a full Transport for London-style ‘climbing frame’ of handpoles and straphangers is fitted, although being in a deep silver they are not as garish as those specified for the capital. They are extremely robust and would be effective on high-density work where there is a full complement of standees. The ‘standard UK-spec’ version will have fewer handpoles, in line with operators’ wishes.The saloon has a range of light-coloured plastics, with deep side windows. Almost all the windows have inward-opening hoppers (some could be deleted), and the extra-dark tinted glazing means that from the outside there’s a clean look.Further passenger comforts are provided by a pair of monitors (behind the driver and emergency door), six loudspeakers, two air-conditioning units (front and rear) which proved powerful and effective, and front blower and perimeter heaters. Separate CD and DVD players are fitted, along with a 10-camera digital CCTV system (with one month’s storage) from the six external and four internal cameras.The air-conditioning ducts on the curved cove panels still leave space at the front of the saloon for route information, or advertising. Without air-con, all panels would be available.Finally, there is a pair of USB sockets in the sidewall at every passenger seating position, along with two metal litter bins (front and middle).Driver comfortThe cab is nicely laid-out, and the carbon-effect finish of the wrap-around dash makes this a cut above a ‘standard bus’. The cab door is hinged at the front; this will be changed to become rear-hinged. There is adequate storage space in the cab – with generous space in the cab door – although room behind or around the seat for the driver’s bag is minimal.Actia dashboard incorporated in wrap-around cab stylingThe air-suspended Grammar driver’s seat assures a comfortable driving position, while the 21-inch steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach. For city bus work, a smaller steering wheel would be more driver-friendly.Above the driver’s head are the CD and DVD players, plus a VDO tachograph. Just above the windscreen is a display showing the output from the 10 CCTV cameras. It automatically shows the image from the rear camera when reverse gear is selected. Next to this are two ‘eyeball’ air vents for the driver.The deep signalling window slides in two sections, front and rear, and is generously tall allowing plenty of scope for all heights of drivers.An Actia instrument panel displays the speed and RPM, along with other standard functions. A socket for on-board diagnostics is on the side of the dashboard.A bank of dashboard switches is easy to follow, with the D-N-R push-buttons to the left, along with the single door open/close button. The handbrake is placed at the immediate right of the driver. In the same area is a driver’s USB power port and 12v power socketA good set of mirrors aids visibility immensely (although some operators may prefer the smaller style more commonly found in the UK), and neither is the visibility compromised by the A or B pillars. The mirrors remained firm and vibration-free, and all-round visibility is very good.Overall the cab area is good and a pleasant place for a day’s work.PerformanceThe trusted combination of the six-cylinder Cummins and EcoLife gearbox delivers all the performance one could wish for. Indeed, ‘give it the beans’ and you’ll dislodge standing passengers. The city bus set-up means that the top speed is electronically limited to 85km/h, and at the 52.8mph maximum the engine speed is just over 1,500rpm.Mirrors offer good view, but UK bus operators may prefer a revised arrangementOur test circuit, with a mixture of interurban, urban and deep rural routes, showed that its hill climbing abilities are excellent, while gear changes are imperceptible.The narrow and twisting rural section of our Castleford-Wakefield route is covered by Arriva’s 188 service, which sensibly uses short midibuses; despite this the 12m Yutong coped admirably, thanks in part to its 19.5m turning circle and good visibility.On a day with strong, blustery winds, the chassis remained totally composed and unruffled by the buffeting. It was stable at all speeds and felt like a solid bus, while the precise, and nicely-weighted power steering meant that we had no difficulty with positioning, despite some challenging tight turns. The bus is comfortable, stable and drives very well indeed.With six air bags, the ride was to the same standard, despite some rough surfaces, and the interior was rattle free, demonstrating a solid, well-built structure. All the interior panels were firmly attached and the main noise was from the engine and transmission.The all-round disc brakes are very effective, although the intarder takes much of the effort away and the two systems are blended together well. Pelican proposes to delete the 1-2-3 gear selections, and our test drive with some steep descents suggests that this shouldn’t be an issue.On our short test drive we weren’t able to get a fuel consumption figure, but early indications are that at least 10mpg should be achievable, says Pelican, depending on route characteristics.VerdictThe 12m bus market is not massive, but that doesn’t mean that a new competitor isn’t welcome. Pelican’s aftersales support is recognised for its quality, while the two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty provides the reassurance that operators demand.Overall, this is a good bus: from the outside its styling is modern, but without looks that could rapidly become dated. Inside, there’s very much a blank canvas that operators can choose what they wish to do with.You might think that the retail price of £145,000 for the bus, as tested, is a little more than you might expect.External lines are clean, fresh, modern and unlikely to date quicklyBut this takes into account the post-Brexit exchange-rate changes that are adding around £10,000 to the price of most manufacturers’ coach and bus products, which are now feeding through for 2017 orders. But significantly it is for the ‘fully-loaded’ spec. Rather than a cheap base price, and an expensive options list to tick, this is a ‘reverse options’ list – leading to the question: “What don’t you want?”For example, deleting the air-con will make a difference to the price. Once operator feedback has established what a ‘standard’ spec UK version should look like, then Pelican will price this accordingly.If you are in the market for a 12m bus, you need to make sure you look at Yutong’s offering, which seems set to follow the same standards and value-for-money it has already demonstrated in the UK coach market.
Employees at Gainsborough-based Eminox have raised over £3,000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.The fundraising started with an 80-mile bike ride through Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, which raised over £2,700 from sponsorship and a contribution by Eminox. This was followed by a cake sale at the company’s manufacturing and office facility, which raised a further £355. Eminox staff took part in a sponsored bike ride for Bluebell Wood Children’s HospiceAs well as raising funds for the children’s hospice, Eminox staff trimmed trees and cut grass at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice to create additional parking space for a fun day, which was held on 18 September to celebrate the charity’s eighth birthday. Based in South Yorkshire, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice provides care and support to children with a shortened life expectancy, both in their own homes and at the hospice.David Hall, Corporate Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, says: “Well done to everyone at Eminox for putting so much effort into raising funds and helping us to prepare for our eighth anniversary. “Over 150 people attended the fun day, which provided us with a great way to let people know about the support we offer to families across the region.”Nick Lyons, Deputy Managing Director at Eminox adds: “I would like to thank all those that took part to help raise funds for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. “As our company has grown and developed over the years, we have always helped charities. It is part of our commitment to give something back to the communities in which we operate.”
The Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO) has appointed seven new directors to sit on its Board, following a supplier members ballot.Brian Langford of Lucketts Travel is one of the sevenThe seven directors, drawn from coach and tour operating, cruising, publishing and marketing, are:Natalie Browne, Made Tourism MarketingJohn Bullock, Rondo TravelMartin Hay, Go CruiseAlex Jacobs, Northern SecretsBrian Langford, Lucketts TravelTina Price, Blueprint MediaElodie Salom, Pierre et Vacances.They join the existing seven group travel organiser directors who represent each of AGTO’s branches nationwide.Mike Bugsgang, Chief Executive of AGTO, says: “The experience that these new directors bring will further strengthen the Association’s positioning as the voice of the group travel sector.“Their input will prove invaluable in ensuring that AGTO’s strategic aims are delivered.”The board members have been balloted from a “record number of applicants”.AGTO has recently announced to members that it intends to continue its Meridian branch in the future, following the resignation of its Director Sylvia Saxon from AGTO in August. This is despite Ms Saxon’s intentions to set up a similar club for GTOs on the south coast, with a number of AGTO Meridian members and using the name Meridian.
One man managed to bring traffic to standstill on Monday (27 March) after refusing to move from in front of a bus for 20 minutes.The man refused to moveCausing tailbacks on Putney Hill, the stand-off is said to have caused huge delays.It was reported the man was angry that his regular bus stop had been closed for repair works.It came to an end when the driver called the police.
A counter terrorism seminar has given an insight into how to reduce the risks of an attack on transport businessesThere has been a growing increase in the use of vehicles as weapons, as seen in the attacks in Nice, Berlin and London.Last week (1 June) transport law solicitors Backhouse Jones hosted a Counter Terrorism Seminar in London, designed to inform operators of the risks, as well as how to prevent, avoid and prepare for terrorism incidents.The transport industry employs approximately 1.5 million people. ”You’re the fifth largest industry in the UK,” says Ian Jones, Director of Backhouse Jones.UK threat levelThe UK has five threat levels, from Low to Critical. The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is Severe – meaning an attack is highly likely. The level has not been lower than severe since 2014.Superintendent David Roney, Deputy National Coordinator Protect and Prepare (NCPP), said the threat level is likely to remain at Severe for the foreseeable feature.The threatsA government security advisor from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), gave an insight into the threats which you can encounter and advice on how to reduce the risks posed.He highlighted the transport sector’s importance part of the UK’s Critical Infrastructure.There are five styles of vehicle borne IED threats:ParkedEncroachmentPenetrative impactDeceptionDuressCPNI’s website has advice on managing these threats, a subject called hostile vehicle mitigation.Protecting your sitesYou should be investing proportionally in security and where possible have security layers, he said, telling delegates to imagine an onion having its centre protected. If one layer is compromised then a hostile has further layers to contend with.“Knowing people make mistakes, it’s good to have more than one layer of security just in case something fails,” says the government advisor.This approach to layers can be in the form of physical security, such as fencing, barriers, detection systems, alarms, CCTV cameras and complementary personal security measures involving recruiting the right people, engendering a security culture into the organisation, or spotting and reporting hostile reconnaissance.Measures can be installed on vehicles and depots and reviewing both your security hardware and procedures regularly, and not just when an incident occurs, will ensure optimum security.“Security costs money, but can save in the long run,” says Jonathon Backhouse, Director of Backhouse Jones. “Invest in training, security and insurance.”It’s important to be aware that an attack could occur, so it is recommended to make the necessary investments in your security early.Adding telematics and tracking to your fleets may help reduce incidents. With these live tracking devices, you may notice something unusual well before the incident. “Live tracking helps massively, but it needs to be monitored and acted on” says Jonathon.Assessing the risk“Could your vehicle or staff be involved? You as an employer and business have a duty of care and responsibility,” says James Backhouse, Director of Backhouse Jones. Operators may want to consider terrorism insurance for added protection. James recommends that you check your policy as different insurers have different insurance conditions.There are things operators can do to raise awareness: Analyse the nature of the vehicle use, check vehicle locations and check staff. “These are things you’ll be doing already, but now you need to apply these to the idea of your vehicle being used in an attack,” says Mr Backhouse.Cyber awareness“Cyber-crime is just like all crimes. The intention is still to steal, hurt or damage someone or something, cyber-terrorism is the same,” says Supt Roney.Social media was discussed, and how important it is for you to be aware of what you or you staff are publishing, such as posting images that could be used by a hostile for planning an attack or crime against your premise or vehicles.“You need to have security oversight and be aware of what your corporate communications team are unwittingly disclosing. “You could be making yourself, your customers or sites vulnerable by what you are publishing.”Publishing strategically angled pictures to include elements of security – fencing in the background, a security guard and CCTV – in the picture, will highlight that you take security seriously. But be aware that the level of detail should not be so great that it helps hostiles.“Posting information online can put your personal safety and a business at risk,” says Simon Roberts of The National Counter Terrorism Security Office.Fail to plan, plan to fail“You can ensure that you can recover more effectively from an incident if you have a plan in advance,” says The Head of The National Counter Terrorism Security Office.Ultimately, by thinking ahead and making investments in security and training, you will be able to reduce risks of crimes to you, your business, your employees and your customers.It was said at the seminar: “The most dangerous thing you can do today is cross the road – but there’s a risk there, and there’s a risk of terrorism.”With an increase in vehicles being used as a weapon, it has now become evident that basic security systemy are no longer enough and that there is a growing need for added protection, such as extra insurance.It has also become clear that operators should be prepared for an attack, and while some may see it as being overly-prepared, this seminar highlighted that its best have all the measures in place – just incase – because although an attack may be unlikey, it could still happen.A vital point made on the day was that security is where health and safety was 25 years ago, showing that security measures need to be improved vastly and if everyone did their part in protecting themselves, it will become more strong and stable.Find out more: www.cpni.gov.uk
A retrofit programme covering 5,000 buses in the 9,200-strong Transport for London (TfL) fleet has been approved.The £86.1m cost represents an average of £17,220 per bus, and will bring them up to Euro 6 standards on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).The move comes as part of the proposed tightening of Low Emission Zone standards, and the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the capital’s centre from 2019.Last week, Mayor Sadiq Khan set out in his draft Transport Strategy that by 2037, all 9,200 buses across London will be zero emission.Major cutsTfL says that the programme will cut emissions by up to 95% and by 2020 the entire London bus fleet will be Euro 6-equivalent.Diesel Particulate filters will be installed alongside Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution. Conversions will mainly be carried out at operators’ garages.Operators will be able to select any of the five TfL-approved suppliers – named as Amminex, Baumot Twintec, Eminox, HJS and Proventia – to install the new exhaust systems.The scheme will also create 40 apprentices, employed by the five suppliers to work across a range of areas, from installation and servicing to management.New deliveriesCurrently 700-800 new low-emission buses are being introduced to the fleet every year, with diesel-only buses being phased out.From 2018, all new double-deckers will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen. In addition all buses within the ULEZ will be Euro 6 hybrid by 2019, and all single-deckers in the ULEZ will be zero emission at tailpipe by 2020, taking the number up to 300.London already has the cleanest bus fleet of any major world city with a third of the fleet running on B20 biodiesel, 2,500 hybrid buses, 71 electric buses, and eight hydrogen fuel cell buses.Earlier this year, the Mayor announced an inaugural Low Emission Bus Zone in Putney. This is the first of 12 to be introduced at air quality hotspots across London. Only buses that meet the “toughest emission standards” will be permitted to run within the zones, which also have effective bus priority measures to keep bus delays to a minimum and reduce unnecessary pollution caused by sitting in traffic.Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, says: “Air pollution has reached unacceptable levels in London and we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem in one of the most ambitious programmes of its type. “By retrofitting 5,000 buses – over half of our fleet – with the latest green engine technology, we will be able to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions significantly. “We will continue to take action to ensure London’s bus fleet remains the greenest and cleanest of any major world city.”Sadiq Khan says: “We know that pollution from our roads is a major contributor to London’s toxic air. That’s why we are working so hard to introduce new clean buses on our streets and why we are continually looking for innovative ways to clean up the most polluting buses.“There’s no doubt that by cutting the emissions of more than half of the fleet by up to 95 per cent, this innovative retrofit programme is going to make a huge difference to Londoners.”
Local authorities and bus companies in Bristol, York, Brighton, Surrey, Denbighshire and Wiltshire have been awarded £11m to help buy 153 cleaner buses.The successful bidders will use the funding to buy 43 electric and 110 gas buses, and to install stations to fuel or charge them.The news came as an Optare Solo EV came to the end of a month-long trial with Brighton based The Big LemonTransport Minister Paul Maynard said: “I am pleased to announce this latest group of successful bidders, which should make a real difference to air quality in towns and cities across the country.”The successful bidders are: Denbighshire County Council – £500,000 for four electric buses on services in mid-DenbighshireCity of York Council – £3.3m for 24 electric buses for York park and ride South Gloucestershire Council – £4.8m for 110 gas buses for Bristol services Surrey County Council – £1.5m for nine electric buses for Guildford park and ride [blob] The Big Lemon – £500,000 for three electric buses to be used in the Brighton areaGo South Coast/Wiltshire County Council – £500,000 for three electric buses for Salisbury park and ride
Almost two years after it was agreed in outline, the Department for Transport (DfT) has approved an increase in the weight limit for two-axle coaches and buses, from 18T to 19.5T.The weight increase is not dependent on the fuel type used. Currently, some electric buses in London have special dispensation to run up to the higher limit, which was granted pending the increased.Change comes into force on 1 October; ‘notifiable alteration’ must be madeThe change comes into effect from 1 October, and follows the DfT putting forward the Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) and Construction and Use (Amendment) Regulations 2017.It brings Great Britain into line with European regulations and reflects that passengers are heavier, along with the additional weight of compulsory items such as wheelchair lifts/ramps, destination and AV equipment and Euro 6 after-treamment systems.The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says it is “delighted to learn” of the changes.Operators looking to increase the maximum permitted weight of existing vehicles must submit a notifiable alteration (VTP 5) form to DVSA.The DfT also says they must also obtain a new manufacturer’s plate from the manufacturer, indicating the vehicle can operate at 19.5T. This is checked in the notifiable alteration process.More details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/road-vehicle-authorised-weight-regulations-2017-amendments/road-vehicles-authorised-weight-and-construction-and-use-amendment-regulations-2017-clarification-overview