Coach & Bus Week magazine is the only full coverage, independent & paid-for weekly title serving the coach & bus industry. It provides unrivalled coverage of the industry to its core readership of senior industry figures including Directors, Chief Executives & Managers from all the 'Big 5' national groups, regional & municipal operators, county councils & proprietors of small to medium..
A trial of Our Pass, free bus travel for the city-region’s 16-to-18-year olds, also launches in July
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham has launched ‘Our Network,’ a 10-year plan to create an ‘integrated, modern and accessible’ public transport system.
As part of the announcement, he confirmed that an assessment into the future of the city-region’s bus market has now been completed and recommends franchising as its preferred option (as opposed to a partnership system).
The assessment will be considered by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on Friday 28 June.
The GMCA will decide whether to proceed with the scheme and approve the assessment for independent audit.
If this is approved, an independent auditor will be appointed. Once the audit has been completed, the GMCA would then decide whether to proceed with a statutory public consultation on the assessment.
Greater Manchester is the first city-region seeking to make use of the new powers under the Bus Services Act 2017 and the first to test this legislation.
Our Network is intended to be a London-style system, making it easy and convenient to change between different modes of transport with simple, affordable ticketing and a cap across all modes of transport – as in London.
The GMCA will decide whether to proceed with the scheme and approve the assessment for independent audit on Friday. RICHARD SHARMAN
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “We’ve reached a key milestone with the completion of the assessment into the future of Greater Manchester’s bus market, which recommends franchising as its preferred option and to be considered further by the GMCA.
“We’re the first city-region seeking to make use of the new powers under the Bus Services Act and the first to test this legislation – so are leading the way nationally in this regard.
“Other vital parts of our integrated transport network will include more trams, a new bike hire scheme, free bus travel for 16-to-18-year olds, contactless payment on Metrolink, expanded Park and Ride, pathfinder tram-train projects and setting out our ambition for GM Rail.
“To achieve our full transport ambition, Greater Manchester needs the infrastructure and the necessary political powers. For too long, central government has over promised and under delivered when it comes to the North.
“If the next government is serious about closing the North-South divide, a critical step forward will be empowering us with the necessary powers and funding to improve our transport.
“I will be making this case strongly in the next Spending Review on behalf of the people and businesses of Greater Manchester.”
Responding to the announcement, CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler told CBW: “CPT shares Andy Burnham’s vision for a Manchester with better bus services serving more people and cutting congestion and air pollution.
“The way to get there though is by working in partnership with bus operators rather than by asking Manchester’s council taxpayers to take on the financial risks of running services.
“Where bus operators and local authorities work together in partnership, real benefits for passengers are being achieved up and down the country.
“The Mayor only needs to look down the East Lancs Road to see the 16% increase in passenger numbers which has been achieved in just four years by partnership working in Liverpool.
“Greater Manchester’s bus operators have already put forward a ground-breaking £100m partnership blueprint; accepting this will enable quicker, more sustainable progress towards the world class bus service Manchester deserves.”
Richard Bamber, Managing Partner of Runcorn-based operator Anthony’s Travel, issued a warning to operators last week that their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses may be targeted by thieves. In a letter sent to CBW, he said that there is “currently an epidemic of people stealing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and minibuses never to be seen again.”
He continued: “One of our Sprinters headed to London on Monday and stayed overnight at the Premier Inn Romford. In the morning the driver went out to the vehicle to find the ignition barrel missing and internal wiring hanging down.
“I made a number of calls to seek assistance and my good friend Mark Anderson of Anderson Travel came to the rescue to get our passengers home. I also spoke to Danny McGee of EVM, who told me he was aware of five minibuses stolen within the past few weeks – and in a way I was sort of lucky that I still had my vehicle.#
“An internet search brought up a raft of news articles…23 sprinter vans stolen in the Ipswich area alone within three months. One article mentions it takes less than three minutes. “Often gangs bring their own ignition barrel and ECU, remove the vehicle’s ECU and barrel, connect their own and it starts.
“What stopped mine going appears to be the Alcolock UK V3 unit, which with its separate wiring acted as an inhibitor.
“Our vehicle was recovered to Mercedes-Benz and now we await a pre-programmed ignition barrel and other parts to come from Germany, along with quite hefty bills we will have to take on the chin.
“Within hours of being made aware of our issues I was tagged in a social media post of a poor owner/driver of one minibus having his vehicle stolen the same day.” Richard said he is hopeful the CPT will be able to speak to Mercedes-Benz to work on improving the model’s security.
Salisbury Reds has announced its investment in five new Euro VI engine Solo buses manufactured by Optare.
This announcement comes in support of the operator’s commitment to enhance bus services across the area.
An illustration of what the new Solos will look like with a livery applied
“Buses are an essential method of travel for many in Salisbury. And I am delighted that we have been able to invest an extra £750,000 in our fleet here,” said Salisbury Reds Managing Director, Andrew Wickham.
“These new buses – which will sport the striking new Salisbury Reds livery – are set to deliver exceptional performance, as well as offering environmental benefits including lower emissions – thanks to their Euro VI engines.”
The buses also include lighter floor colours to aid dementia sufferers: “Many of those with the disease are uneasy about crossing darker floors – fearing them to be like ‘black holes’,” added Andrew.
“We want to make all our new buses more accessible for all – and this is just one aspect of that.”
Arriva North West and Wales has announced that contactless payments are now available on all of its services, through Ticketer ETM
This news comes after a multi-million-pound investment across all of its buses, and will enable passengers to pay for travel with debit and credit cards, as well as with Apple and Google Pay.
Howard Farrall, Managing Director for Arriva Merseyside said: “As a business, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our customers’ journey.
“Following a successful trial at several depots last year, we decided to develop the service even further into more areas, as a step forward in opening up bus travel for those who do not find cash payments convenient.
“The new technology will create a faster, easier and more convenient way to pay for our customers, which in turn will help to speed up boarding time and improve the customer experience as the UK moves even closer towards being a cashless society.”
The buses are built on a Scania N280UD chassis, and powered by the company’s 9.3-litre OC09 101 Euro VI engine
First West of England has invested in 77 new ADL Enviro400 CBG bio-methane ‘deckers for Bristol.
Set to arrive in the coming months, the vehicles will operate on routes across the city, delivering an over 80% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 95% reduction in NOx compared to the buses they replace.
The company has already operated biogas buses in the city, including this trial vehicle and 21 for its metrobus m1 route. RICHARD SHARMAN
They also have a 250-mile range, minimising vehicle downtime.
The vehicles will help First prepare for the upcoming Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bristol, complementing upgrades to the existing fleet.
The arrival of the new Enviro400 CBGs will also signal the departure of older, more polluting buses; it’s not the first time gas buses have come to Bristol, as Bristol Community Transport previously bought 21 which are currently operating on the metrobus m1 route. Free WiFi and USB charging points will be available for all passengers onboard.
The announcement was made on Clean Air Day – 20 June – and coincided with the operator giving away over 350 free bus tickets across the West of England division to encourage take up of the bus.
The free adult FirstDay tickets were sent via email to 357 customers across the West of England area to promote the values of greener bus travel and encourage the customer to gift the free ticket to a friend – the idea being that the friend is a non-bus user.
James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England, said: “These 77 new buses will not only be 95% less polluting, but I hope the improved quality of service will also encourage more people to leave their cars at home and jump on the bus.
“To help people make that switch, we’re giving away more than 350 free tickets for our existing customers to share with their friends to mark Clean Air Day so they can see that bus travel is a key part of making every day, a clean air day in Bristol.”
Aidan Rowsome, Vice President of EMEA at SmartDrive Systems, sadly passed away on Friday 14 June 2019 after a light aircraft accident.
Joining SmartDrive in August 2015, the 58-year-old had 25 years’ experience working in high-tech, specialising in SaaS-based business solutions in fleet and risk management.
Aidan was instrumental in growing SmartDrive’s presence and customer base throughout Europe, overseeing all aspects of the company’s sales and service throughout the region.
A trusted and valued colleague, he was a highly motivated professional with a knack for building relationships with key stakeholders and mentoring high performing teams.
“Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a colleague and friend,” said Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive Systems.
“Charismatic and funny, Aidan Rowsome was an exceptional leader, trusted colleague and industry expert, known for always anticipating key trends in the industry.
“We are grateful at SmartDrive for having had the opportunity to work alongside such an incredible person like Aidan and he will be sorely missed. Our hearts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Aidan had previously held senior roles at Unity, GreenEoad, RAC, Northcore Technologies Inc. Telus, and Quaterdeck.
Aidan is survived by his loving wife and young daughter.
In addition to the Airlink 100 service which runs between the centre of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport, Lothian Buses operates three Skylink services to the airport in an attractive blue and white livery: the 200 from Ocean Terminal, 300 from Cameron Toll and 400 from Fort Kinnaird. This Wrightbus Gemini 3-bodied Volvo B5TL was previously in the Airlink fleet and was photographed by Richard Walter airport-bound at Granton Square on the 200. […]
Are you enjoying this feature? Why not subscribe to continue reading?
Subscribe for 4 issues/weeks from only £2.99 Or login if you are already a subscriber
Heathrow Airport has released public transport proposals as part of a consultation on its expansion.
The airport confirmed that its coach and bus hub will be ‘enlarged and strengthened’ as part of the expansion.
“We will continue to work with operators to increase coach frequencies to key destinations, with our priorities being routes to the South West, South Wales and the South Coast, as well as increased links to key rail stations where a direct rail service does not currently exist,” the company outlined.
A First Berkshire Mercedes-Benz Citaro headed for Heathrow’s terminal 5. RICHARD SHARMAN
“We will also work with operators to secure the delivery of new coach routes, potentially including new services to Kent, the North West, the East Midlands and Cambridgeshire.
“We will work with operators to deliver new and improved bus routes and introduce more night buses to help support our colleagues who work early or late shifts.
“A focus of these improvements is to increase operating hours on services to and from Uxbridge, Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond, and the introduction of faster limited-stop services to Greenford and Hounslow.
“We will work with operators to introduce new bus routes to improve links to the south and west of the airport in areas including Maidenhead, Bracknell, Surrey Heath and Elmbridge and ensure that passengers and colleagues from our surrounding communities can reach the airport without having to rely on their car.
“The proposed southern access tunnel to the Central Terminal Area will transform Heathrow’s accessibility from south London and Surrey.”
To respond to the consultation and comment on the proposals, visit: http://bit.ly/heathrowbus