We often look at the past through rose-tinted glasses, and it can be difficult to say when the heyday of British coaching was. It’s a matter of opinion, but passengers would probably agree that compared with 18th century stagecoaches, 20th century charabancs through to closed-tops and the ‘50s, today’s smooth, quiet air-conditioned coaches mean that it’s now.What the past did have was a wide range of coach chassis and bodybuilders. So for those who might enjoy a nostalgia wallow, British Coaching by Michael Hymans (Amberlery, £12.99), will delight.Covering the main British builders and operators, concentrating on the inter-war and post-war period, it’s got a potted history of each company along with mono pictures, and makes for a pleasant read.
The fare for three million Bus Éireann city journeys has been reduced, with Leap fares are down by 18% average on other Bus Éireann services.Bus Éireann customers are set to benefit from lower fares today, with the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) expansion of fare zones in regional cities and other fare changes.These initiatives to increase usage of public transport means that passengers on around five million Bus Éireann journeys will be paying lower fares in 2018, compared to 2017. This includes three million customer journeys in regional cities, and about two million on longer commuter/rural journeys.While there are small increases in city cash fares, significant savings are available to customers who use Leap.Following an NTA analysis of the current red zones in the regional cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway – based on the population density and job density – an extended city fare zone to many major suburbs, came into place on 1 December.Main highlights of the Bus Éireann fare changes include:Small increase in City Single cash fares but Leap discount increased from 27% to 30%, resulting in significant saving for customers who migrate to Leap and no increase for existing Leap Adult City customersLeap discount on commuter travel (single tickets) in the Greater Dublin Area increase from 20% to 30%Amalgamation of Cork Red & Green zones into one Red zone. Significant reduction in most fares where current Stage Carriage/Green zone product fares move to Red Zone city faresExtended City Fare Zones in Galway (to include Barna & Oranmore) and Limerick (to include Ardnacrusha, Castleconnell & Clonlara)Significant reform of commuter/rural journey fare structure. Decreases for most single fares. Major savings for customers in many of these areas.Leap ticketing for the 30% discount on cash fares will be rolled out nationwide in 2018.
Have vehicles to sell, or looking to recruit? Why not do it with routeone for only £1.85 per weekEstablished in March 2007, routeone Trader continues to evolve and still offers many possibilities for operators. Whether it’s selling a vehicle, or recruiting new staff – the various packages available offer a comprehensive, cost-effective, and most of all simple way to do it all.With its structured display and categorisation of the vehicles available, routeone offers the best service available in the market – one in which you can feel confident that whether it’s a vehicle or recruitment advert, your message will be seen and reach the right people.“Trader, it’s so easy and financially beneficial,” says Sham Javeed of Bristol-based Southwest Mini Buses.“I’ve tried eBay and various other magazines and nothing compares. Trader works out to be superb value for money, plus the staff are really helpful too.”With Trader, there are packages available to suit all needs and budgets. Prices start from as low as £99 for four weeks, up to £369 for an annual package.The annual package represents a cost of just £1.85 per vehicle per week, and each vehicle supplied will not only appear in the pages of routeone but will also be replicated and hosted online at www.route-one.net/vehicles – the service could not be simpler.What’s includedTrader offers five packages, from Trader Instant which allows you to feature one vehicle with a photo, both online and in print, for four consecutive weeks, and Trader3 which is for 13 consecutive weeks – through to the equally simple annual packages, which give you a variety of discounts and other benefits.Trader Plus at £249 is the cheapest of the three annual packages. It offers two vehicle listings each with one photo, in routeone and online for two consecutive weeks, as well as two vehicle listings, each with one photo just online for two weeks; one online recruitment listing each week; half-price recruitment rates on printed adverts; and half-price print advertising in the vehicles and suppliers section.The Trader Gold package comprises the same, but with four vehicle listings online and in routeone for two weeks each for just £319.And for £369, the Trader Platinum package will give you the same as Gold, but each listing will have two photos – making your advert appear larger and feature both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.Says David Cooke of Abacus Coaches: “I have sold a coach through routeone. The Trader Platinum package is excellent value and the process is simple. I will be selling more vehicles through routeone.”All packages offer the optional addition of featuring any eight-33-seater vehicles in miniplus.Saving moneyTrader, whether or not you intend to sell a vehicle, can save you money in the long run.“This is not just a vehicle sales package; we also give you half-price advertising rates throughout the magazine, including printed recruitment adverts and a free weekly online recruitment listing,” says Sales Executive Jade Gray.For example, if you take out the Trader Plus package – the cheapest option that gives you half-price advertising – you could save £88.50 on a quarter-page advert featured in routeone, as well as having the opportunity to sell your vehicles throughout the year, then continue to enjoy half-price recruitment advertising for the rest of the year if required.“It’s a no-brainer for operators to sign up to one of the annual packages, even if they have no vehicles to sell,” adds Jade.Why join Trader?“Overall, the Trader package is a cost-effective system that has been designed with the operator in mind,” Jade adds.“It has proven success helping operators sell their vehicles with very little stress, and it’s now easier than ever for operators to advertise – we help to take away a lot of the admin associated with selling vehicles.”There is a smooth system behind the running of Trader. Simply email your advert by 1600hrs on Monday to a dedicated email address. The routeone team then meticulously process each email ready for that week’s issue and online upload thus removing any additional stress from the operator. Once the vehicle/s has run its course, the operator will receive an email to remind them that the advert will no longer feature in the magazine.All the operator needs to do is simply reply to the email or call to ask for it to be repeated. If the vehicle has already been sold, the operator can ignore the email – the advert will automatically be taken out of the system – it’s that simple.The website is updated on a weekly basis, and you can call or email at any time the vehicle is sold to remove the advert.Parnell Coaches Owner, Tim Parnell, says: “Trader is fantastic, the Platinum package is great value for money – you definitely have success with it.”“The trader proposition sits at the very heart of what routeone’s all about,” says Daniel Lunn, routeone Sales Manager. “We simply look to service operators up and down the country with a product that is both affordable and useful. routeone has always tried to focus on what’s important and that’s simply serving the needs of bus and coach operators – no more no less; trader does all these things.“If you aren’t a Trader member that’s no problem, as long as you are an operator you can still access routeone free of charge – Trader is simply there to use as and when you need it. It’s not a subscription to the magazine – it’s a product aimed to do one fundamental job, and that’s save you money.”To sign up to Trader membership email [email protected] or call Jade on 01733 405740.
Just three weeks after The Big Lemon launched a £405,000 bond to raise money to buy three new electric Optare Solos, plus a secondhand fourth to be retrofitted from diesel to electric, it has hit its target.The £289,000 new bus and £114,00 Magtec retrofit are being supported by £513,000 DfT and £114,000 Clean Bus Fund grants, respectively.Bonds were offered by the Community Interest Company (CIC) on a three-year term at 4%, and a five year term at 5%, with a minimum investment of £100.Now it is raising another £135,000 to buy a further secondhand bus and retrofit it to elelctric, with another bond/share purchase scheme, at the same terms. This will bring the electric fleet to seven.It means that Brighton-based coach and bus operator will be able to run its network of six contracted bus routes in Brighton and Hove with battery-electric buses, powered by solar panels on the roof of its depot. The new buses will enter service in the autumn.Says CEO Tom Druitt: “Because of the huge response we’ve had we’re extending our plans to cover an extra bus, which will enable us to ensure the network is electric even when a vehicle is having its four-weekly maintenance inspection.”Adds Mr Druitt: “From a personal perspective the success of this campaign is very exciting as it shows that communities do not need big business or banks to fund the improvements they so desperately need – people power can do it too.”Find out more: https://thebiglemon.com/electric/
Rotala PLC has secured an undisclosed eight-figure Revolving Credit Facility from new banking partner, HSBC, to “help drive its ambitious acquisition strategy.”Established in 2005, Rotala offers private hire, contracted and commercial coach and bus services in the north west, south west, midlands and greater london.Rotala will use 15% of the funding to “acquire a number of transport depots across the UK, specifically in high population areas with potential for economic growth.”It says it hopes to increase annual turnover by 40% from £70m to £100m in the next five years.Rotala CEO Simon Dunn says: “The facility will enable Rotala to pursue its ambitious expansion strategy, both organically and through acquisitions.“HSBC demonstrated a clear understanding of the UK transport market and the kind of finance support a group like ours needs to grow.“Our Relationship Manager at HSBC, Hayden Adams, has been instrumental in getting this deal across the line quickly and efficiently.”Claire Brunning, HSBC’s Area Director for Large Corporate Banking in Birmingham, says: “Rotala approached HSBC with a clear vision for the business and an understanding of the types of funding it would need to pursue its acquisition strategy.“The bank has extensive experience in the transport industry so we were able to put a tailored and competitive finance package in place to support its plans. We look forward to being a part of Rotala’s journey during this exciting time.”
Poor timekeeping in Kidderminster leads to fine ‘to be most equitably returned’ to users in the townDiamond Bus challenged the DVSA’s report of timetable non-complianceRotala-owned Diamond Bus has been fined £9,075 by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton for poor punctuality. The sum will be returned to passengers in Kidderminster in the form of free or reduced-price travel.In a written decision following a Public Inquiry (PI) held on 21 June, Mr Denton says that despite Diamond having attended PIs in 2014 and 2016 following complaints from passengers about timekeeping, it has made “little substantive progress.”Diamond challenged Traffic Examiner Austin Jones’ report that 21% of 1,443 monitored services were outside the window of tolerance. Based on that, DVSA reduced its overall non-compliance figure to 11%, and to 15% in what Mr Denton calls “the problem Kidderminster area.”The operator asserted that 98% of its services ran within the window of tolerance. That was not accepted by the TC, who disregarded some of the reasons that Diamond used as reasonable excuses.However, he did accept reasonable excuse for 30 journeys, to give an overall compliance of 91.1%. That figure was worse in Kidderminster. There, around 15% of journeys were non-compliant, partially thanks to service 3 which is prone to timekeeping difficulties in Stourport.The TC also addressed prohibitions received by Diamond and in particular a wheel loss incident on 13 June. Nevertheless, he found no major issues with the operator’s fleet, systems and processes. Nor did he make any adverse findings about the repute of the company or that of Transport Manager Robert Baker.The fine is based on £33 for each of the 275 vehicles that Diamond Bus is authorised. It was levied by Mr Denton according to Section 155 of the Transport Act 2000, which also allows compensation for passengers in the form of free or reduced-price travel.“I intend to make a specific direction along those lines, but before I do so, I will discuss with the operator how the £9,075 penalty may be best and most equitably returned to users of Kidderminster services and the users of route 3 in particular,” he says.
Lothian’s communications team won gold for Outstanding In-House Public Relations Team at this year’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Scotland PRide awards.Gaynor Marshall, Communications Director, Lothian says: “Winning this award highlights the importance of strategic communication and is testament to the team’s ability to produce engaging, meaningful and trusted content.”The CIPR is the leading body for public relations in Europe and their PRide awards recognise the achievements of public relations professionals, teams and agencies from across the UK.Over the past two years, the Lothian communications team have completely overhauled how they manage all communications both internally and externally and have re-focussed proactive publicity around core strengths of service, environment, innovation and community.
CPT still waiting government responses on certain coach and bus sector concernsOn-going discussions and negotiations about Brexit are still posing questions on coach and bus industry implications, says the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Steven Salmon.“We do face a cloud of some uncertainty,” CPT’s Director of Policy Development told a seminar at Euro Bus Expo. “There are some important questions to which we simply do not know the answer.”Answers to some questions are now known.On the right to take tourists into and around Europe, he says the UK “can and almost certainly will” sign the Interbud Agreement whether it has a no-deal Brexit or Brexit with a deal. But this doesn’t cover cabotage or operating regular services to EU member states.There is a “chance on the horizon” of an over-arching agreement on operating regular services. But if that is not obtained, specific bespoke agreements between the UK and each EU country would be needed.“Then there is the much more difficult question about which there is horrible uncertainty about the right of the driver and any other worker that you happen to have on board to work,” he says. “Mobile workers and hosted workers are a very hot topic in Europe at the moment.”Whole vehicle type approval and selling of vehicles in Europe that are partly or totally certified in the UK could also be impacted by Brexit.CPT keeps asking government questions but is still waiting for answers on certain aspects, he explains.“It is frustrating that we can talk to people who are absolutely at the centre of these discussions and they say: ‘I don’t know’. We have done what we can be putting our issues firmly on their agenda. So, at the very least they know they are important issues and there is a whole sector waiting for answers for them.”
Stoke-on-Trent operator D&G Bus has become part of the Centrebus Group. The news came after D&G major shareholder and Managing Director David Reeves’ sale of his interests to the Leicester-based group.Centrebus Managing Director Matthew Evans takes up the same role at D&G, where Operations Director Kevin Crawford remains senior manager on a day to day basis. Mr Crawford will continue to lead D&G’s existing management team.D&G Bus operates a fleet of 90 buses from three depots in Staffordshire and Cheshire. Mr Reeves – who jointly founded the business with the late Gerald Henderson in 1998 – says recent health problems are behind his decision to sell.“Following a health issue in 2016 I have lost some of my enthusiasm. I am looking for a change in lifestyle,” he adds.Adds Mr Evans: “I look forward to welcoming the staff at D&G into the Centrebus group of companies. D&G has become a well-respected operator and brand throughout Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Cheshire East. There are no plans to change anything soon.”On completion of the transaction, Mr Crawford says: “I am very pleased that D&G has become part of the Centrebus group. I look forward to working with the team there, and to the opportunities that I believe the deal will provide in 2020 and beyond.”D&G is the second largest operator in North Staffordshire. It also has a growing network in Cheshire. Mr Reeves will act as a consultant to the business, initially until 31 January 2020.
Temsa is set to recommence full production following agreement of a sale that will see the Turkish manufacturer become jointly and equally owned by Sabancı Holdings and PPF, an affiliate of Skoda Transportation.Sabancı Holdings and the Sabancı family owned Temsa until 30 May 2019, when it was subject to a sale to True Value Capital Partners. Problems following the sale saw production halted in late 2019.Temsa’s UK dealership, Arriva Bus and Coach (ABC), has welcomed news of the deal. Says MD Andrew Cullen: “I am looking forward to the outcome of this agreement. Assuming it is completed, I believe that the joint ownership of Sabancı and PPF will see Temsa go from strength to strength.“I also thank our customers for their understanding while Temsa works to reach this agreement, and for their continued faith in both Temsa and the team at ABC.”