Spottings & Jottings
Issue nr 43 - April 10th 2011
part 2 - Jottings - April 17th 2011
If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will
advise of any mid-week news please let me know
I hope everyone enjoyed part one of this issue and now on to part two which brings us fully up to date for issue 43.
I very much appreciate the continued support with
reports and pictures.
This part of issue 43 contains much information about the changes to services in our area following funding cuts from local county councils.
A theft from Carousel.
An unfortunate incident has occurred with Carousel involving a recently acquired RT. Someone has stolen the chassis and body plates which has upset Steve Burns greatly.
One wonders why people do this kind of thing which only serves to anger the owner and results in a very cooperative owner being less than welcoming to the enthusiast.
If anyone can help with this please let me know?
When readers take copies of pictures from the OCBP site
Some of the contributors to this site have noticed that their pictures are appearing on e-bay sites selling such things.
Needless to say this is a theft of copyright and one which I deplore!
I would not wish to have to watermark photographs, thereby making them unsalable as such but if this practice continues I shall be left with no alternative. I am sure this would detract from the pleasure so many of you get from the OCBP.
May I please ask readers to do two things?
1/ If you see any photos on sale please let me know and where they are appearing.
2/ If you are someone who has copied and sold photos please desist as this is theft and I will have to take legal action against anyone found doing so.
The site is free to all readers and I pay a price to publish the pages which is not passed on.
Please respect those freedoms and I hope I may not have to mention this matter again.
Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society
The Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society was formed in June 2010 and aims to provide an informal monthly social meeting in Oxford for those with an interest in buses. Meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month and normally take the form of a picture show with local and guest speakers. A small charge is made to cover the cost of hiring the function room and this is usually around £1 per person per meeting depending on numbers.
Next meeting: 19th April 2011.
Showman's & Fairground buses by Andy Baker
Andy is from Cambridge
19.30pm - 21.30pm
Meetings are held in the upstairs function room at:
The Folly Bridge Inn
38 Abingdon Road
Some limited parking at the back of the pub, also close to bus stops (frequent X3/X13 or 35 routes stop outside)
or a short walk from Oxford City Centre - For directions click HERE
A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.
Finally and as always, my thanks to all who have contributed to this issue.
Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - April 16th 2011.
Oxon tender changes
Oxfordshire CC has made the details of the Oxfordshire tenders in the Thame
& Watlington area public from today with a few changes of operator. All
start on 6th June 2011.
Red Rose have lost routes 111, 123 and 124, they have additionally announced that they will withdraw the commercially operated 275 between High Wycombe & Oxford. This means Red Rose no longer run any public services in Oxfordshire and is a further contract loss sustained by this company in recent months. Note the 111 run by Z&S continues as this route is under contract to Bucks CC and not part of the review.
Motts have lost the contract for 108/118 to Heyfordian and a reduced M1 service to Whites Coaches of Berinsfield. The the M1 as far as I know has only ever been worked by Motts and their 'Yellow Bus' operations in the past. Its withdrawn from Stokenchurch-Watlington which I believe Motts continued to fit in with schools workings.
Arriva the Shires have won a bus working of work Mon-Sat on the new 121/123/4 plus new 120 service between Thame & Princess Risborough via Chinnor (off peak) which is to be worked from Aylesbury. Additionally Line 40 has been declared fully commercial from this date and a 340 will be introduced to cover some part route workings between Stokenchurch & Thame. Most buses are removed from Towersey, except for a couple of peak diversions and off peak extension of the 123 to Towersey.
Separately Stagecoach has not retained the contract for service 600 (Thornhill-Hospitals) which pass to Oxfordshire’s community services minibus operation along with sections of the 108/118 in Headington which are not part of the new Heyfordian contracts.
From May, Oxford Bus is making commercial changes to city routes as follows
Current 4/4A/B/C splits into two routes, Iffley Road to be served every 10 minutes by new 3A (same route as Stagecoach 3) whilst 4A/B/C continue to Botley and West Oxford as present, but are merged with the 15 service to Wood Farm to provide new cross town links, as a result the 15 service ceases to exist and will be numbered in with the 4 sequences.
At the same time Abingdon X3/13 loose X4 short workings (renumbered X3) and X23 between hospital and Redbridge P&R via London Road simply becomes an X13 in line with current service.
Summary of changes to subsidised services
Effective from SUNDAY 5th June 2011
Line 40:- High Wycombe – Chinnor – Thame
Broadly hourly service maintained, operated by Arriva the Shires. Only certain journeys will serve Towersey village but Towersey will also be served by routes 120 and 123 (see below).
Service 101:- Oxford – Garsington – Watlington
A broadly hourly service maintained, operated by
Thames Travel Monday to Saturday between Oxford City Centre
Service 102:- Oxford – Horspath – Watlington
This Friday and Saturday evening service to/from
Oxford City is WITHDRAWN. Associated commercial evening
Service 103:- Oxford – Horspath – Wheatley – Great Milton - Little Milton
Service 104:- Oxford – Horspath – Wheatley – Great Milton – Cuddesdon /Denton
A broadly hourly service over the Oxford – Great Milton section will
continue to be operated by Heyfordian Travel
Mondays to Saturdays. Buses will then serve
either Little Milton (via the Haseleys) or Cuddesdon / Denton alternately
Services 105/115:- Wallingford – Dorchester – Berinsfield – Oxford
This route, which serves the villages off the
A4074 otherwise passed by the frequent express X39/X40 Wallingford –
An additional morning bus replacing the current
06.30 and 07.00 journeys from Wallingford will be run at 06.50
Service 106:- Oxford City – Science Park /Kassam Stadium – Wallingford
Extended hourly Mondays to Saturdays from the
Kassam Stadium via Grenoble Road to the B480 then via Kings
Service 108:- Oxford City – Forest Hill / Stanton St. John / Beckley – Oxford
Change of contractor from Motts Travel
to Heyfordian Travel but
timetable broadly unchanged. Service to Elsfield
Service 111:- Chalgrove – Haseley’s – Milton’s – Thame
Service WITHDRAWN due to low usage. Chalgrove /
Stadhampton retain an hourly bus service to/from Oxford
Little Milton and Little Haseley are served by
routes 103 whilst Great Haseley and Great Milton will still have a
Service 113:- Stanton St. John – Wheatley
Service WITHDRAWN due to low usage without replacement.
Service 115:- Wallingford – Dorchester – Berinsfield – Oxford
The existing commercial Thames Travel journeys at
06.30 and 07.00 Mondays to Fridays from Wallingford on service
Service 118:- Oxford – Beckley – Horton cum Studley – Oakley – Brill
Service to be operated by Heyfordian Travel, replacing Motts Coaches
Service 120:- Thame – Chinnor – Princes Risborough
New Monday to Saturday shopping service
comprising two off-peak journeys serving Thame, Towersey, Chinnor and
Service 121:- Watlington – Chinnor – Princes Risborough
New Monday to Saturday service comprising one
lunchtime eastbound journey, operated in conjunction with the new
Service 123:- Thame Town Service
Retained as two round trips (as now) but
increased to operate Mondays to Saturdays. Route extended and revised to
Service 124:- Watlington – Tetsworth – Thame
Reduced to one trip in each direction but
increased to operate six days per week, Mondays to Saturdays. Will only
Service 125:- Watlington – Ewelme – Wallingford
Reduced to one morning trip in each direction due
to low usage and curtailed to operate on Mondays, Thursdays and
Service 138:- Wallingford – Dorchester – Berinsfield
Due to the withdrawal of the through off-peak
service on route 106 (see above) service 138 is reinstated on a short term
Service 275:- Oxford – Tetsworth – Stokenchurch – High Wycombe
This existing service comprising three journeys
each way on Monday to Friday is provided by Red Rose Travel on a
(the latest news is that this service is to be totally withdrawn)
(the latest news is that this service is to be totally withdrawn)
Service H2:- Headington Shops – Headington Quarry – Sandhills
Replacement free service to/from the Quarry area
replacing the diversion of certain 108/118 buses. This service will
Service M1:- Watlington – Nettlebed – Sonning Common – Reading
This existing service is modified to operate on
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday only and
Service W1:- Watlington – Lewknor Interchange – Chinnor (The Watlington Connection).This Monday to Friday peak hour service operated by Watlington C.I.C. will continue unchanged.
First to sell Kings Lynn operation to Norfolk Green
First East England Buses is to sell its King’s Lynn bus operation to Norfolk Green, which is based in the town.
While the drivers will transfer to Norfolk Green,
surplus vehicles will be redeployed within the region.
First will continue to have an operating centre within King’s Lynn to support its flagship X1 service, from Peterborough through Kings Lynn, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and to Lowestoft.
In a statement First said it “continuously reviews the performance and the prospects for future development of its businesses within their local markets.”
First says it “has also taken into consideration the impact of cuts in public funding” and “reduction in the amount of money provided by local authorities for concessionary passholders and for socially necessary bus services.”
First’s strategy is to focus on delivering further improvements to its X1 service. First believes that the town services more closely match the business objectives and plans of the local operator Norfolk Green.
National Express Group Plc (NEX) hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise the company as it tries to prevent the appointment of three board members nominated by Elliott Advisors, the U.S. hedge fund that’s its biggest shareholder, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.
Elliott Advisors wants the bus and railway operator to adopt a new growth plan, to bring value from a Spanish unit that delivers a quarter of sales and evaluate a merger with Stagecoach Group Plc or FirstGroup Plc, a person familiar with the campaign said this week.
A National Express spokesperson, who declined to be identified, confirmed the appointment of Goldman as advisers.
Stagecoach announced today (16 March 2011) a multi-million-pound investment in a hi-tech eco-driving system for its bus operations in Scotland, England and Wales.
From April, some 13,800 Stagecoach drivers will start using the GreenRoad system to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, improve passenger comfort and cut the risk of accidents.
Stagecoach is targeting a 4% reduction in fuel consumption using the technology, which is being rolled out on its fleet of 6,500 buses outside London. It is part of the Group’s five-year sustainability strategy and follows a successful 12-month pilot programme in Cumbria.
A key element of the initiative will be an EcoDriver incentive scheme giving employees the chance to earn “green points” that are converted into financial benefits from a potential £900,000 annual bonus pot.
The GreenRoad 360 system uses a dashboard traffic lights-style system to provide drivers with real-time feedback on their driving style, including speed, braking, acceleration, lane-handling and turning.
Driving decisions are responsible for 90% of all accidents and up to 33% of fuel spend, according to research by GreenRoad.
All Stagecoach drivers already undertake a Safe, Skilled and Fuel Efficient Driving training programme as part of a Certificate of Professional Competence. The GreenRoad system incorporates online reporting, analysis and coaching to help drivers work with their managers to further improve their skills and decision-making.
Stagecoach is also one of the first UK companies to use GreenRoad’s new engine idling solution to further improve fuel performance. It is able to focus on specific vehicles or trips to identify unnecessary idling based on agreed thresholds. The sophisticated system is able to differentiate this from unavoidable idling that occurs at traffic lights and junctions.
Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “We already invest millions of pounds a year in driver training and new vehicles to offer our customers greener, smarter travel and ensure our drivers provide passengers with safe and comfortable journeys.
“We have worked closely with our employees and trade unions to develop a system that is easy to use and will also reward excellent driving by our driving team. It will help deliver further benefits for our customers, reduce wear and tear on our vehicles, cut the cost of accidents, and help limit the impact of our operations on the environment.”
Frank Llewellyn, Stagecoach National Liaison Committee Secretary for Unite, said: "We've worked closely with Stagecoach and GreenRoad on ensuring we get the right set-up for the system, which we believe can bring benefits to both the company and drivers. As well as leading to better fuel economy and less insurance claims, there is a good financial incentive for drivers, with the potential to earn a Christmas bonus of up to £65."
Stagecoach conducted a pilot project for 90 drivers using 60 buses at its depot in Barrow, Cumbria, from February 2010, which delivered improved fuel consumption. At the same time, the average vehicle miles without an accident rose from 29,400 to 58,000.
Aidan Rowsome, General Manager, GreenRoad Europe, said: “We started closely working with Stagecoach three years ago. The company’s depot managers and drivers have been instrumental in directing the development of the service with feedback on features and ease-of-use.
“Stagecoach has invested much time and effort in evaluating various driver safety options. Its due diligence and commitment to excellence will pay dividends with a rigorous methodology for rolling out and using GreenRoad’s service as well as union buy-in and a driver incentive programme.”
Stagecoach Group’s sustainability strategy is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2e emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by April 2014. The company, which has already received the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard, is investing £11million in a range of measures to improve the performance of its bus and rail operations in the UK and North America.
It is leading the UK with the introduction of green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard vehicles. Around 120 hybrid electric vehicles costing a total of nearly £33 million are either in service or on order for Stagecoach bus networks across the UK.
Stagecoach Group is also working with other major public transport groups in the
UK on a major campaign to encourage people to make less use of cars and switch
to sustainable bus and coach travel instead. The Greener Journeys campaign is
targeting one billion fewer car journeys over the next three years. The target
could be achieved by switching one in 25 journeys by car to bus and coach,
delivering a huge reduction in carbon emissions.
TfL appoints Leon Daniels as MD Surface Transport
London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy has just announced that Leon Daniels will be the new Managing Director, Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL).
Mr Daniels joins TfL from FirstGroup plc, where he is currently Customer Service and Communications Director, UK Bus.
He will take up the post in late April and succeeds David Brown, who is leaving
TfL at the end of March to join The Go-Ahead Group plc to become its Group Chief
Executive, replacing Keith Ludeman who is retiring.
Hertfordshire Bus Strategy Consultation
A ten week consultation period has now started on the draft Bus Strategy, draft
Intalink Strategy, and the accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment
Environmental Report. Your comments are invited on all 3 of these documents by 6
June 2011. Copies of all documents are available at
and are also available for reference at Front
Reception, County Hall and in all Hertfordshire libraries. You are invited to
complete an online questionnaire for this consultation, which is available on
the consultation pages. Alternatively, please email any comments to
or write to: LTP3 Comments, Hertfordshire County Council, CHN205, County Hall,
Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DN, by 6 June 2011.
French buy Bath Bus Company
RATP Dev UK Limited has bought 100% of the share capital of the Bath Bus Company Ltd from Ensign Bus Ltd for an undisclosed amount.
RATP Dev UK Ltd is the UK subsidiary of RATP Dev part of RATP Group based in Paris.
Bath Bus Company operates 30 vehicles on four open-top Citysightseeing franchises in Bath, Cardiff, Eastbourne and Windsor as well as offering private hire services using vintage buses.
Eighty-one 81 staff are employed by Bath Bus Company, including Managing Director Martin Curtis.
Ensign Bus Chairman Peter Newman says: “We are delighted that Bath Bus Company is joining RATP Dev. I am sure that they will continue to grow the business and develop new markets, and I wish them every success for the future.”
Cyril Carniel CEO for Northern Europe for RATP Dev said:
“We are delighted that
Martin Curtis and his team will be joining RATP Dev as part of our development
plans for the UK."
ARRIVA ANNOUNCES RECRUITMENT OF MALTESE DRIVER INSTRUCTORS
Eight Maltese bus driver instructors who are among the first employees to have been recruited by Arriva Malta, have received a framed certificate of recognition and Arriva driver trainer badge. The driver instructors have successfully gone through rigorous theory and practical training, and passed their driving instructor tests with Arriva's driving instructor examiner Steve Roberts, who is accredited by the Driving Standards Agency in the UK.
Keith Bastow, Managing Director of Arriva Malta, who made the presentation this week, said he was genuinely proud of each and every one of the Maltese driver instructors who had achieved a tremendous amount in the past month since they started their training.
"Your task starts now with 700 drivers to train or retrain before 3 July, 2011, when Arriva Malta starts providing public transport services in Malta and Gozo," Mr Bastow said. "This is a recognition of the effort you have put in and I am pleased that you are now fully fledged Arriva Malta driver instructors."
In a reference to comments posted on various websites over the past few weeks, Mr Bastow continued: "You need to start proving that the bloggers are wrong and restore the pride of being a bus driver in Malta, capable of offering high levels of customer care and driving safely." He also expressed his gratitude to the seven driver trainers who had been seconded from Arriva UK to do this initial training in Malta.
The theory part of the driver training included safety drills, and techniques in eco-driving - for the efficient and environmentally friendly use of fuel - and defensive driving. This was then put into practice in local driving conditions: on the open road and in town centres like Hamrun and Msida, including roundabout approach and how to stop safely on bus stops.
All the drivers said they found the training extremely useful because, although all of them have many years, even decades, of driving experience, they were given the opportunity to learn advanced driving techniques - the Arriva way - from supportive professional drivers.
Part of the safety drill includes checking their bus both inside and out at the start of the working day. "We were taught how to be aware of what is going on around us on the road in order to be safer and avoid accidents," they explained
Although all neatly turned out, the driver instructors, Chris Aquilina, Ray Aquilina, Michel Abou Haider, Charlie Buttigieg, Ennio Farrugia, Mario Mifsud, Bartholomew Muscat and Joe Xuereb, are also looking forward to receiving their Arriva Malta uniforms. "The uniforms will enable us to show the new face of Maltese bus drivers and the professionalism we are determined to show every day on our routes," they said.
They are enjoying a new-found team spirit which formerly as owner drivers many of them lacked. Word is also getting around to their former colleagues on the level of professionalism and the techniques they are learning, including customer services training, with these colleagues being largely supportive of this new development.
Given the technology on the buses, including CCTV cameras, the driver instructors also feel safe and in a better position to deal with customers and even situations like cars blocking bus stops, which will be caught on camera.
They look forward with optimism to the challenge of teaching prospective local bus drivers and eventually to giving their services on the road within a big company. "We are going to have to teach the theory and practice we have learned to drivers who may have been driving for longer than we have, but we are still confident that we are capable of doing it - the Arriva way," they said.
When asked to describe "the Arriva way", driving instructor trainer and examiner Steve Roberts said, "Bus driver instructors are trained to a very high standard for both driving and customer services, in line with the European syllabus for driver training. That for us is the Arriva way."
Applications on hold as over 4000 seek work with Arriva in Malta
Due to an excellent response from the Maltese public to Arriva's recruitment drive on the island, applications for all positions are being evaluated and Arriva has decided to put a hold on accepting further applications at this time.
Arriva reports that 4,300 applications were submitted for the 920 jobs on offer up to the end of February, both through the website and by post.
Arriva's expert recruitment teams will now evaluate all applications for driving and operational support - where more than 700 people will be employed - engineering; management; and professional, support and administrative positions.
Mr Bastow remarked: "We are extremely satisfied with the high level of interest and applications we have received. We are currently evaluating all applications and interviewing the most promising candidates to ensure the best people are employed to deliver first class bus services in Malta and Gozo."
"At Arriva we pride ourselves on our high standards of service. We are committed to significant investment in training to ensure employees are well supported and able to deliver the best possible service to our customers."
Mr Bastow added, "We will launch a second round of applications for any posts not filled in due course."
IKTAR MINN 4,000 JAPPLIKAW BIEX JAĦDMU MA' ARRIVA F'MALTA - IKTAR APPLIKAZZJONIJIET SOSPIŻI GĦAL ISSA
Grazzi għal rispons eċċellenti mill-pubbliku Malta għall-inizjattiva ta' reklutaġġ tal-Arriva f'pajjiżna, l-applikazzjonijiet għall-pożizzjonijiet kollha qegħdin jiġu evalqati u għalhekk Arriva ħadet deċiżjoni biex ma tkomplix taċċetta aktar applikazzjonijiet għal issa.
Skont Arriva, 4,300 applikazzjoni daħħlu għal 920 post sal-aħħar ta' Frar, kemm permezz tal-websajt u bil-posta.
L-esperti fir-reklutaġġ tal-Arriva issa ser jevalwaw l-applikazzjonijiet għal sewwieqa u sapport fl-operat - fejn aktar minn 700 persuna ser tiġi impjegata - iġiniera; maniġġjar; u pożizzjonijiet professjonali, ta' sapport u amministrattivi.
Keith Bastow, Direttur Maniġerjali ta' Arriva Malta, irrimarka: "Ninsabu sodisfatti ħafna bil-livell għoli ta' interess u ta' applikazzjoni li daħħlu. Bħal issa qegħdin nevalwaw l-applikazzjonijiet u nagħmlu intervisti mal-kandidati li l-iktar jpromettenti biex niżguraw li nimpjegaw l-aħjar niex biex nagħtu servizz ta' trasport publike f'Malta u Għawdex tal-għola kwalità.
"Aħna fl-Arriva kburin bl-istandards għoljin ta' servizz li noffru. Aħna mġenjati li ninvestu b'mod sinifikanti fit-taħriġ biex niżguraw li l-impjegati għandhom sapport tajjeb u jistgħu iwasslu l-aħjar servizz possibbli lill-klijenti tagħna."
Is-Sur Bastow żied jgħid: "Niftħu t-tieni rawnd ta' applikazzjonijiet għal xi pożizzjonijiet li baqgħu battala meta jkun xieraq."
Latest News: 100-DAY COUNTDOWN TO START OF ARRIVA SERVICES IN MALTA AND GOZO
Arriva today marks the start of the 100-day countdown to the launch of an all-new public transport service in Malta and Gozo on 3 July 2011, with the Managing Director of Arriva in Malta, Keith Bastow, announcing that preparations are progressing well.
Among the progress updates, Mr Bastow reported that the manufacturing of the King Long buses is proceeding to plan, with 125 12-metre buses and 49 nine-metre buses currently being built in China.
In addition, Arriva has placed an order for 10 hybrid buses with Optare, a respected UK bus builder. The Optare Solo hybrid buses are 8.8-metres long with 28 seats and a total capacity of 40 passengers. The 2.3-metre wide 'SlimLine' model has been specified to best suit the challenges of the differing roads and varying terrain in Malta and Gozo.
Eight of the hybrid buses will be used on three different routes in Malta, including between the Blata l-Bajda Park & Ride and Valetta; the Three Cities connecting to Paola; and a route linking Mater Dei Hospital, the University, Lija, Balzan, Birkirkara, Attard and Ta' Qali.
Two hybrid buses will be used in Gozo, on three routes covering a Victoria city service via the Gozo General Hospital and the Citadel; Victoria to Zebbug; and Victoria linking with Xagħra, Santa Lucija and Kercem.
Mr Bastow commented: "Malta is going to benefit from cutting-edge technology in these new hybrid buses, which produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants, and have lower noise levels. The hybrid buses will help contribute to better air quality for residents of Malta, and our sister island - fulfilling its eco-Gozo qualities."
Two eight-metre Bluebird minibuses with a total capacity of 20 (12 seated and eight standing) have also been ordered. "These will be used for short trips within Valletta and are also equipped with wheelchair access," Mr. Bastow added.
In the area of recruitment, over 4,300 applications have been received and, until applications are reviewed, Arriva has put a hold on accepting further applications for management, head office, administrative and support roles. "Appointments to these positions, and the re-opening of any positions not filled, will be announced in due course," Mr Bastow said.
The recruitment process for bus drivers has been re-opened for new applicants. Existing bus drivers with a Licence D or those new to the industry that hold a driving licence and are interested in training as a bus driver, are invited to apply. Driver recruitment open days are being held today and on Monday at Arriva's Training Centre at Ta' l-Ibraġ.
Mr Bastow went on to give details of the €10 million technology contract signed with Venice-based engineering and technology expert Thetis to supply and maintain the Arriva fleet management and passenger information systems over the next 10 years. The custom-made systems include Real Time control of the buses from a central control room, Real Time Passenger Information feeds and displays, electronic ticketing, video surveillance, and barrier and ticket management at the park & ride sites.
"Arriva is currently marking the sites of the new bus stops around Malta and Gozo, with installation work due to start shortly," Mr Bastow said. "We are also preparing several depots where buses that are not in service, for example at night, will be housed and maintained."
Further developments and progress anticipated in the coming weeks includes the launching of new professional driver uniforms, the arrival of the bus fleet as its production is completed, further recruitment and training advancements, and more technology systems information and the benefits for passengers.
Mr Bastow also commented on Arriva's commitment to providing the Maltese public with as much information as possible to make the transition to the new service easy and attractive. Information that will be provided ahead of starting operations on 3 July will include guidance on how to use the new transport system, route maps, service and timetable information, bus stop and interchange locations, information on ticket types, and where and how to buy tickets.
A range of information channels will be used, including a customer service call centre which will be launched in due course, information packs sent to all houses on the island, Arriva representatives visiting towns and villages to talk to people, advertising and providing updates on the company's website. Mr Bastow said further announcements on all of these areas will be made in due course, and those interested should register for alerts on Arriva's website - www.arriva.com.mt.
Steve Roberts, chief trainer and examiner, accredited by Transport Malta and the UK Driving Standards Agency, who has been seconded from Arriva in the UK, gave an update on driver training. Nine Maltese driving instructors have been successfully trained and have achieved driving instructor qualifications, accredited by Transport Malta.
"The theory training comprised of safety drills, eco-driving techniques,
defensive driving and customer care," Mr Roberts said,
training to Arriva's high standards covered safe manoeuvres, including
roundabout approach, junctions and bus stops, observation and signals, how to
conduct daily safety checks before each bus goes into service and instructional
techniques." He went on to introduce some new members of the Maltese training
and driving team.
Big hole at Thornhill repaired
writes "I seem to have forgotten to send you the photos I took out at Thornhill P&R on
Thursday February 24th. I don't there is much to explain - except that it was
mid-afternoon. The photos tell the story. As the weather was fine, but quite
chilly, the passengers were waiting in the building as usual, and only coming
out when their coach was imminent. You will probably know when the work was
finished - it was certainly back to normal by Tuesday March 8th. "
Developments in Hertfordshire by Andrew Morgan
Sullivan Buses are starting a new commercial route 330 (every half hour between 9:00 and 14:00, Monday to Friday) on 28th march between Welwyn Garden City bus station to St. Albans, St Peters Street via Ludwick Way, Woodhall shops, QE2 Hospital then following Arriva 301 route to St. Albans. They are planning on using RML 2428 or another RML if unavailable on the first day and then to use ALX 1-5 (Alexander bodied Tridents) as the regular buses. However any other double decker or single decker will fill in (I think the route will require three buses per day as per the uno 601).
I hope to be out on the first day to go on the new service and take pictures. Then the next day for day two of new uno 712 route. Then on 1st march I am planning on going over to Borehamwood to get pictures and go on Sullivan buses new 11 plate Enviro 200s AE4 and AE5.
I will try and send you some pictures. The new uno route 700 to Stansted Airport is a Herts CC contract which has been won from Centrebus but the 635 part between Hatfield and Stevenage is a commercial route.
22 February 2011
Arriva plc, one of the UK’s leading bus operators, today confirmed it has placed £70 million of orders for its UK bus business which will see more than 400 new buses come into service during 2011. The orders build on the significant fleet renewal and growth by the group in recent years bringing the total in UK bus fleet investment to £250m since 2008.
The investment will mean passengers across the UK will see new or newer buses on the roads in all of Arriva’s operating areas, including London. The new buses will further increase the proportion of accessible low-floor vehicles in the company’s UK bus fleet, which reached 86 per cent in 2010, making bus travel more accessible to more people.
Arriva has improved the environmental performance of its services through the use of EcoManager, a dashboard-mounted fuel-saving system, now installed across all UK bus operations. Passengers have also noted improvements in the cleanliness and condition of Arriva’s buses in an independent survey of UK bus customers.
Mike Cooper, managing director – Arriva UK Bus, said: “This order demonstrates our commitment to further improving the reliability and standards of our bus services for our customers. Together with our operational performance record, the commitment to maintaining investment will give our local authority partners added confidence to do business with us.
“New investment and the bus refurbishment campaign being rolled out across the business help us meet the quality service standards our customers have told us they expect and value. Bus travel offers great value for people, especially with recent VAT increases and fuel price hikes. We hope this investment will encourage more people to give the bus a try.”
Arriva’s sightseeing business in the capital, The Original Tour, will take delivery of 16 new open-top buses. The investment will play an important role in building upon the popularity of the sightseeing tours. The order also features 20 hybrid double deckers for London which will operate on route 73 from September 2011.
All new buses will feature Euro V engines, CCTV and EcoManager as standard and easy-access low floor entry.
Arriva places £2m Malta hybrid order with Optare
· Arriva Malta has ordered 10 Solo hybrid buses from Optare, costing £2m.
· They will be the first hybrids supplied by Optare without government green bus fund subsidy, and its first overseas order for hybrids.
· Arriva, which has won the contract to run the bus services in Malta and Gozo, starts operations in July 2011.
The 8.8m, 28-seater Solos, to be used in Valletta (the island's capital) will be
the 2.3m wide 'SlimLine' model, to cope with the many narrow streets. Their
specification includes air-con, LED destination displays and CCTV.
The power pack is a Mercedes-Benz 904LA, 130 kW (174 bhp), Euro 5 engine and a Siemens hybrid system, using ultra-capacitors.
Optare's Chief Executive Jim Sumner says: “As well as local people, many thousands of tourists who flock to the island from across Europe will also enjoy the experience of riding on them. As such, they will showcase Optare’s hybrid technology to an international market.”
Transport group Stagecoach is to trial a new ‘intelligent’ lighting system at bus depots across the UK as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
The Perth-based company is installing the new system – which uses movement detectors to determine the amount of light required – at six UK bus depots in Ayr, Glasgow, Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Gloucester and Chichester.
The lights, which are supplied by Contrac Lighting, automatically switch off when they are not required. In addition, when switched on, they also automatically dim to the required lighting level, dependent on the amount of natural light available.
Based on previous trials, it is expected that the system could reduce the energy consumption used on lighting at the six depots by around 40% as a result of the ‘intelligent’ nature of the technology. This would produce an annual saving of more than 373,000kilowatts per hour (KWh) and save almost 230 tonnes of CO2 over the course of a year.
The new lights are to be installed at all six depots within the next three months. If the results prove successful, the system will be rolled out to all depots across Stagecoach’s UK Bus division.
Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, Les Warneford said: “We are working hard to become a more sustainable business. As well as our investment in greener vehicles, cleaner fuel and improved recycling, new technology such as this is vital if we are to further reduce our carbon footprint as a business.
“We will also continue to promote the many benefits – both environmental and financial - of bus travel to help attract even more people on to our greener, smarter services.”
The installation of the new lighting system is the latest in a string of measures being taken by Stagecoach to reduce its carbon footprint as a business.
The Group has launched a sustainability strategy and is investing £11million in a range of measures to meet its environmental targets. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2 emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by 2014. It follows a reduction in the carbon intensity of its UK businesses of 5.7% in the three years to 30 April 2009.
It is estimated the five-year programme, from 2009-10 to 2013-14, will save a total of nearly 150,000 tonnes of CO2e, with the Group’s annual emissions reduced by around 40,000 tonnes CO2e by April 2014.
Last year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. Stagecoach is the first Scottish-based transport group - and one of only two listed UK public transport operators - to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark. It covers all of the Group’s bus and rail operations in the UK.
At its UK Bus division, Stagecoach has also recently installed new lighting controls at four depots which use low energy lighting but did not previously have a control system in place. The recently installed system – which is manufactured by Setsquare – automatically turns the lights off when they are not required and has so far reduced energy usage by an average of 10% at the Chesterfield, Walkergate, Ashton and Hyde Road depots.
The Group has also cut annual heating energy consumption at the UK Bus division by around 35% in the past three years following the introduction of a hi-tech energy management system at more than 100 sites in Scotland, England and Wales.
Stagecoach also recently announced the introduction of a similar ‘intelligent’ lighting system at six stations across its South West Trains network.
First to place £160m bus orders
First UK Bus is to order £160m of new vehicles – comprising 955 single and double-decker buses - over the next two years from ADL and Wrightbus (on Volvo chassis). The first buses will enter service from next month.
The orders include 200 buses to transport people to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and is one of the largest ever made to UK-based manufacturers, says First.
The order also includes 40 hybrid double-deckers, part funded by the Government’s ‘Green Bus Fund’, for Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.
First will also invest a further £4m over two years to refurbish and ‘cascade’ buses to other parts of its business, thus improving the quality of its vehicles throughout the UK.
“Our bus order is good news for customers, good news for British industry and in particular the transport sector,” says First UK Bus MD Giles Fearnley.
“The effect of our £160m investment will help safeguard and create jobs in the
UK. It demonstrates our confidence in the marketplace and reinforces our
commitment to provide high quality services to our customers.”
Stagecoach Group’s market-leading budget coach operator megabus.com is expanding its Pittsburgh service in North America to cover nine additional cities in the United States and Canada.
megabus.com offers daily, express coach travel for as low as £1 in the UK and from $1 in North America.
From 11 May, residents in Pittsburgh will be able to use megabus.com to travel to Akron, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Erie, Penn.; Toledo, Ohio and Toronto. Booking are being accepted from today at www.megabus.com for May 11 and beyond.
megabus.com will offer multiple daily departures from its arrival and departure location under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center just north of the intersection of 10th St and Penn Avenue.
A new service from Boston to Secaucus, N.J. also starts running tomorrow (30 March). It will offer six trips a day from South Station to the New Jersey city, which is located within 10 miles of New York City and Newark.
The latest expansion means megabus.com will serve 15 cities from Pittsburgh, the budget coach operator’s sixth hub in North America. megabus.com currently offers services from Pittsburgh to Camden, N.J.; Harrisburg, Penn.; New York; Philadelphia; State College, Penn and Washington D.C.
Dale Moser, President and Chief Operating Officer of megabus.com in North America, said: "We are delighted to be expanding further to deliver greater travel value to the residents of the Pittsburgh area and the surrounding cities. People are continuing to turn to megabus.com for affordable travel and to make their dollar go further."
More than 9 million customers have travelled with megabus.com in North America since the launch in April 2006. megabus.com coaches offer free Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms. They provide excellent fuel economy and environmental performance, and are "Green Coach Certified".
Last year, megabus.com in North America won the Leading Provider of Outstanding Car Rental and Bus Deals category at the 2010 Travelzoo awards for the second year in a row.
additional information about service, schedules, arrival and departure times and
Stagecoach Group is in the running for two top honours at the 2011 Business Green Leaders Awards.
The Perth-based transport group has been named as a finalist in the Company of the Year category, while Group Chief Executive Brian Souter has been shortlisted as Leader of the Year at the awards ceremony to be held in London on 7 July.
Stagecoach is nominated for its commitment to becoming a more sustainable business. Under the leadership of Brian Souter, the company has launched a sustainability strategy and is investing £11million in a range of measures to meet its environmental targets. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2 emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by April 2014. It follows a reduction in the carbon intensity of its UK businesses of 5.7% in the three years to 30 April 2009.
It is estimated the new five-year programme, from 2009-10 to 2013-14, will save a total of nearly 150,000 tonnes of CO2e, with the Group’s annual emissions reduced by around 40,000 tonnes CO2e by April 2014.
Brian Souter has been shortlisted for his commitment to environmental improvement. His drive towards improved business sustainability and his commitment to creating new, innovative transport links are behind Stagecoach’s advanced environmental strategy.
Brian Souter is also a member of the Scottish Government’s 2020 Delivery Group which aims to ensure that all sectors of Scotland's economy and civic society contribute to achieving the country’s Climate Change Delivery Plan.
He said: "It’s great to be recognised for the work we are doing in trying to become a more sustainable business. Our aim is to reduce the impact of our own business on the environment as well as helping people lead greener lifestyles by switching from the car to smarter bus and rail travel."
Last year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. Stagecoach is the first Scottish-based transport group - and one of only two listed UK public transport operators - to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark. It covers all of the Group’s bus and rail operations in the UK. "
Among the measures Stagecoach has already taken to reduce its carbon footprint is the introduction of a hi-tech eco-driving system, by Green Road, which is expected to reduce fuel consumption across its UK bus fleet by 4%. The company is also leading the UK with the introduction of new green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard vehicles.
In addition, Stagecoach introduced the UK’s first Bio-buses in Kilmarnock which operate on 100% bio-fuel made from used cooking oil and other food industry by-products. The project also allows customers to exchange their used cooking oil for discounted bus travel. The scheme has reduced CO2 emissions from the vehicles by 80%, saving 2450 tonnes of carbon and more than 2million passengers have used the Bio Buses since the project was introduced. More than 70 tonnes of used cooking oil has been recycled at East Ayrshire Council’s recycling plant since the start of the scheme.
The Group has also introduced a series of measures to reduce carbon emissions at its rail franchises. At South West Trains, the company is investing £2.2 million in a major regenerative braking project to save energy on more than 200 of its trains. The technology returns electricity to the third rail system, allowing trains in close proximity to draw on the electrical supply. The initiative is conservatively expected to save enough energy to power more than 3,500 UK homes for an entire year.
At East Midlands Trains, the introduction of an innovative fuel additive – the
first of its kind in the UK - has demonstrated a 4.4% improvement in fuel
economy. In addition, East Midlands Trains recently launched an innovative
energy-saving engine standby mode which could reduce enough carbon to take the
equivalent of 705 cars a year off the road*. The technology means that when a
train is stood still within a station for more than seven minutes, it will
automatically go into Energy Saving Mode which shuts down virtually all the
engines, thereby reducing carbon emissions.
and Preston by Geoff Cunliffe
I thought it was time I gave you a local update since a few things seem to be happening.
Margaret and I last went up to Fleetwood before Christmas and reported on the tram track renewal taking place (S.& J. 36, November 1). Whilst things have moved on, I must say I was surprised how much still appears to need doing. True the track in Bold Street has now been laid, and the access platform for the alighting stop at the end of the run is now taking shape.
Work is under way in Pharos Street on the final leg of the circuit which brings the trams back to North Albert Street. The street track is being laid with a membrane at each side of the running rail for sound deadening purposes and also to minimize negative earth return leakage to nearby mains and telephone services.
Access platforms have been partially constructed on both sides of North Albert Street for tram stops.
Once the track work has been completed, the overhead in Fleetwood has to be renewed with thicker gauge copper to cater for the higher consumption of the new Bombardier cars.
Working back southwards towards Blackpool, there are several pockets of work including Ash Street Fleetwood, Rossall, Thornton Gate (where the sidings are now covered in tarmac as a works base) and Cleveleys together with the Orion Curve. The Broadwaters Crossing at the Fleetwood Road has been closed but may be open again now. The entire section between Gynn Square and Talbot Square is being relayed. The Talbot Square track now incorporates points for a future extension of the system up Talbot Road to the proposed Talbot Gateway Interchange and Development. This will bring trams back to Talbot Road for the first time since 1936 when the old Layton route was converted to bus operation. The renewal of the track just north of Talbot Square behind the Metropole Hotel has removed the country’s last, original ‘Tram Pinch’ (see your old Highway Code) as the new layout has relocated the tram tracks alongside the sea side pavement to try to ease the difficult intermixing of trams and road traffic at this point.
The work between Talbot Square and Gynn Square is causing traffic problems, and separate work outside the Tower has closed the Promenade entirely there until July!!! Documentation about the road closures is unhelpful in that it is inaccurate stating, for instance, that the section between Talbot & Gynn Squares is currently open only to northbound traffic whereas it is actually open for southbound traffic.
So much work is under way this winter that it is difficult at first to see what will be done in next winter’s closure. Given the first of the new trams is expected for trial, testing and training purposes during this coming summer, it may be that this will show up much tweaking that will need to be done here and there.
Incidentally, transponders are now required on trams to work the traffic lights at Manchester Square as well as those at Little Bispham and some other crossings further north. This means some of the heritage fleet will be confined to the depot for the year until the Centenary cars are (quickly) withdrawn following the introduction of the new Bombardier units, thus freeing up additional transponders.
Another problem for Blackpool Transport’s buses is that the railway bridge in Lytham Road has, at long last, been confirmed as being too weak to carry buses and they have to do a diversion to avoid this. The issue has been a long-running debate, although Blackpool’s huge, ‘Balloon’ double deck trams used to happily rumble over it in the good old days.
Ever thought of visiting Tram Sunday in Fleetwood? This year might be a good year to do so. It is on 17 July and is being organized by the local Chamber of Trade. The significance of this year’s event is that Blackpool Transport has said it will have to review its involvement once the new tram service is introduced in 2012, and without their wholehearted support as the event has received up to now, it will be a shadow of its potential self.
Just a quick update on a couple of things in Lancashire.
1. Preston Bus
Rotala are making their presence felt. There is a new sign outside the Deepdale Road depot, although the rest of the notices remain unchanged except that the Stagecoach name has been shabbily taken off the top!
Some attractive vehicles are coming out of the paint shop. They seem initially to be the single deck East Lancs-bodied Scanias for the 16 to Farringdon Park, and have a very appealing PB logo towards the rear.
2. Blackpool trams
On 6th November 2011, the last day of the Blackpool Illuminations, the traditional Blackpool Tramway system will close for ever. After five winter months of further infrastructure renewal and modification, the new Blackpool Tramway/Light Rail system will start operating at Easter 2012 with a fleet of sixteen new Bombardier units, and this will be a very different tramway with emphasis on maintaining the through service from Starr Gate to Fleetwood every ten minutes throughout the year. The use of Blackpool’s own heritage fleet (what remains of it) and visiting trams will be severely restricted.
To celebrate the end of 126 years of operation of “proper” trams, there will no doubt be many events. One of the first to be announced is that the magazine Tramways Monthly has hired twin-car set 672/682 between 11am and 5pm for operating special trips along the Promenade. Whilst some details have yet to be fixed, tickets at ten pounds each may be reserved at www.tramways-monthly.com/tram-tours-2011
There appear to be no plans to retain any of the twin-car sets in Blackpool so this will be their last year in service. They are, as you will remember, made of driving cars from the 1930s EE railcoaches pulling identical-looking Metro-Cammell trailer bodies mounted on Maley & Taunton trucks from 1958. No doubt the cynics will say it may be as well to retain a couple of sets just in case, given that nothing seems to have performed as well as the mid 1930s stock over the years!
The accompanying photograph shows the set, clearly trailer leading, heading south near Manchester Square on the Promenade last September.
The Fylde Tramway Society also proposes to hold an End of Season Tour which will
also celebrate the passing of the traditional Blackpool Tramway into history.
Details have yet to be confirmed but, if you are interested, keep checking their
The two twin-car sets mentioned above are the only ones fitted with traffic light transponders, now necessary to operate the Manchester Square traffic lights to leave the depot and to operate various others along the route. Cars without these gadgets cannot be used in 2011. A further number will become available with the withdrawal of the Centenary class cars at the end of this year.
Mention of the Fylde Tramway Society also reminds me to plug their Annual Convention on 29th.April-2nd. May. There is a FREE film show, bus tour of the tramway upgrade works and Promenade Tram Tours, although Cabin is likely to be the furthest point north which can be reached by tram at that time as the trackwork at Bispham is being relayed, for the second time, to give a longer third track. Again details are on their web site:-
It had been hoped that once track works in Fleetwood have been completed, the “proper” cars would be able to return to The Ferry terminus for a final season but it is looking as if this will be pretty unlikely. Some of the work may have been completed incorrectly with part of the new track laid in Lord Street reportedly being up to one foot too high! Maybe because of this, Blackpool Transport is hinting that the end of the reserved track at the start of Fleetwood main street, the Ash Street junction, will be the likely terminus for 2011. On the other hand, at least the crossover by the Library in North Albert Street has been relayed.
There is quite a lot of discussion about the new trams, claiming they are over
specified, over complicated, too heavy, both physically and on electrical
consumption and the scheme seems uncomfortably similar to the introduction of
the Vambac controlled Coronation class of cars in 1953 which nearly bankrupted
the undertaking. Talk of maintaining a ten minute service of 100-seater cars
throughout the year does seem to be an over-provision but the undertaking will,
no doubt, respond that many aspects of the operation have yet to be finalized
and we should not speculate too much at this stage. Let us hope they are right
and that history will not repeat itself.
Government figures published today (Wednesday 6 April) confirmed that Stagecoach Group is leading the way on investing in new greener buses using state-of-the-art hybrid electric technology.
Transport Minister Norman Baker is to visit Stagecoach's operation in Oxford as the Department for Transport confirmed that a total of 542 vehicles have been bought through the Government’s Green Bus Fund in England. More than 20% of them have been purchased by Stagecoach – the biggest investment in low carbon buses outside London.
Also today, Stagecoach announced it is to spend a further £3.8million introducing an additional 20 Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 electric hybrid vehicles in Manchester, with a support package of £1.8million from the Green Bus Fund.
This latest order means that, in the past year, the Perth-based company has placed orders for 142 state-of-the-art hybrid electric vehicles, at a cost of £26.9million. The buses will to go into service across the country, delivering a 30% cut in carbon emissions compared to standard vehicles.
Stagecoach has committed to invest £23.5million in 123 of the new buses for England, with a further £11million of funding coming from the Green Bus Fund, cementing its place as the UK’s leading operator of hybrid diesel electric vehicles.
A total of 26 vehicles are now in operation in Oxford with a further 30 already serving passengers in Manchester. In addition, in October last year, Stagecoach announced an order for an additional 47 state-of-the-art vehicles, of which 26 will go into service in Newcastle and 21 will operate in Sheffield by March 2012.
Furthermore, in Scotland, Stagecoach has ordered 19 hybrid vehicles, at a cost of £3.4million, to go into service in Perth and Aberdeen, following an award of around £1.8million in support funding from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund. The new Enviro 350 hybrid vehicles will also be manufactured by ADL and are expected to go into service in the summer of 2012.
Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director Les Warneford said: "We are committed to investing in greener vehicles, and the Government’s Green Bus Fund has assisted us in being able to introduce 142 of the greenest buses available into our operations in England and Scotland.
"However, with the help of our local authority partners there are also other ways we can help make bus travel even more environmentally friendly. For example, bus priority measures in towns and cities are vital if we are to reduce the carbon emissions of vehicles and make bus travel a more attractive option for passengers.
"We provide good value, high-quality travel for our customers – by working together to make towns and cities more bus friendly, we can make our services even more reliable and punctual to encourage more people to use greener, smarter public transport."
Stagecoach is taking a series of measures to reduce its carbon footprint as a business. The Group has launched a sustainability strategy and is investing £11million in a range of measures to meet its environmental targets. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2 emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions by 2014. It follows a reduction in the carbon intensity of its UK businesses of 5.7% in the three years to 30 April 2009.
It is estimated the five-year programme, from 2009-10 to 2013-14, will save a total of nearly 150,000 tonnes of CO2e, with the Group’s annual emissions reduced by around 40,000 tonnes CO2e by April 2014.
Last year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking action on climate change by measuring and reducing its carbon emissions. Stagecoach is the first Scottish-based transport group - and one of only two listed UK public transport operators - to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark. It covers all of the Group’s bus and rail operations in the UK.
Four people were injured and one possibly trapped in
a bus crash in Oxford on
Thursday 31st March 2011 .
The bus crashed into a bus stop and ended up in a garden of a property in Banbury Road, Summertown.
Police and ambulance crews were on the scene and a police spokesman said seven people were on the bus at the time of the crash at about 5.50pm.
She said four people were injured. The extent of their injuries is not known but it is not believed to be be life threatening. The spokesman said police received unconfirmed reports one person was trapped.
Two cars were also believed to have been involved in the crash - a black Audi A4 and a silver Audi TT.
The road was closed for a time.
I have some pictures from Hugh Jaeger to hand showing what had happened.
Low price offer for Oxford Citaro model
John Marsh writes "
writes" Thought your readers might be interested to know that Hattons are currently offering Creative Master Northcord UKBUS 5007 OBC Citaro Rigid (X13OXF) for the princely sum of £6 plus a couple of pounds postage. Seems like a bargain to me!
Marcus Lapthorn writes
writes"During February 2011 we spent two very enjoyable weeks in Cuba. This is a very poor country largely due to the ongoing dispute with the USA.
Surprisingly, there is inadequate provision of public transportation systems with buses being pretty thin on the ground, apart from in Havana and railways in sad decline. The suppliers of trains and other vehicles is reflected in the political alignments that the Cuban government have adopted over many years. So with railway engines for example, one can find examples of UK, USA, Russian, Iranian, Czech and now Chinese locomotives. In many cases these are no longer in use as the Cuban government cannot obtain supplies of spare parts.
As buses are so scarce a large proportion of the population have to resort to standing on streets, hoping that a car or lorry will stop to pick them up and take then onward to their place of work or home. Apparently there is a law that requires car owning residents of Cuba to stop and pick people up and at busy intersections police are on hand to enforce this law. The population seem very relaxed and get on well with one another and there is a very low level of crime, as the penalties for offenders are severe.
Vehicles that are used for transporting the public range from pony and trap, to lorries, to adapted lorries and diesel buses.
I have selected a number of photographs for your consideration and will be
sending them to you in batches of five. If you would like to see my shots of
railway engines then I will gladly oblige as they are absolutely amazing! "
Malta visits 2011
From Mike Penn
Having just come back from a week in Malta I thought you might like these photos of buses all originally from operators in the Oxford area.. I know that you have published a photo of DBY 349 (ex HFC 413) before but as the route buses now have only three more months to run I thought the time was opportune. In some of the photos you can see in the background the works going on to build a new bus terminus in the former layover area just outside the city walls of Valletta.
From Neil Gow
Seeing you had a picture of a Malta bus on the site recently, here's one with a real Oxford connection. DBY 349 has a locally built body by Barbara in 1960, but the chassis underneath is that of former City of Oxford AEC Regal HFC 413 (sister of preserved HFC 410). The picture was taken at Mosta in February 2011 by Stephen Gow.
Don't be fooled by the Commer and Leyland Tiger Cub badges it displays. The
Maltese owners love their badges and will put anything they can get hold of on
their vehicles. Although it probably does have a Leyland 400 series or possibly
Cummins engine by now.
A day out
with John Hammond
A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to transport him and some friends to a wedding aboard his preserved bus. The party went from Biggleswade to Cambridge for the wedding, as I had a bit of time to kill during the day I took my camera and headed off to Cambridge to see what was happening with the bus network as I had not visited Cambridge recently. This bus was preserved Leyland Olympian/Alexander R type D384 XRS which was new as a dual door bus to Bluebird Northern in Aberdeen. Many of these buses were transferred by Stagecoach to United Counties at Bedford and they spent many years based at Bedford depot, my friend acquired the bus because he drove it regularly as a school vehicle until it was withdrawn. I had also driven it and sister vehicles many times in the past and it didn't take long to feel at home in it again.
Attached are some of the pictures showing the variety of buses in operation, although Stagecoach is dominant they have a number of different liveries on buses, local operator Go Whippet of Swavesey also provide an interesting mix of vehicles.
AE51 VFW is a Dennis Trident/Plaxton President and is with Stagecoach, it was new to Cavalier Contracts of Long Sutton
and provided throughout the Cambridgeshire 'Key Routes' contracts, when Cavalier got taken over by Stagecoach, it joined the fleet.
A few pictures taken on a brief visit to Bicester North Station last weekend, there is a lot of Chiltern Line rail replacement taking place at the moment so visiting coaches can be seen. In addition, the three new Wright Streetlite buses were out on the Bicester Village contract and I saw all three examples in service.
History & Discussion
The Leyland Royal Tiger Cub -
I got thinking earlier today about the query Malcolm and I raised when the Leyland Royal Tiger Cub name was mentioned at the last meeting of the Oxfordshire Bus Enthusiasts Society. Chris Maxfield, in his very interesting talk about the buses of Malta, showed us photos of buses with just such a Leyland chassis name on the front badge. I could not remember that chassis name so I have made some investigations ….
I started by questioning Wikipedia, but no reference to the name Royal Tiger Cub was found. However, on checking with Google the following blog came to light, and clears up some points.
The Leyland Royal Tiger (PSU1) was introduced in the early 1950s as a heavy weight coach chassis, but following the Suez Crisis and the rise in fuel prices, operators considered it to be too heavy and thirsty. So Leyland designed the Tiger Cub (PSUC), considerably lighter and with a smaller O.350 engine. This model went on to sell many thousands bodied as both buses and coaches – but only to the then current legal maximum length of 30 ft. When this length was increased to 36 ft the Leopard chassis (PSU3) was introduced, a development of the Tiger Cub with an O.600 engine. A 30 ft Leopard was available as an L1.
It seems that, at 33.5 ft bodied, the Royal Tiger Cubs (RTC1) were really an intermediate length Leopard, (so less heavily built than a Royal Tiger) - between the L1 at 30 ft and the PSU3 at 36 ft. They were built mainly for export - so perhaps they kept the Royal Tiger part of their name that was already much better known in the overseas markets where that model had sold in much larger numbers, probably because of their inherent greater strength to cope with the less well developed roads.
However Doncaster Corporation bought 10 RTC1/1s with manual gearboxes in 1965, and 10 RTC1/2s with pneumocyclic gearboxes in 1967. The Ian Allan British Bus Fleets booklet from 1965 quotes the first batch as being modified PSUC Tiger Cub chassis with Leyland O.600 engines, and a length of 33.5 ft. They had Roe B45D bodies.
The second URL leads to a 1994 video recording onboard one of the 10
Doncaster RTC1/1 buses, at that time preserved.
So it appears that the Royal Tiger Cub badges on the fronts of certain buses in
Malta are probably genuine. My apologies to Chris Maxfield !
From David Percy
Week off from Jeffs, as it's half term, and are really quiet, so looking back through some old slides.
Four for you to look at, all from 1977 was it that long ago.
Enjoy the nostalgia, I hope to scan more slides in the near future.
From Tom Pike
I to lived close to the Warwickshire/Glos (at that time but went to Shipston
school) border and my father drove for Barry’s. With ref to the Meon Valley
thing, it was Meon that had financial trouble and Barry’s took them on,
gradually phasing out the Meon Valley name. David’s' memory of the coaches is
spot on. After Barry died, the company was left to his daughters to run and
eventually folded due to financial reasons. It was not amalgamated or anything,
just dispersed, and the ground sold off for development.
I would be grateful if anyone has any pictures of Barry’s'.
I suspected Barry's took Meon Valley on and that the reason not long before Barry's folded at least some vehicles had legal lettering along the lines of
Barry's Coaches ( t/a MVCL )
was due to Barry's holding two operators licences. Sadly I have no photo's of Barry's or Meon Valley, just my memories.
If you still have his details I am happy for you to pass my email to Tom. Depending on the era maybe I knew his father.
As always your time dedicated to the site is appreciated.
From Marcus Lapthorn
The old fire engine that was previously housed at the Long Hanborough bus museum has moved to Faringdon fire station. Apparently it has come here for engine repairs which seems somewhat puzzling as this fire station is only manned by volunteers!
There have been changes to the issuance of Concession Passes from April 1st when the County councils have taken over responsibility for their control from District Councils. This caused much concern in some areas, when the new passes did not arrive until after April 1st. I was told that government regulations did not allow the councils to issue the passes in good time!!!
From 1st April, any holder of an Oxfordshire County Council
disabled or concessionary pass or a holder of such a pass issued by the
District or City Councils, is entitled to free travel from 0900 on Monday to
Friday [anytime weekends and PHs].
NEW CHANGES TO CONCESSIONARY PASSES
Bucks County Council are now issuing the new Concessionary Passes which will be valid from 1st April 2011.
Most people will have received their passes by this date but for those that haven’t we are asking that you allow them to travel until 18th April 2011. We have been requested to allow a two week amnesty in order for those eligible to receive their new passes.
Any person presenting a concessionary pass after the 18th April 2011
not in date should be charged a full fare to travel.
From Andrew Cowell
I am a regular reader of your excellent website and being brought up in Reading
but now living in Derby I find it a good way of keeping up with the bus scene in
I've attached a photo I took today which I hope you can use in your 'Buses in the Landscape' feature. It features a Bowers (of Chapel-en-le-Frith) Optare Solo on the 13:00 Glossop-Buxton service 61 taken near Whaley Bridge. Fernilee reservoir and the Goyt Forest can be seen in the background.
Keep up the good work and hopefully I will be able to contribute again in the
The latest issue of the PSV Circle fleet list for Berks & Oxon has landed on my desk courtesy Ken Mackenzie, our local Editor of this publication.
It is most impressive, with colour photographs of excellent quality and fleet lists covering many aspects of PSV operation in the two counties.
At £9.00 I must recommend this book to readers who will find it most useful.
It can be obtained from the PSV Circle at Unit 1R, Leroy house, 436 Essex Road, London N1 3QP or via their web site at psv-circle.org.uk
That's all for now Folks
That's all for now Folks