Spottings & Jottings
Issue nr 59 - June 4th 2012
If you wish to be included on a mailing list where I will
advise of any mid-week news please let me know
Doesn't the time fly when you are having fun! It seems only yesterday when I was uploading the last page which is just over one month ago.
Changes continue with our local fleets which are reported fully under the fleet headings below.
National Express continues to provide interest with yet another branding, this time for the Queen's Jubilee. Carousel now fully confirms the arrival of three ex North East previously London Olympians. I understand they are to be in a blue livery, presumably for schools work only.
Gavin Francis took a trip to Swindon on the 66 and has provided some excellent and very interesting pictures.
Steve Warwick went to Wisley and has sent a few pictures of what was a very wet day's event.
The latest book on Thames Valley is now available from Paul Lacey at a special price to readers of £20.00. Just quote the OCBP when ordering. More details at the bottom of this page.
Olympic Torch Relay
We have now seen the first days of the Olympic Torch runners and the large convoy of vehicles which is involved. Indeed in this mornings Telegraph there was a detailed report on all those involved. One of my colleagues is a driver on the minibus fleet and I hope we will have reports from him from time to time.
PICTURES OF THE
DAY THE TORCH COME TO MY HOME TOWN OF ROYAL WOOTTON BASSETT
by DAVID WILTSHIRE.
I can report on various running days during the past month including Aldershot and Slough. These events produced some fine vehicles for people to ride and the weather improved quite a lot in the latter half of May.
Richard Morgan writes
"The old chap did 40 years with A&D and is oldest surviving ex employee.
Cake celebrated 100 yrs of A&D and 20 yrs since Stagecoach took over. "
I took an Oxford Hybrid to the event and saw the many other buses which
I took an Oxford Hybrid to the event and saw the many other buses which were present.
Altogether a delightful day, well organised and with superb weather!
Amersham & District Motorbus Society
Slough Running Day
Nigel Peach writes with pictures from the Slough Running Day last Sunday (20th May).
Picture No 263: RT3254, RTL139 and RM1990 hogging the three lanes on the B416 at the traffic lights,
waiting to cross or join the A4 by the new bus station.
I assure you I was stationary in my car behind when I took the picture!
Ray Marshall writes
writes "Attached are some pix taken at Portsmouth on 27th May."
Dates for your diary
Dates for your diary
Other Running Days in 2012
Sunday 24 June UXBRIDGE based at Chippendale Way, R/0 The Chimes Shopping Centre, as previously
Sunday 19 August HEMEL HEMPSTEAD based at bus station, Waterhouse Street
Sunday 7 October AMERSHAM based at car park near railway station
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 for members per meeting depending on numbers. For non-members a charge of £2 per head is made.
19th June 19.30pm - 21.30pm
A little advance notice of June's meeting from John Hammond who writes "the speaker is George Watson.
George Watson will talk about his time in the bus industry founding Clydeside Scottish at deregulation and the battles he had with the Scottish Bus Group management. He will also cover his time with Stagecoach East Midland and Routemasters feature quite a lot in both operations.
He will also be bringing his book "Clydeside Scottish - we tried to run a bus company" (and I've read it so can vouch for what an interesting and honest book it is) and other publications from his list here www.RodneyTheRoutemaster.com with only the (currently) out of print Glasgow Subway album not available."
Tuesday 19th June at the Folly Bridge Inn, Oxford and will commence at 7.15pm
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
Upcoming Meetings from May 2012
· 19th June Clydeside Scottish ‘we tried to run a bus company’ – by George Watson
· 17th July Evening Outing, details TBC
A detailed programme of meetings can be found at the following link and we hope many of you will attend future meetings.
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.
The level of contribution to this page by readers, as ever, remains excellent! Thank you all.
Malcolm Crowe - Editor - OCBP - June 4th 2012
Observations and pictures
David Percy from Nether Heyford, Northants writes "The recent heavy rain has caused a few problems in my part of Northamptonshire, here are a few images."
1. Stagecoach KX56 JZG, 35335, crosses the swollen River Nene at my home village of Nether Heyford, 30/04/2012.
2. Campion School home run, Country Lion Plaxton A15 CLN at the river Bridge at Kislingbury, 30/04/2012.
3. Hotly followed by Hunters of Daventry Volvo/Jonckheere Nil 4999, en-route to Whilton Locks driven by my good friend, James Yates.
"Thanks for your site, good value as ever!"
(Malcolm for you info Stagecoach actually run deckers under this bridge just and from what I know all low height deckers fit under it... but it’s now sure a Scania with RH body is not lowheight)
It had crossed town in this state at 5pm on Monday afternoon, and attracted a few looks, including one from a Park and Ride driver. I was just in front of it and made the depot about 30 seconds before...... The guy upstairs I would assume is a lookout for falling bodywork as the driver has lost the upper deck mirror."
writes"Thought you would like this one, it’s the 4th Cedars deroof's that I know about over the years, and occurred on 30-4-12 at Oakley Bridge north of Bedford,
Graham Low writes
writes "I enjoyed your page once again. Thank you for all your efforts.
I travelled on Wrightbus NB4L LT6 on Wednesday 2 May from Victoria to Hackney Central, as in these views. I also saw LT1 (photographed from the top deck of LT6) and LT2 in service on that day.
I noted that although they seat only 62 (RMs seated 64) they weigh 12650kg - over 5 tonnes more than an RM and about a tonne more than an ADL E40D (with 65 seats). The conductor never moved from the rear platform, though he cheerfully answered people's questions!
It was well finished and generally quiet, though there was noticeable vibration from the electric drive on LT6."
Richard Sharman sent some interesting pictures.
sent some interesting pictures.
South Gloucestershire's Levante FJ60 HYF is seen operating through
Oxfordshire on the A40 bound for Gloucester.
This Service is now jointly operated by South Gloucestershire, EYMS
owned Whittles of Kidderminster and Yeomans of Hereford.
Service 300 [and High Wycombe service 31] was unable to serve Frogmoor and Oxford Street in the Town Centre of High Wycombe, all day on Saturday 19 May, meaning the service was diverted in both directions via Glenisters Road and Arch Way.
Adam Green sent some notes on
Arriva buses at Hemel.
sent some notes on Arriva buses at Hemel.
3195-3199 have been Withdrawn from Service
4075 is at Watford for Repaint
5121 is Back out on the road after a Accident at Hemel garage over a Month ago
3271 & 5152 was on the 2&3 yesterday Morning
2419 was on the 500 to Aylesbury
Nigel Peach writes .
writes"I did see 3520 (R809 WJA) a Dart with UVG UrbanStar bodywork according to my book. This was on route 32, with full destination display. It's an ex MK Metro bus. (We get all the good cast-offs!)
On S & J 57, you show a picture of Green route 31 branded Volvo 3861 with the comment "Arriva's 3861, looking somewhat battle scarred must be soon due for a repaint."
Obviously you only have to say the word, because it has indeed been repainted! What influence you have. I must now compile a list of other buses for you to describe as "battle-scarred"!!
3863 has also been repainted - this is the non-branded one from that batch
of seven. 3862 was done a year or so ago - hopefully they are working
through the batch. They entered service in March 05, so they have certainly
earned their new coats of paint! "
writes "Arriva Shires in Watford have started to re-spray the Optare solo buses in to Arriva Inter-Urban Livery.
The first two buses that have been re-sprayed are 2479 (YJ07 VRD) & 2492 (YJ07 BGF).
2479 used to be painted half purple & 2492 was half green for the business service to Croxley Green.
Also some of Hemel Darts have now got an L E D destination screens fitted."
It would be nice if someone could supply pictures of these changes. Ed.
Pete Cabin writes "
writes"....noticed today 3861 KE05FMX 3862 KE05FMV 3863 KE05GOH have all been repainted into Inter-Urban colours
The company advises that the following fleet changes have taken place.
801-803 - Optare Tempo ex Wilts & Dorset. YX06 FXW, YJ56 WUB and YJ56 WUD.
928-931 - Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties R267, 270, 279 and 280 LGH ex Go North East.
997 - Renault Master van CE57 DSY
Leaving the fleet:
DMS 23- Dennis Dart S523 KFL sold to North Somerset Coaches, Nailsea
DMS 8 - Withdrawn awaiting sale
BL21 - Withdrawn awaiting sale
Mercedes support van R949 FFM sold to ASM, Aylesbury (dealer).
BMC Hawk bus 'BL 21' MP56 BUS has left the Carousel fleet and passed to I&S Coaches, Hereford for further service.
Noel Clark - General Manager advises that Tempo "
advises that Tempo801 has now been branded for service 4, (pictures below). Noel says "I'm really pleased with how the design turned out, quite striking I think.
Noel further adds that a
928 R267 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F
929 R269 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F
930 R270 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F
931 R287 LGH Volvo Olympian Northern Counties H47/31F
"I suspect you'll see them out on schools after half term when the PVLs have returned to London."
Noel further adds that all four Volvo Olympians are now at Wycombe painted blue as follows:
Gavin Francis notes that
Gavin Francis notes thatone of Carousels Buses Primos was once used to operate the Holiday Inn shuttle at Stansted Airport.
First seem to operate a variety of buses on the X74 to High Wycombe from Slough. Although they have sufficient red Citaros, now converted to single door.
Steve Warwick a driver with the company has sent some interesting pictures of the current fleet used at this location, mainly on school work.
As you can see MT12 MTT has been put into Crusader Livery, with ET12 MTT & GT12 MTT which will be in Motts Livery.
Both MA07 MTT & MB07 MTT,
the two Solos are now sold to Star Travel of Aylesbury & Utopia Coaches of
Sherburn in Elmet respectively . "
writes "Motts Travel have a new Jonckheere JHV 126 / Volvo B9R which is in Crusader Holidays livery and carries the registration MT12 MTT.
Motts Travel Optare Solo SlimLine MA07 MTT is no
longer in Motts Travel livery but is in plain white with Motts Travel
Today (25th May) I saw a new Plaxton Cheetah
coach with a Mercedes Benz chassis it was in plain white with Motts legals
its number plate is GT12 MTT and it was operating a school run to Aylesbury
Schools Coach Park. " (see above)
" (see above)
2 May 2012
Sold (5/12) Tridents 902/3/8 to The Green Bus, West Midlands.
writes"On 1 April I saw new airline coach 13 rounding the perimeter road approaching T5. The quality isn't brilliant, but it is a crop from a phone-camera picture!
writes"COMS Coach 37 has now been reregistered for disposal by Nigel
McCree(Dealer), it currently carries Thames Travel legals.
We have already featured two new coaches in the Plastow's fleet but Richard Sharman has provided one fully decked out in the company livery. It looks very smart!
Red Line work some local services in High Wycombe on weekdays and the 40 on Sundays.
Gavin Francis caught two Red Rose Darts on the 275 with full destination display for the revised routing via Chinnor.
R H Buses
Richard Sharman has sent some interesting pictures of the fleet, one showing the wrap advert for a local event.
An interesting picture from Mike Bennett of a recent acquisition by RH.
writes " "
writes "Friday 4th May found me in Exmouth and then North Devon. Here is one of the new to Oxford Tridents in the blue Promotional livery for the trunk North Devon service.
Lapthorn writes "To my surprise four new bus stop locations have been unveiled recently on the A 420 for the Stagecoach West route 66 between Swindon & Oxford. Two (eastbound & westbound) are at a new location for a stop at Wadley Manor just outside of Faringdon on the way to Oxford.
The other two were intended to be at another new location - Pusey Furze Barns near Buckland.
This new location is about 200 yards east of the
existing Tudor Lodge bus stop which it was intended to replace. However the
contractor has wrongly installed the new bus stops labelled Pusey Furze
alongside the existing Tudor Lodge bus stop signs!
There are now three bus flags at Tudor Lodge, one of which is labelled Pusey Furze!"
Additionally you may recall that I recently sent you details of the new Stagecoach in Swindon route 53 from Swindon to Cirencester. Here is a photograph taken on Saturday 26 May, of 33955 on the new 53 route still showing faint signs of its former depot allocation in Cheltenham. According to the driver a mixture of double and single deckers service this route.
Also attached are photographs of the different 55 route branding on two double deckers.
writes "Stagecoach in Swindon have recently received four transfers from Yorkshire. These buses are 21129, 21130, 21131 and 21132. They are Volvo B10BLE’s, with a Wright Renown Body. They have been out and about on Service 51, as well as out and about on Town Routes 7&8. One wonders if the days of Swindon’s Trusty High floor Volvos (once a regular on the 66!) might be seeing an end to their operational life in Swindon? Today I caught 20688 on Swindon Town Route 8 (picture attached, although half the bus was cut out!)
Displaced Long Wheelbase M A N’s from Route 66 (all now without their 66 route branding) are supposed to be allocated to Town Route 8. However, the route seems to have seen anything but! Today; 33971 (pictured), 15733, 20688, 33953, 33955 and 22625 (pictured) were on the route. M A N’s have also found themselves on (normally allocated Trident) route 7.
Stagecoach have recently taken over and amended Service 53 from Thamesdown, which now provides a 30 minute service (combined with service 51) to Cricklade and Cirencester. One Double Deck bus and Two Single deck buses are allocated to this route. Pictured is 33970 in Swindon Bus Station, about to depart to Cirencester and Stratton. 18192 and 33969 were also operating this service today.
Seven of the nine buses purchased for the upgrade of route 55 have been branded on one of the most striking liveries I have ever seen! Pictured is 15735, which features Calne’s Town Crier! Each of the Seven buses features a different place along the route.
Buses 33927 and 33946 have been transferred to Stroud.
Stagecoach Gold are seeing rising numbers on the
66. As the route only requires six of the seven Gold buses, a Gold bus can
often be seen on other routes. (Last week, there was a Gold bus on Services
6,8 and 55!) ."
There is a further article on Swindon further down the page under Trips and Events.
John Godwin writes "
writes"I spotted the attached in Bath today .... thought it might be useful for your website.
Megabus Volvos 53643 and 53637 ready for their departure to the new European destinations. on May 23rd.
I am told these services are fully booked until the end of June, an excellent result for a brand new venture. M Crowe.
Gavin Francis caught up with one of the Swanbrook Caetanos on the 853 and sent the pictures below. The company is sadly not using the destination screen which would advertise the service?
writes " "
writes "Thamesdown are currently awaiting arrival on 6 new Wright Streetlites.
Z&S - Aylesbury
AFTER three years work is finally set to begin on the £3.5m Thornhill Park and Ride expansion – but not before the neighbours are turfed out first.
But the people of Sandhills need not worry, as council workers will spend the next couple of months relocating the area’s grass snakes to a field east of the site.
Their relocation is part of Oxfordshire County Council’s scheme to increase the number of spaces at the well-used site from 850 to 1,356.
Expansion work will be carried out to the west of the car park and is expected to begin in October and be completed by March.
The county council will carry out ecological mitigation to offset the impact of the expansion during the summer.
This involves creating a new habitat for the grass snakes, which live in the neighbouring field.
Chunks of turf from the extension site will be swapped with the topsoil in the habitat field to effectively move the snakes’ environment to a new location.
Neil Clennell, head of conservation at The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, said: “It’s the right thing to do.
“Just because it is the most common snake in Britain doesn’t make it a common animal. Grass snakes are not as common as they used to be.”
The species is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to kill grass snakes. The snake is a non-venomous species which is widely found in lowland areas of England and Wales.
The species’ only defences are playing dead or emitting a foul-smelling liquid.
Thornhill is used not only to get into the city, but also by the Airline bus to London airports and others into the capital.
It is the third smallest of the park and ride car parks, though expansion would take it to within 30 spaces of the current largest at Redbridge.
There are five park and rides around Oxford, but Thornhill is one of only two that are free to park in.
Oxford Bus Company’s managing director Philip Kirk said: “The county council is to be commended for acknowledging the importance of the scheme in difficult financial times.”
Plans to expand the car park were first put forward in 2009 but it is finally going ahead after a Government grant last year.
The expansion will include a trial bike-hire scheme similar to the one introduced by Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
THE TALE SO FAR...
2002: Thornhill Park-and-Ride is expanded to current size.
2009:Plans are originally put forward to expand Thornhill by 540 spaces, but a possible charge for commuters to London is put forward.
June 2010: Government cutbacks threaten project, but some urge the county council to proceed for the sake of city’s finances.
Sept 2010: Then-cabinet member for growth and infrastructure Ian Hudspeth puts forward to the county council a multi-million pound package of transport improvements which includes the expansion of Thornhill.
March 2011: County Council given permission to expand, but needs to find £3m.
April 2011: It is suggested Oxford University pays for the expansion as part of its £57m Old Road campus development.
July 2011:Government grant of £5m means the expansion can go ahead and paves way for the “Boris bike” hire scheme.
First issues UK Bus profit warning
First has issued a profit warning for its UK Bus Division this morning, saying that despite “steady performance” during year; it expect margins in 2012/13 to be “significantly affected by deteriorating economic conditions particularly in the North of England and Scotland and reduced funding to the industry.”
CEO Tim O’Toole says: “As a result, we do not expect revenue growth and cost efficiencies in 2012/13 to be sufficient to offset the impact of reduced government subsidies and funding to the industry, which are more acute than originally estimated, and increased fuel costs.
“In response we are accelerating a comprehensive plan that will deliver sustainable growth in revenue and patronage and improved returns.
“This includes repositioning our UK Bus portfolio through a programme of business and asset disposals to focus on those areas where the greatest potential for growth exists.”
The news came as the PLC announced its preliminary results for the year to 31 March. The PLC’s four other divisions (UK Rail and its USA businesses) performed well. Divisional figures have not been released, but total revenue was up by 4.1% to £6.6bn and pre-tax profit was up by 121.3% to £279.9m, thanks mainly to the turnaround in the USA businesses.
On the news First’s share price, which suffered a slump last month, quickly jumped and was up by 10% to £2.23 in early trading.
Stagecoach accepts smartcards for concessionary journeys across UK in industry first
22 May 2012
• Smartcard technology can now record concessionary journeys on all
Stagecoach buses outside London
• More than 200million concessionary journeys a year made using smartcards on Stagecoach vehicles
Stagecoach announced today (Tuesday 22 May) that it has become the first major bus operator in the country to accept smartcards for concessionary journeys on every one of its vehicles outside London.
The technology now covers the Perth-based group's 19 regional bus companies in Scotland, England and Wales.
It means passengers with National Concessionary Travel Scheme smartcards now simply need to place their card on the ticket machine when they board the bus and their journey will be recorded electronically.
Stagecoach was the first major UK bus operator to complete the installation of Government-standard ITSO smartcard ticket machines on its entire UK bus fleet outside London. The company was also the first to accept national concessionary travel smartcards across its entire bus fleet in both Scotland and Wales and has spent the past year introducing the technology at each of its businesses across England.
More than 200million concessionary smartcard transactions are now made on Stagecoach bus services across the UK each year.
Stagecoach UK Bus Managing Director Les Warneford said: “This is an important milestone. After becoming the first major bus operator to install smartcard technology on all of our buses, we are now putting it to good use for the benefit of our concessionary customers whose journeys can now be recorded electronically.
“We will continue to expand our use of smart ticketing to provide more convenient solutions for our passengers and we look forward to attracting even more people on to our greener, smarter bus services.”
Stagecoach has also launched its own smartcard scheme for passengers who make standard journeys not covered by concessionary travel schemes. StagecoachSmart travel cards are already being used on its buses in Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Manchester, South East and North East England. The initiative, using a system by Vix ERG, allows passengers to store their travel on an electronic card instead of using paper tickets. Bus customers can also pay for their travel through hassle-free automatic monthly payments.
Stagecoach Group continues to lead the way in working towards Transport Minister Norman Baker’s vision to have all public transport covered by smartcard technology by 2020.
In 2008, the Group launched the UK’s first national rail smartcard on its South West Trains franchise and ITSO smart ticketing is now live at around 100 stations on the network. In addition, season ticket holders on the Group’s East Midlands Trains franchise can now also switch from paper tickets to StagecoachSmart travel cards for travel between 26 stations on the network that are fitted with smartcard technology.
And earlier this year, Stagecoach announced an integrated bus-rail smart ticketing pilot in Basingstoke, Hampshire – one of the UK’s first commercial multi-modal applications of the Government-preferred ITSO technology. The pilot allows a South West Trains rail season ticket and a Stagecoach South Megarider multi-journey bus ticket to be stored on one smartcard. The integrated bus-rail pilot will be gradually expanded in the months ahead to include more passengers and further areas.
STAGECOACH IN OXFORDSHIRE ON BOARD TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
Transport group Stagecoach is using its fourth
annual Group-wide Green Week to celebrate its environmental achievements so
During the week-long programme of events, Stagecoach in Oxfordshire will encourage employees and customers to further drive forward the green agenda with a number of activities taking place from 21-25 May.
The Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Green Week road show will visit the following locations to give out limited edition 2012 ‘eco kits’ and answer any questions or queries about Stagecoach services in the area:
Monday 21st - Oxford Gloucester Green Bus Station
Tuesday 22nd - Bicester Market Square
Wednesday 23rd - Witney Market Place
Thursday 24th - Banbury Bridge Street
Friday 25th - Brackley Market Place
Stagecoach Group is currently in the third year
of a five-year plan to reduce its own carbon footprint as a business.
However, the Group has been taking action for a number of years to cut
carbon emissions at its buildings and vehicles and the results show that the
company is making good progress.
At Stagecoach in Oxfordshire a number of green measures have been put in place including the introduction of Oxford’s first diesel-electric hybrid double deckers in August 2010.
Stagecoach Group has made good progress in recent years in reducing its carbon footprint. It reduced carbon emissions relative to the turnover of its UK businesses by 5.6% in the two years to 30 April 2011 as a result of a package of measures designed to make the Group more sustainable. This reduction followed a 5.7% carbon efficiency improvement in the three years to 30 April 2009*.
And the Group is continuing to further reduce the impact of its operations on the environment as well as encouraging greater use of public transport to reduce pollution and congestion in towns and cities. Stagecoach is committed to offering motorists a greener, smarter and better value travel option through its network of affordable and high quality bus, coach and rail services.
The company’s annual Green Week aims to raise awareness of environmental issues among staff and passengers through a series of events.
Stagecoach in Oxfordshire Managing Director Martin Sutton said: “Green Week is now an established and important part of our efforts to become a more sustainable business. We know the global challenge we all face on climate change is not just about what we do during this week, but how we make a difference every day of the year. That's why we will continue to work hard to encourage our staff and help our customers to adopt greener lifestyles.”
Stagecoach Group announced earlier this year that it has retained the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard after taking tough action on carbon reduction. The Group has shown a significant improvement in carbon efficiency over the two year certification period, since its initial certification was awarded, and during the same period the company also cut its emissions on an absolute basis in the UK overall.
In 2010, Stagecoach launched Revolution in the Way We Travel, a five-year plan to reduce further the carbon emissions from its transport operations in the UK and North America. Stagecoach Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in carbon emissions from buildings and a cut of 3% in carbon emissions from annual fleet transport by April 2014. Specific stretching targets have been set for each of its bus and rail businesses, supported by an £11million green investment programme.
Stagecoach reports annually on its carbon emissions through its corporate website, www.stagecoach.com, and also provides information on its global carbon footprint to the Carbon Disclosure Project, the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emissions database.
Stagecoach has won a number of awards recently for its environmental initiatives. Last month, the company won the Sustainability Award at the 2012 Scotland plc Awards and, in October last year, Stagecoach, along with Alexander Dennis Ltd., won the Green Award at the 2011 Route One Operator Excellence Awards for the introduction of hybrid-electric vehicles. The Group also won the Environment Award at the 2011 UK Bus Awards and, in July 2011, Stagecoach was Highly Commended as Company of the Year at the inaugural BusinessGreen Leaders Awards.
31 May 2012
Stagecoach Group announced today (31 May 2012) that it is expanding the North American network run by its market-leading budget coach operator megabus.com to the major state of Texas.
Services will start running from 19 June out of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, the state’s three biggest cities with a combined population of around 4.6 million people
Residents will be able to travel to five cities: Austin, Texas; Norman, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
The new routes will be operated using a $17.5 million fleet of 25 new state-of-the-art double-decker coaches. The environmentally-friendly vehicles have seatbelts, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms. They are also equipped with GPS technology and a host of advanced safety features.
Bookings for the new services are being accepted from today at www.megabus.com. During the first week of sales, all tickets for the new routes will be no more than $1 and the company is also offering 10,000 free seats.
Texas is the second biggest state in the United States in terms of population. The latest expansion brings the number of locations in North America covered by the successful budget coach brand to more than 80.
Around 600 new jobs have been created by megabus.com throughout the United States and Canada. It has expanded rapidly to service new cities, attracting more than 18 million passengers in the past six years.
The new Texas routes will initially be operated under contract by Coach America. It also runs the megabus.com hub in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves 11 cities in the states of Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.
Stagecoach announced earlier this month that it had agreed a deal to acquire a number of businesses and assets from Coach America, subject to court and regulatory approval. These businesses include Coach America operations in San Antonio, Dallas and Atlanta. Stagecoach intends to operate the megabus.com services in these locations directly in due course.
The Coach America deal, which is expected to be completed within three months, also includes businesses in Sacramento and Anaheim, California. It will provide depot infrastructure to expand the megabus.com network to the Golden State. California is the biggest state in the United States with a population of more than 37 million people.
Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, Sir Brian
Souter, said: "megabus.com has sparked a revival in inter-city coach travel
in the United States, particularly in the current climate with rising fuel
prices and stretched household incomes.
"The roll-out of megabus.com's successful package of low fares and high quality service to Texas will give us access to one of the biggest potential markets in North America. We look forward to extending our geographic footprint further as we deliver on our growth strategy for the brand."
megabus.com, which offers fares from $1, is
one of the largest intercity express bus service providers in North America
and its other hubs are located in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Toronto.
Visit www.megabus.com for additional information about service, schedules, arrival and departure times and fares.
update by Geoff Cunliffe
update by Geoff Cunliffe
Quote from Blackpool Transport
Proving yet again we are listening to our Customers we are introducing a
Concessionary Day pass for the Tram Heritage Tours.
The ticket will be available to any UK Concessionary Pass Holder including the disabled and OAPs, and will cost £5.00 and will give unlimited travel on the heritage trams only. It can be bought in advance from our Travel Centres at Market Street and Rigby Road or can be bought on the heritage trams on the day of use.
Please note that this ticket will NOT be valid for use on the brand new LRT trams or our network of buses.
Geoff writes "
Geoff writes "Once again I have to apologise that my limited mobility has prevented me from getting my own photographs of Blackpool happenings, but I can update you with the information that new Bombardier deliveries have reached 014 leaving only two more to come from Germany.
When 014 was delivered on Friday 11th May, it took 002 back as return cargo to Germany. It is a slightly confused story with one source saying it has never worked since it was delivered, and others saying it has been used extensively on driver training and familiarisation, and that it has seen the occasional foray into service. It is unknown what presumed major fault has necessitated the cost and trouble of shipping it back to the Bombardier base at Bautzen.
Once again, may I recommend your readers to visit the Buses, Train, Traction Engine and Trams blog at http://busestractionengines.blogspot.co.uk/ which is updated almost daily. Another useful blog is Blackpooltrams.com at http://blackpooltram.blogspot.co.uk/, the latest edition of which contains and interesting sequence of photographs showing the difficulties of getting an oversized low-loader into position to unload the new cars, and the difficulties of backing out with 002 on board. No wonder a Police presence is needed when these manoeuvres are taking place. To be sure 002 has gone, a photograph shows it on the M55 heading eastwards to the docks at Hull.
18th May 2012:-
The local Blackpool paper carried a Report that Coun. Paul Galley had presented the case to extend the new tramway from Talbot Square up Talbot Road to the Railway Station and the new, proposed Talbot Gateway to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee. Apparently there was cross-party unity in this “key project to Blackpool’s future”.
It was pointed out that the link would have a huge, positive impact, particularly for people towards the north end of the system, giving direct access to the main railway station whilst allowing those who arrive by train to have direct access to the majority of hotels and the entertainment industry.
The official bid for the extension will be made to Central Government in 2015 and Coun Galley wished to use the intervening time to unite all the political parties in Blackpool, local MPs and the media to get behind the bid so they can present the best possible one.
23rd. May, 2012
At long last I have managed to have a ride along the entire length of the refurbished Blackpool tramway, the day after the system’s first accident when tram 014, the latest to be delivered and on a training run at the time, met a VW Polo near Rossall, causing the front of both vehicles to be reshaped.
That particular crossing is controlled by traffic lights; coincidentally we had an off-duty tram driver with us on the returning journey and he was chatting to passengers about it. He said it could have happened to any of them as motorists regularly jump red lights. In true chauvinist style he explained that with men it is a testosterone thing and they jump red lights deliberately; women, on the other hand, don’t realize that they have done so!
Anyway, back to our ride. To avoid having to park a car near Starr Gate for some time, we journeyed by bus to the start of the tramway where we found unit 009 waiting to perform the 11.20am departure. As we sat there for several minutes, I contemplated that, once again, I think the cars would have been better with proper tram seats which can be reversed at termini so everyone travels looking forward. The back-to-back seats fitted allowed scant room for four sets of feet to share the allotted space. Nonetheless, the seats as fitted were moderately comfortable for a journey of one hour - by modern standards - which are pretty low. We also noted how shabby things were already, with copious cigarette ends all over the loading platform and, as we drove off, saw that the undergrowth near the depot which has been specifically sculptured and landscaped was full of general rubbish, fast food boxes, paper, drinks cans and the like. It hasn’t taken long to spoil the environment near the new depot.
On our first ride, we were packed in like the proverbial sardines, but today we started off lightly loaded as we made our way quietly along Blackpool’s South Promenade. Disappointingly, although there is pretty good visibility forward through the driver’s cab, you cannot really see what he is doing. He sits in a high-backed arm chair which swivels so he can get in easily from an internal door at the right hand side of the cab. The miniature main control lever appears to be mounted on the chair’s left arm as it moves as the chair does. I did note that the driver had a portable two-way radio with him, although I thought they had proper sets built in to the cabs.
We left on time; as I had noticed on my first ride, there is a slight but clearly discernable twisting of the body as you start to move, presumably as the motors start. Acceleration can be brisk and it should be possible to easily unbalance the elderly and disabled!
Being a Wednesday, there were no heritage trams out and the turning loop at the Pleasure Beach was empty. As we made our way northwards, we picked up a number of passengers but our sole conductor had no difficulty in catching everyone. When the units are expected to be fully loaded for the major part of the run, they carry two conductors.
I have already commented that there seems to have been a curious policy with regards to stops; they have been reduced, although there are occasions when one wonders why this stop was retained or that stop removed. Also, several have moved quite some distance - I have mentioned Manchester Square northbound and Talbot Square southbound, but there are other examples, such as Thornton Gate where there is quite a walk back to the original site. Maybe contractors could not work too close to an “active” stop whilst the skeleton service was still being run.
I have now come the conclusion that there are two crossovers at Talbot Square - one which allows service cars to be reversed on to the other track and then allows them to use the southbound passenger platform. The other is further south and would appear to be for reversing the heritage trams; this is too far south to use the passenger platform.
The new layout just past Talbot Square where the trams share the road with other traffic behind The Metropole hotel seems to work well. It has meant that there is only one lane open in each direction for road traffic, but the road layout on the approach to this area has already funneled two into one, and the southbound trams no longer come face to face with northbound cars and bewildered drivers! Credit where it is due, this arrangement is good.
Beyond Uncle Tom’s Cabin on the totally reserved track, we picked up speed nicely, although the 50mph speed limit sign in one spot seemed to be slightly optimistic. Some of the old tramroad buildings appear to be having a well-deserved facelift, specifically those at The Cabin, Bispham and Little Bispham whereas the simple Waiting Room at Rossall School has been demolished (after being locked and unused for many years).
The significant downwards incline between Little Bispham and Anchorsholme lost its STOP sign half way down, which was presumably a brake check, some time ago. There is now a sign at the top of the incline warning drivers of the gradient.
The Orion Curve approaching Cleveleys now has a 20pmh speed limit on it. Cleveleys was very busy and saw many passengers alighting and we gradually emptied more and more as we approached Fleetwood. To the north of Cleveleys, several roads which used to cross the track have been made up, like Stockdove Way, for example. In the system’s heyday, cars used to rattle through these crossings at alarming speeds despite the 4mph warning signs. There were so many trams then that everyone knew about them and respected them; also perhaps safety is taken more seriously these days.
In the northern sections of the system, check rails have been re-fitted to many of the curves. They have always been contentious. Fitted in the 1950s at the insistence of the Railway Inspectorate before they would allow double deckers to proceed to Fleetwood, many people (including the Railway Inspectorate Inspector!) felt they would serve no purpose if a car decided to stray from the tracks! Presumably they have been re-fitted so that double deckers can still reach Fleetwood, although that will, probably, be a rare occurrence.
There is no pleasing some people of course. For many years, the purists have claimed that “it’s not Broadwaters - it’s the Fleetwood Road Crossing”. The stop now carries a nice new sign, like all of the others, proclaiming..…Broadwaters! There used to be a short working between Fleetwood Ferry and Broadwaters, worked by an old Pantograph car and necessitating a crossover at Broadwaters. Needless to say, that is unlikely ever to be resurrected and there is no crossover anyway. The trip was so short, the car had a destination blind which showed “Broadwaters and Fleetwood” to avoid having to turn it countless times during a shift.
We paused for nearly ten minutes at Ash Street, thus finally knackering the timetable which we had struggled to maintain for much of the journey. This pause was because we had to await a tram coming out of the Fleetwood street section of the system since, until the new sub-station in Bold Street is completed, there is insufficient power available for more than one tram to be in that section at once. Eventually, after much grumbling, our conductor picked up the yellow ‘token’ from the departing tram and we were on our way again.
The number of stops along the main street in Fleetwood have been reduced - I wonder what the traders, who were desperate to see the trams return after a two year absence along this stretch - think of that?
Round the corner from North Albert Street into Bold Street and the new Fleetwood Ferry stop and terminus came into view. It is all a bit of a cheat really because it is nearer to the North Euston Hotel than the ferry, and adjacent to the site of that new sub-station. There is a bus stop alongside providing a tram-bus interchange point. Rounding the corner to the actual ferry itself, there is now no tram stop which seems quite unusual. There was nearly always a tram parked there. It could certainly be a hazardous adventure straying into the middle of the road to board a tram there, but it happened for over 120 years. I wanted to check out if there is still a passing loop there so special cars can pause without upsetting the normal through service. There is.
Strangely, two hours later, it was set 009 again which provided us with our return trip to Starr Gate. Although starting quietly, we were even busier than the northbound trip as we ran through the centre of the system. Many people commented that it was quicker to use the new trams than the bus, which should gladden Blackpool Transport’s heart. There is a (virtually) totally parallel bus service to the trams, although our conductor said he thought that would be dropped in the winter as seasonal passenger numbers fell.
One benefit on the return journey was that the passenger information system, with its scrolling display and voice announcements, stopped working. How pleasant that was. Are those voices deliberately chosen to be irritatingly, annoyingly patronizing or is it just me?
The southbound journey again lost time. There is a new, high season timetable due out for July when the system may be even busier. One can only hope that it will be more realistic at peak times as, even with multiple doors, dwell times at stops must be much longer than originally thought, partially due to the number of disabled people who seem to enjoy using them as, indeed, they should.
Passenger comment seemed to be quite positive about the new trams. Let’s hope so as they will need substantial patronage if they are to survive!
I attach a few photographs to go with this item, including East Lancs-bodied Trident 326 and tram 009 at the new Fleetwood Ferry interchange; the diverging tracks to form a passing loop at the site of the old Ferry stop; the new Fleetwood Ferry sign; the new public toilet/sub-station block alongside the tram stop in Bold Street, together with its safety notice; a natty little Tramway warning sign.
Trips & Events
Gavin & myself went on our annual visit to the Isle of Wight and our trip will be covered in detail in the next issue. for this issue we have the pictures taken by Gavin when he visited Swindon recently. It looks an interesting spot for a day out.
Wisley Spring Gathering 2012
I had intended attending this event but the weather frankly put me off. I am delighted that Steve Warwick did attend and sent some nice pictures.
Chelsea Flower Show always provides interesting buses from the London General Special Events fleet. Gavin & I recorded those used this year.
First those by Gavin Francis.
And those seen by Malcolm Crowe.
Altogether a very interesting event bus-wise. The
NVs have all but gone and the PVLs reign supreme.
RM9 was not seen this year and nether was any open toppers.
Andrew Ivett , a
, an occasional reader of your excellent Oxford and Chilterns Bus Page writes "I am currently researching a holiday in southern Germany and found the image in a leaflet about a local railway near Ulm.
It looks like an AEC bus of the type that were operating local services when I first came to Oxford in 1971.
already know of it. It appears to operate a special tour three times a year! "
Can anyone shed anymore light on the bus in question?
Can anyone shed anymore light on the bus in question?
The answer is given below by Neil Gow.
The answer is given below by Neil Gow.
Ex COMS Renown in Germany.
I should imagine that it's 340, as I'd be surprised if there are more than one in Germany. There's a little more about it on my website - see
G avin Francis
Francis writes"Over 30 years ago when I worked at Park Royal I used to spend my lunchtimes at Brent Cross taking pictures so after yesterday a picture of previous times.
Mike Penn writes
writes"Around 5 years ago you published a photo of mine, taken in 1969, of a Yeates bodied Crossley coach owned then by South Bucks Coaches of Slough. Here is another photo of the same coach taken last Sunday (May 13th) at the Potteries rally at the Wedgwood Visitor Centre.
Another entrant of local interest was Duple bodied Leyland Cub ABH 358 which was new to Queens Park Coaches of Aylesbury. It passed to Eastern National in 1951 and to United Counties in 1952, though was not used by them.
Buses in the Landscape
Buses in the Landscape
Markov Zorro sent the following excellent pictures.
Markov Zorro sent the following excellent pictures.
Picture from Dave of local interest.
Mid Devon Coaches (Bow) CSU938. 1977 Leyland Tiger PSU4E/4R/Plaxton Paramount C45F. Livermead House Hotel, Torquay. Bought especially to run over the narrow bridges on Dartmoor by Wallace Arnold in August 1977, it spent 20 years with them, then spent a stretch in Wales, bought by Thomas of Llangadog. In January 2001 it returned to the SW when it was bought by Hookways of Meeth. Recently it has been bought by Hamilton of Bow, although it still carries the unbranded Hookway's livery. Picture by A Gilmour on May 3rd 2012.
Links & Publications
Mike Penn's interesting web site for pictures
You might be interested to know that I have now uploaded 268 photos taken in Beds, Bucks and Herts in the year 2000 to my website - http://166emj.piwigo.com/index?/category/50-beds_bucks_and_herts_photographs_2000
One of the major events of the year was the purchase by Arriva the Shires of the City of Oxford operation in High Wycombe on December 13th. Two days later, as can be seen from the photographs, vehicles had received Arriva The Shires fleet names and legal lettering but retained their Oxford fleet numbers.
The other major event was the enforced sale of the Lutonian operation by Arriva the Shires.
Both Arriva The Shires and Arriva East Herts & Essex continued to repaint vehicles into Arriva livery though there were still many in previous liveries.
Elsewhere in the region M K Metro continued their policy of purchasing various interesting secondhand vehicles. Some of these came from Border Buses – the company in Lancashire that M K Metro had bought.
Buffalo Travel continued to run but Seamarks were taken over by Dunn-Line early in the year.
independents are also represented.
Todays buses - Oxfordshire
This review covers the September 2010 video by Robin Clare Transport. The issue costs £10 and is well worth this small cost for over one hour of buses and coaches in our area.
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over
18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back
The most surprising thing are the changes one can see in only just over 18 months and as such viewers will enjoy a pleasant hour or so bringing back memories.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the
OCBP when doing so.
Click on the link above to order your copy now. Oh and do quote the OCBP when doing so.
Thames Valley - final part now available
Thames Valley - final part now available
RETAIL PRICE £25
ORDER NOW FOR £20+p&p
This final installment of the 4-volume 800-page history of the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. brings the story to its conclusion on the last day of 1971.
All route developments and changes to the fleet are fully detailed, along with special appendices for the service vehicle fleet, garages and out-stations, a route map, garage allocations and working arrangements.
Profusely illustrated with 548 monochrome half-tone illustrations and a full-colour section of 45 photos, this provides a very comprehensive history of this interesting decade, including the numerous secondhand vehicles acquired during those years. Demand will be high, so
order now from: Paul Lacey, 17 Sparrow Close
Woosehill, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG41 3HT
If you are local and wish to
collect please call me on 0118 979 4097
Newbury & District History
Newbury & District History now available
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury &
Paul Lacey has now released his long awaited history of Newbury & District.
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which
although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding
The book covers the whole history of this fascinating company which although based in Newbury was seen in Oxford, Harwell and many surrounding areas.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford &
London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when
both owned by Red & White.
Its coaches were often hired by South Midland who ran between Oxford & London and there was quite a lot of interchange between the fleets, when both owned by Red & White.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within
Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The company ran from 1932 until 1951 but its memory lingers on within Newbury and recent changes there reflect this.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs
plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
The book is exceptionally well researched and contains many photographs plus memories and fleet lists of the company and its constituents.
Apart from the archaic Leylands, the company ran some AEC Regals after the war.
These were rebodied with ECOC/ECW bodies purchased from North Western Road Car, Stockport via dealers.
They had been new in 1936 on Bristol Jo5G chassis which were rebodied with Brush bodies in 1946 to a similar design.
Your Editor must have travelled on one of these buses, when in NWRCC service, as a small boy.
They would have doubtless run on service to Highclere, now well known as the house is featured in Downton Abbey.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special
price of £20.00 for OCBP readers.
The cover price is £25.00 but you can get the publication at a special price of £20.00 for OCBP readers.
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
Just mention OCBP when ordering from:
17 Sparrow Close
Berkshire RG41 3HT.