During a presentation to announce its results for the first half of 2014, French group RATP has confirmed plans to continue to expand outside its historic territory in the Paris region. It is focusing on the rest of France and international markets with the aim of generating 30% of Group revenue by 2020. Expansion will continue in the second half of 2014 with the launch of the first tramway line in Washington DC, the continued extension of the Manchester tramway and the implementation of the contract to operate and maintain the bus network in Riyadh.President and Chief ExecutivePierre Mongin said:”The Group has continued to grow, for example in the USA with the launch of the Tucson tramway and a new sightseeing bus service in New York City, and in India with the commissioning of Mumbai’s first metro line. Thanks to the confidence shown by its public shareholder, RATP intends to continue its drive to achieve all of the objectives in its ‘Vision 2020’ plan and in particular: to continue to work to improve day-to-day service for Paris region passengers; serve as a major contributor to the Grand Paris project; continue to expand internationally. We aim to achieve these goals given the committed involvement and very high professionalism of our staff members and to constructive labour dialogue.â€In March 2014 RATP DEV acquiredthe London Sovereign bus business from Transdev; representing approximately 2% of the London bus market, London Sovereign operates 13 routes in the north west of the city from its two depots in Edgware and Harrow. The purchaseaddedto RATP DEV’sexisting UK holdings which include Epsom Coaches, Selwyns Travel, The Bath Bus Company,Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses and theformer Stagecoach Metrolinkoperation in Manchester.Key points, year to end of June 2014:Group revenue amounted to â‚¬2,674 million at 30 June 2014, up by 3.3% compared to 30 June 2013.Group net results increased by 4.8% to â‚¬198 million.Cash flow at record high of â‚¬527 million, up by 8%.Subsidiaries’ contribution to Group revenue rose by 12% to amount to â‚¬454 million, i.e. 17% of the Group’s overall business.
The cost to Arriva of Liverpool City Council’s decision to permanently axe all but four bus lanes has been shown in figures revealed by Merseyside’s largest operator.Speaking at a Transport Focus seminar on bus punctuality monitoring in Liverpool last Monday (29 June), Arriva Merseyside Area MD Howard Farrall says that lost mileage â€œincreased massivelyâ€ when the bus lanes were temporarily withdrawn by Mayor Joe Anderson in October 2013.The change was made permanent a year later, although four bus lanes in the city centre were reinstated in November 2014 following what Mr Anderson described as a â€œthorough analysis of their effect on traffic.â€Mr Farrall uses Arriva Merseyside’s high-frequency service 79, from Liverpool to Halewood, to illustrate the effect of the bus lanes’ removal. â€œPrior to this we had worked through reliability issues by speaking to drivers and users. We put an extra vehicle into the service, which made it very reliable â€“ until the bus lanes were taken away.â€He points out that, where bus lanes have been withdrawn, the space is often used by residents to park their cars, rather than to speed the flow of all traffic, as the Mayor intended.â€œWe also find the lack of predictability very difficult to deal with,â€ says Mr Farrall. â€œSince October 2013 we have had to add nine additional buses to our city network. In real terms, that’s around a 1m investment.â€Figures from the operator show that average journey times for the area’s buses, regardless of whether they used bus lanes or not, increased by on average 1% following the lanes’ removal. For non-bus journeys, average journey times increased by an average of 1.5%.However, on Arriva’s route 79, average journey times increased by up to 13.4% during the peaks and by up to 5.6% between them. Arriva will add a further two buses to the service’s PVR next month.â€œIt is up to us to operate a reliable service and we just have to get on and do it,â€ says Mr Farrall.
Edwards Coaches among the winners at the British Coach Tourism AwardsEdwards Coaches took home the top trophy at the British Coach Tourism Awards, the most entertaining and glamorous night in the coach industry calendar. The winners at the annual celebration included eight coach tour operatorsThe Welsh operator won the award for Best Coach Tour Operator – Large Fleet at the Awards on 22 March, which took place at the National Motorcycle Museum adjacent to the NEC, Birmingham.Best Coach Tour Operator – Small Fleet went to Tally Ho! Holidays of Devon, while the Medium Fleet category was won by Highland Explorer Tours in Scotland.Also recognised at the annual celebration was Joan Johnson, recently retired of Johnsons Coaches of Henley-in-Arden, who won the British Coach Tourism Recognition Award.Crusader Holidays also won big, taking home both the Coach Tour Operator Brochure award, and the Coach Tour Driver award for its driving team.Glenton Holidays took home the Holiday Programme award, and Eastons Coaches won for its Day Excursion Programme – while Galloway Coach Travel won the Coach Tourism Innovation of the Year with its School of Rock branding.The event, compered by TV personality Gethin Jones, brought together over 350 industry professionals to recognise and celebrate excellence and innovation across the thriving coach tourism sector. It also raised £1,600 for charity WellChild.Full details of all the finalists and winners are at www.britishcoachawards.co.uk
Coventry-based utilities consultancy Utility Team has helped to reduce Blackpool Transport bus and tram energy consumption by 65%.It has now been invited by to attend the annual conference of the Association of Local Bus Company Managers (ALBUM) which it is hosting at the Hilton Hotel, Blackpool, on Tuesday, May 9 and Wednesday, May 10.ALBUM has around 160 members representing bus operators in the UK and provides a forum to exchange best practice and influence policy for the promotion of high-quality services that encourage more people to travel by bus.Utility Team, which has its headquarters in Coventry and an office in Birmingham, has been managing energy contracts on behalf of Blackpool Transport for three years. Blackpool Transport operates a network of buses and trams across the Fylde Coast which includes the oldest electric street tramway in the world with records dating back to 1884.James Rant, business development manager at Utility Team, said: “We buy, manage and help reduce energy for Blackpool Transport which involves us providing an array of compliance, procurement and sustainability services.“Over the last year, we have helped to reduce operable consumption by 65%. This was achieved by us conducting a sustainability survey which highlighted an issue with lighting.“As well as demonstrating the significant reductions that we can help to achieve, it also shows the additional benefits we can deliver beyond simply buying supplies on behalf of a client.“We are keen to work with other bus operators and are delighted to have the opportunity at this year’s ALBUM conference to talk to industry representatives about their own energy requirements and how we can help them tackle the ever-growing costs.”James Carney, Financial Director at Blackpool Transport, said: “We are delighted with the energy efficiency that Utility Team has helped us to achieve.“As hosts of this year’s ALBUM conference, we have invited Utility Team to exhibit so that others within our industry can learn of the real benefits that can be had from working with an energy consultancy.”
The French government’s decision to charge a €40 fee for every worker operating in France on a temporary basis – including coach drivers and couriers – when employed by a foreign company is a restrictive practice that will severely curtail the ability of UK operators, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA)French authorities intend to charge €40 per worker for companies providing services on the French soil which are established outside France, a move set to come into force from 1 January 2018 at the latest. It will apply to all workers, irrespective of their sector, who are temporarily working in France.The fee will be used to maintain a database to handle all documents required by French authorities. It is not known how often the fee will be charged per worker.“The fee of €40 per person is excessive and, simply put, is a protectionist measure designed to close the French transport market to any operator established outside of France,” says FTA Head of European Policy Pauline Bastidon.“It is nothing more than a protectionist tax benefitting the domestic French market, and we wholeheartedly oppose.”The FTA is calling on the European Commission (EC) to “react strongly” and speed up its ongoing legal case against France, to ensure that trade can continue to flow across borders in a seamless manner and to protect the integrity of the single market.Mr Macron’s new French government, due to be appointed yesterday (16 May), will have the power to reverse this decision, which was made by its predecessors.The new policy is the latest in a wave of protectionist legislation sweeping across France, Austria and Germany.
The TC found that the owner of the vehicle had lied about his knowledge of the vehicle being used as a minibus, and subsequently failed to attend the PITraffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton refused to return an impounded minibus after the claimant failed to appear at a Birmingham Public Inquiry.‘There was no tachograph fitted and the driver was not keeping a record of the journey’Ian Polisciou, of Halesowen, had sought the return of a 17-seater minibus on the grounds that he was the owner and did not know it was being operated unlawfully without a PSV O-Licence, as he had allowed a friend to borrow it to take friends and family members to work. He himself used the vehicle for house clearance purposes.Traffic Examiner (TE) Kate Cox said that the minibus was checked on 19 May at Amazon Rugeley when operated by Anatolie Postolachi, trading as Victorya Travel, of Burnt Hill Lane, Rugeley. The vehicle was transporting 16 passengers and was not displaying an O-Licence disc, and a search of the database could find no trace of an O-Licence. The driver, Valentin Agapi, confirmed that the passengers had paid Victorya Travel and that he was paid by the firm to drive. The TC said that he considered that Mr Polisciou knew perfectly well what the vehicle was being used forThere was no tachograph fitted and the driver was not keeping a record of the journey. There was no seating capacity marked, no first aid kit, no fire extinguisher and the driver was not carrying evidence of a Driver CPC. The vehicle was not insured for the driver and the police dealt with that matter.She arranged to interview Mr Postolachi but received a text stating that he had sold the vehicle and had left the country forever. DVSA received information that the vehicle was still being operated and had been seen dropping workers off at Amazon. On 20 July she observed the minibus pull up outside the entrance of Amazon and offload 10 passengers who paid cash to the driver. There was no tachograph fitted, the driver was not keeping a record of his duties and the journey, and there was no legal lettering, no first aid kit and no fire extinguisher. The rear emergency doors were blocked by seating. The driver, Ion Hariton, said that he was working for Victorya Travel. He was issued with fixed penalty notices for failing to keep a record and for not having a driver CPC.She telephoned the number she had received in the text and spoke to Mr Postolachi. He confirmed that he was the operator of the vehicle and she said that the vehicle was being impounded. She asked whether he was in the country and he said no.In reply to the TC, TE Cox said that the vehicle was a standard minibus though the windows were slightly unusual. It was not in the best condition. The seats were fixed and it appeared to be regularly used as a minibus.The TC said that he considered that Mr Polisciou knew perfectly well what the vehicle was being used for. He had not attended the hearing despite requesting it. He was not present to produce evidence of ownership or to say how it was used for rubbish clearance when it had 16 seats. He was satisfied that the seating was permanent.
CheckPro is designed for use as an aid to drivers when carrying out checksDigital 2000, which is behind the TachPro range of tachograph and compliance consumables, has developed a digital defect reporting system called CheckPro that will be launched at the CV Show in April.Says MD Matthew Cotton: “After taking on feedback from customers and looking at existing systems, we have ensured that CheckPro will tick all the right boxes in an area that is very important to operators.”The user-friendly, tamper-proof app is suitable for iOS and Android and it is customisable with a full audit trail.www.checkpro.com
Soar Valley Community Bus’s new EVM Cityline mini seats 16 passengersSoar Valley Community Bus of Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire has added a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with low-floor Cityline conversion to its fleet, supplied by EVM Direct (0845 520 5160).It has 16 Kiel Ligero seats and it is fully accessible to wheelchair users, with a dedicated space on the offside in the low-floor area.They board via a 120cm Masats double-leaf sliding door, and tracking is fitted in both the floor and the sidewall to aid securement.An in-dash air-conditioning unit is fitted along with a saloon heater booster, along with panoramic side double-glazing.
Xplore Dundee is launching a new coach service between Dundee city centre and Edinburgh airport.The Edinburgh Airport Xpress will be run under the Xplore More banner, with non-stop journeys starting at £18 for an adult return. Advance booking discounts will apply.It will run every 90 minutes, seven days a week, using luxury coaches with comfy seats and ample luggage space.Managing Director Christine McGlasson said: “We’re really excited to bring this brand new service to Dundee. There’s no other link to Edinburgh airport which will take you from the heart of the city straight to the terminal, with no stops or connections along the way. “Buses will start running in the early hours of the morning until well after midnight to make sure holidaymakers get to the sun and business travellers can catch early morning flights.“We hope visitors to Scotland will also find it a really useful and great value way to get to Dundee and discover what makes our city the new must-see destination. I’m certain this will enhance Dundee’s profile as one of Scotland’s key tourist hotspots, as well as offering something special to local people who travel for business or pleasure.”
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT(UK)) has announced that Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, will be the Institute’s President for 2021.He will succeed Paul Sainthouse, Managing Director of Dawsongroup Bus and Coach. During his one-year Presidency Mr Gooding will build on Mr Sainthouse’s work, which has included steering the Institute through the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.Mr Gooding is already involved heavily with CILT, having served as a Vice President for several years. “I have come to know the Institute well and I am honoured to be made President,” he says.“2021 looks set to be a year when the skills of CILT members will be tested to the full as we start to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis and we exit the EU. I am keen to see CILT continue to support its members by promoting best practice, providing training and awarding qualifications to deliver on the Institute’s core mission of professionalism in motion.”Mr Gooding has been RAC Foundation Director since 2015. The Foundation explores economic mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to motoring and road use.He was previously Director General at the Department for Transport, where his responsibilities were for a wide range of issues relating to travel, roads, motoring and logistics. That included management of the executive agencies that run driver and vehicle licencing and testing.Adds CILT (UK) Chief Executive Kevin Richardson: “I am delighted to welcome Steve Gooding as the President of CILT (UK). His experience and expertise will help to lead CILT into a new era as we work to develop our professions in response to the pandemic and promote their importance.”www.ciltuk.org.uk