Stagecoach saves some services after council cuts

first_imgStagecoach in Oxfordshire has announced that it has saved a number of formerly subsidised services following Oxfordshire County Council (OCC)’s decision to withdraw all funding for non-commercial routes.Stagecoach in Oxfordshire has saved some services in the countySome services continue as before, but others are absorbed by alterations to other routes.“Following discussion with OCC and extensive consultation with stakeholders, passengers and local representatives, we are able to offer services on 10 routes,” says MD Martin Sutton.“We regret, however, that we are unable to provide alternatives on other contracted routes where income from fare-paying passengers is too low to meet running costs.”Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of OCC, says:  “We would all prefer not to be making any cuts at all but OCC has been working closely with Stagecoach to progress measures to minimise the impact on local communities.“We welcome the news that Stagecoach has decided to continue running a number of services commercially, without a subsidy.  I’d encourage people to use those routes regularly.  It’s clear that the best way to keep a bus service is to use it – ‘use it or lose it’.”last_img read more

Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein comes to the UK

first_imgMel Brooks’ Broadway musical Young Frankenstein to open at Newcastle Theatre Royal before moving to the West EndMel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein will open at the Garrick Theatre on 10 October, following a run at Newcastle Theatre Royal from 26 August.The musical is based on the Oscar-nominated 1974 film of the same name, which Mel Brooks directed and co-wrote with Gene Wilder. Gene Wilder plays Dr Frankenstein in the film, which pokes fun at classic horror films.Susan Stroman will direct the musical, working with Mel Brooks once again following their collaboration on The Producers in both New York and London.The story sees esteemed brain surgeon and professor Frederick Frankenstein inherit his grandfather’s castle in Transylvania.He must decide whether to continue to run from his family’s tortured past or continue his grandfather’s experiments in Transylvania.The new musical will feature new material and hit songs “The Transylvania Mania,” “He Vas My Boyfriend” and “Puttin’ On The Ritz.Mel Brooks was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship in February – the highest honour the body awards, recognising his long career across the arts.Casting is yet to be announced.last_img read more

15 minutes with Simon Holder

first_imgWith experience in both the haulage industry and driver training prior to running his own business, Simon Holder of Essex-based Simon’s Bus discusses his time in the industrySimon recently took part in a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’-style fundraiserQ: Can you tell us about your background in the industry?A: I was a long-time lorry driver and worked in general haulage, and then I came off the roads and went into supermarket work. I ended up working for Argos and running their distribution point for five years – this was around 17-18 years ago.From there I began retraining London bus drivers in customer care. I trained bus drivers who were already driving and helped to tweak what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and helped them with customer care and dealing with passengers. I’ve always been in the driving industry, and I decided that I might as well set up my own business.Q: How did you come to start Simon’s Bus?A: When it comes to customer care I know what to achieve, so I set up Simon’s Bus in 2004. I got up to five buses, and we did and still do mostly party buses and hen parties. We used 16-seaters, as I decided to go for a bigger fleet of smaller capacity coaches.I like doing the hen parties and the nightclubs, and 10-12 people are quite nice numbers. Obviously the bigger vehicles can make a lot more money, but a lot of people start off with a small bus like mine, and then grow – but there’s always a shortage of minibuses and the size of vehicle I use. I do a lot of schoolwork, sports fixtures and football teams – so 16-seaters are an ideal size for that. All of my drivers are always in uniform. When I take some people out to the nightclubs they’ll say ‘oh, you used to take us on our sports fixtures’ – it’s a trusted brand locally.The upside is knowing that when people come back to you, you’ve given a good serviceQ: What challenges have you faced during your time in the industry?A: When we first started with 16-seaters, we didn’t need tachographs and there were a lot of other things we were exempt from. But now it’s nearly exactly the same as the big coaches, the legislation is the same and we now run tachographs.The work has got harder, and we have downsized. The business is a different animal to what it used to be – there’s certainly not the work, especially with the nightclubs. In the early days we were back-to-back, and you’d have two or three nightclubs per bus on a Saturday night. Now, a lot of weekends go by and there isn’t any nightclubs, or the odd one. The hen parties are still busy – that’s been something I’ve focused on. I’m trying to simplify things, because I don’t think that people have got the freely available cash that they used to. People aren’t so affluent.Q: What do you enjoy most about running Simon’s Bus?A: I like the party stuff, but I love all of it. I love dealing with the public, and Ascot is quite fun. I’ve been on BBC Three’s Don’t Tell The Bride, that’s one of my claims to fame. A lot of people love that programme, and it’s been repeated so many times – this was about six years ago and they’re still playing it now, so that’s been a really good advertisement for me.There are times where the industry does get a bit wearing, but generally speaking I love it and it’s good fun. The upside is knowing that when people come back to you, you’ve given a good service.last_img read more

Centrebus break in

first_imgVandals broke into the Centrebus depot on the Troon Way Industrial Estate, in Leicester on Sunday (11 June). The group put 13 buses out of action, and damaged 60 windows on the vehicles. When the service resumed on Monday, some passengers were left waiting as the company was unable to run all routes.60 windows were smashedlast_img

CMF grant pays for two Stratas in Melksham

first_imgMelksham CT’s Mellor Stratas paid for by the Community Minibus FundTwo Mellor Stratas have joined the Melksham Community Transport (MCT) fleet thanks to a grant from the government’s £25m Community Minibus Fund.Says MCT Bus Manager George Brown: “They will allow more people to get out of the house. Being brand new, the vehicles are also more comfortable and more fuel efficient.”last_img

All coming together for the industry

first_imgHow do you make the best of your career as a young manager? Simple: Find out from those with experience. That’s what happened in Oxford.“Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Do the jobs no-one else wants to do.” These were two nuggets of advice to the industry’s managers from Arriva UK Bus MD Kevin O’Connor at this autumn’s Young Bus Managers Network (YBMN) conference.In a no-holds barred after-dinner speech to the 92 delegates he set out his career, which included his time initially as a manager, then later director, at the Securicor cash-handling business (now rebranded G4S).Mr O’Connor is the latest in a long line of inspirational senior industry leaders who’ve addressed the biannual YBMN conferences.Protocol means much of what he said cannot be reported, but he explained how the experience of working in a “challenging environment” gave him the ability to progress in management.He also warned: “Don’t be complacent when you’re in an industry for a long time.” He pointed to the rapidly reducing use of cash, which has led to a race to the bottom for cash-handling and parcel businesses.OpportunitiesSpeaking about his passion for the best service and innovation, Stagecoach Regional Director England and Wales Mike Watson, 44, outlined his career progression.On the debate about the industry’s structure he is clear: “We need to demonstrate that we can develop the market better under the commercial model, than under a franchising regime.” He argues that turning buses “back into a vanilla product” is not going to generate growth.“Our role is to do the ‘right thing’. To be responsible and work in partnership and provide exceptional service delivery.”Delegates visited Go-Ahead’s Oxford depot and learned about the city’s political and transport dynamicsHe believes that Clean Air Zones are an opportunity for the bus industry, not just for cleaning up emissions, but also tackling the root cause of congestion.“In the future the industry will succeed if it behaves like entrepreneur – that’s what de-regulation was about.”He closed by setting out some personal goals for managers. He added: “Cherish your time at the sharp end; meet as many people as you can and experience as many different environments as you can.”While in OxfordThe conference was staged in Oxford, and Go-Ahead-owned Oxford Bus Company MD Phil Southall kindly hosted a visit to the modern depot, opened in 2006. Not only did delegates get the opportunity to visit the site, but they also gained a valuable insight to possibly the toughest political operating environment in the country.With Stagecoach as a competitor in the city, it’s also proved a fertile ground for new ideas – from the country’s first park-and-ride scheme in 1974. Today, up to 65% of people in the city centre have arrived by bus.Go-Ahead has pioneered many developments, from the first provincial smartcard scheme in 2007, to free wi-fi. “We were the first to roll-out free wi-fi on coaches, in 2007, and the first to have free wi-fi on all our bus fleet.” Today it costs £180,000 a year to provide free wi-fi, but is considered worthwhile.He added: “I would encourage you to fight for the bus – no-one else is going to.”A different courseWith a non-graduate background, Reading Buses CEO Martijn Gilbert, 34, had a different career path that saw him running Arriva-owned Yorkshire Tiger, until he was headhunted for the Reading post three years ago.“It’s not about the size of the business you’re in, but its strength and depth,” he says.Put yourself in uncomfortable situations. Do the jobs no-one else wants to doLike other speakers he emphasised the need to have an understanding and knowledge of all areas. He started his career as a scheduler at London Transport, a role he disliked, but concurred with Mr O’Connor that you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.He sent out a clear set of lessons for young managers. “You need to take the initiative, understand everything, really care with a passion, and get out there.”Success comes down to four things, he concluded: “Your people; running the business commercially; attention to detail; and being out and about – both operationally and with stakeholders.”The futureThe day ended with a discussion about how to make the industry more gender equal. Graduate trainee Jade Watson, from First, outlined her plans to form ‘Women in Bus’, building on the successful ‘Women in Rail’ organisation that promotes the sector as an attractive career path.routeone CommentYoung managers have never had it so good. Thanks to the Chris Moyes Scholarship Trust and support of bus operators, the conferences provide networking opportunities unseen in other industries, and all at a very modest cost. To be able to get first-hand advice from the industry’s leading figures on your career, while seeing best practice in operation, is incredibly rewarding.The day concluded with Passenger Transport Intelligence Services MD Chris Cheek explaining the latest Department for Transport travel statistics, and the factors behind them, meaning that young managers went away much better informed.So much ground was covered in a relatively short, and cost-effective use of time, that it gave the delegates a useful and worthwhile insight. Meanwhile, a number of returning delegates are rapidly advancing through their careers, having taken the advice on board.What is the YBMN?Open to all, the Young Bus Managers Network was founded in 2008 and helps the industry encourage the next generation of leaders. Supported by the Chris Moyes Scholarship Trust, its patrons are Roger French, former MD of Brighton and Hove, and James Freeman, MD of First Bristol and West of England.It holds two conferences every year. Details at read more

New Guildford service from Safeguard

first_imgSafeguard Coaches of Guildford introduced a new bus service on 7 January, designated 3s, to run between the top of Bellfields and Guildford Bus Station via Guildford College.  The service will run approximately every 20 minutes, Monday-Saturday inclusive.Andrew Halliday, Safeguard MD, says: “It will provide a more frequent and reliable service, offer great value fares, and contactless payment.”last_img

New services to Aberdeen Airport launch

first_imgStagecoach launched its 747 and 757 services yesterday (22 January), improving journey times for those travelling by bus to Aberdeen Airport.Stagecoach service 747, Aberdeen International AirportService 747 offers a new link across Aberdeenshire and Angus. It will replace services 107 and the current 747 and operates hourly throughout most of the day between Montrose and Ellon.Service 757 provides a direct link to the airport from Portlethen and Newtonhill, operating hourly throughout most of the day, seven days a week.David Liston, Managing Director of Stagecoach North Scotland, says: “We are delighted to be able to start the new year by introducing two new services to our Aberdeenshire network.“In our autumn timetable consultation we received a lot of support for the new service 747 providing a direct bus connection to the airport.“On reviewing consultation feedback from residents in Newtonhill and Portlethen we have been able to identify a solution that means these communities will also be connected to the airport.”last_img read more

Mayors for Pete: Buttigieg hunts for support in city halls

first_img Google+ Facebook WhatsApp Facebook IndianaLocalNews Google+ Previous articleIndiana woman found dead with 8-foot python around her neckNext articleNotre Dame to delay covering Christopher Columbus murals Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Twitter Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, from South Bend, Indiana, listens during a lunch meeting with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem neighborhood of New York, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, Pool) WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Pete Buttigieg is turning to his fellow mayors as he works to prove the mayor of a city of roughly 100,000 people is ready to assume the American presidency.The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has a list of roughly 60 “Mayors for Pete” who are pushing for his underdog bid. They include mayors from former industrial cities undergoing revitalization and metros experiencing demographic shifts.Several mayors lead tiny towns of fewer than 1,000 people.The mayors bring a network of support and donors to his presidential campaign. The campaign also believes they add credibility to the 37-year-old Buttigieg’s promise to usher in the next generation of Democratic politics and a more pragmatic, no-excuses style to governing. By Associated Press – November 1, 2019 2 442 Twitter Mayors for Pete: Buttigieg hunts for support in city halls Pinterest WhatsApp Pinterestlast_img read more

Flexibility is priority on IGC agenda

first_imgThe bilateral meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers is their first since the UK tried to bring Union decision-makingto a halt by pursuing its controversial policy ofnon-cooperation.That tense episode convinced many EU governments that more flexibility should be introduced into the Union to allow members determined to integrate further and faster in certain areas to do so.They argue that what is necessary in a Union of 15will be even more so once the alliance expands eastwardsand southwards. It will tell its partners next week that because of its exemption from joint action programmes under the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, it will not be able to participate in EU moves to clear anti-personnel mines in Bosnia – even though the project has widespread public support in Denmark. “Flexibility could be one of the most important things to emerge from the Intergovernmental Conference on the Maastricht Treaty,” confirmed one of the negotiators heavily involved in the IGC processthis week.The Franco-German talks in Paris on 2 October will take place just two days after the IGC group considers the flexibility concept in detail for the first time.Paradoxically, the idea appeals both to the hard core of countries which would like to dig even deeper foundations for the Union and to those such as the UK which are decidedly more hesitant.But diplomats also point to potential dangers. “It seemsthat structured and organised flexibility is something whose time has come. But we need to be very careful and have clear rules because if we get it wrong, what we have achieved could unravel,” warned one senior official.Both Paris and Bonn have ruled out any public initiative emerging from Wednesday’s meeting between Hervé de Charette and Klaus Kinkel, confirming that their bilateral strategy for the Union will only appear later in the year. The event will, however, give both governments a final opportunity to compare notes on EU reform before the special European summit in Dublin on 5 October.While the flexibility concept is gaining support, Denmark is still coming to terms with the unexpected consequences of the various EU policy opt-outs it negotiated four years ago.last_img read more