Weston-super-Mare-based Bakers Dolphin has launched a campaign promoting safety on school transport.Bakers Dolphin is encouraging local schools to think safety when booking transportationBakers Dolphin has created a video that is being circulated to all schools in the area setting out the points governors should look out for when booking transport and the obligations that they have.Max Fletcher, MD of Bakers Dolphin, says: “There is an obligation on the schools, and governors in particular, to ensure they choose a safe operator.“Things like seat belts and CCTV cameras are vital for a school trip.“This campaign is the latest move we have made to help those who work as school governors to understand the issues.”The video can be viewed at vimeo.com/187802109
Go North East has promoted Stephen King to head up its Commercial and Retail division.Stephen King: Go North East’s new Head of Commercial and RetailThe move follows Stephen success as the company’s first ever Head of Marketing – a position he took up in 2015.Says Managing Director of Go North East, Kevin Carr: “Stephen has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the company and is the best person to add vigour and innovation to our commercial strategy.”Stephen’s appointment is integral to plans to boost the commercial advantage of Go North East’s substantial ongoing investment programme, which has totalled over £50m in capital spend in the last five years, including a £10.5m investment in upgrading services in 2016.He will oversee the firm’s commercial strategy and function which comprises network design, business development, retail and marketing communications along with stakeholder engagement.Stephen, who has worked at Go North East since he was 16 and occupies a seat on its Senior Management Team, has pioneered a number of high profile retail and marketing initiatives and industry firsts in his career at the company to date.
The winners of the design a litter themed bus competition were Elise Kay and Evie Morris, both seven from Beacon Academy Primary.Rocky with pupils from Beacon Academy PrimaryThe newly designed Stagecoach East Midlands double-decker made its first outing in March, by visiting the schools that took part in the competition.With its colourful aquatic design on one side and its striking union jack littered themed on the other, the bus has created quite a visual spectacle.The bus is now in service and will tour the East Midlands from Skegness.
TruTac’s TruControl product is a comprehensive fleet management toolWalsall Council says it made the correct decision when it switched to TruTac’s TruControl fleet management software.“When we went out to tender, TruControl seemed to be easier to navigate than others that we’d used, so we gave it a trial run and were happy with it,” says Transport Operations Manager Phillip Dutton.“It’s easy to use, not too complicated and it reduces admin – the biggest selling points for us. The only training we needed was a quick familiarisation session from TruTac when we first started.”www.trutac.co.uk
New app offers ticketing and real time passenger informationScottish bus operator McGill’s has launched a new app aimed at being a ‘one stop shop’ for passengers.Free to download from Monday (8 Oct), the new app has taken favourite features from its two previous apps and merged them into one enhanced product covering services offered by McGill’s, which has 450 buses and operates 110 routes with depots in Greenook, Barrhead, Inchinnan, Johnstone and Coatbridge.It will continue to enable passengers to buy GoZone tickets via the app.Passengers can also select a specific bus stop on the app and view a real time countdown of a service’s arrival. Timetables can be viewed in a new, easier-to-read format, services updates will be available and departure boards, timetables and favourite journeys can be saved for quick access.“It’s a must have for all McGill’s customers, and for those considering switching to McGill’s great value services across our network,” said Managing Director Ralph Roberts.
RATP Dev in London has placed 36 BYD ADL Enviro200EV models into service at its Shepherd’s Bush garage.It is the sixth depot in the capital to operate BYD’s electric buses as the Chinese manufacturer continues to dominate demand in London for zero-emission road-based public transport.As with all but one of the others, the buses – 36 10.8m Enviro200EVs – have been produced in partnership with Alexander Dennis.They are used on services 70 and C1, the latter of which takes them into central London. Diesel buses have been replaced on a one-for-one basis as the Enviro200EV’s range is well in excess of the most demanding duty on either route.Installation of charging infrastructure ‘highly challenging’BYD and its energy supply partners SSE Enterprise and UK Power Networks found the task of installing the necessary charging infrastructure at Shepherd’s Bush highly challenging.The depot is located amid residential and commercial property, with an elevated railway line adjacent.All of the work for the charginging infrastructure for the RATP Dev London Enviro200EV buses – which included the installation of transformers and over 10 tonnes of cable – was successfully undertaken with no interruption to day-to-day business. The work also came in on time and on budget – an achievement under such testing conditions.The extensive cabling naturally carries electricity, but it also conveys data. The buses and the 37 plug-in points – one more of the latter was specified to permit flexibility of parking – benefit from BYD’s Smart Charging Management System (SCMS).That means that buses are charged with little supervision, bar affixing the two heavy-duty connectors. Battery replenishment is monitored by engineering staff via an office-bound computer display that uses colour-coded icons to illustrate the state of each charger, and the bus connected to it when applicable.Additionally, the SCMS usually draws electricity only between 2300-0600hrs. That’s for two reasons; one, the supply locally is not sufficient to charge more than a handful of buses at other times. The other is that energy is at its cheapest during those hours.RATP Dev finds electricity charges to be cost-effectiveRATP Dev pays 15p per kW/h during the period that electricity cost are at their lowest. Consumption data, which is generated by the chargers, shows that around 200kW/h is, so far, the most used on any duty. That gives a daily energy charge of no more than around £30, much less than for a diesel-powered bus. The maximum daily mileage is around 130.Both BYD and RATP Dev expect energy consumption to increase when ambient temperatures drop, as the buses have electric heating. Even then, all duties can be covered on one charge.That was proven early in the process of adopting electric buses. The operator passed scheduling data to BYD and the manufacturer was able to validate the Enviro200EV’s compatibility.With the typical amount of residual energy in the batteries upon return to depot, charging time is in the region of three hours.Each Enviro200EV with RATP Dev London carries 31 seated passengers and a theoretical maximum of 50 standees. They are plated at 18,000kg GVW, and not the higher weight used on the 12m Enviro200EVs with Go-Ahead London at Waterloo depot.The only reason for that is because there is no need for additional tolerance; there is no room on board the buses to accommodate the additional passengers that would justify an increase in GVW.Shepherd’s Bush to be RATP Dev’s first all-electric UK depotTransport giant RATP says that it intends to turn Shepherd’s Bush into its first all-electric bus depot in the UK. RATP Dev is currently involved in tendering for other routes that will require electric buses, but nothing is yet confirmed. There is latent capacity in the infrastructure that has already been installed at Shepherd’s Bush to allow further charging points to be added when required.Additionally, it is in the process of training all of its 21 engineers at Shepherd’s Bush on the electric buses, which will smooth any addition of further battery-powered vehicles.BYD also reports that it expects the strong take-up in the capital of it and ADL’s jointly-produced electric buses to continue. The first double-decker Enviro400EVs will enter service in 2019, and its single-deck range now comes at three lengths: 12m, 10.8m and 10.2m. It does not rule out adding a fourth, smaller, option should the market dictate.Additionally, the trial period of the five wholly BYD-built double-deckers with Metroline has been extended beyond its initial three years. They have proven successful, says the manufacturer, although the driveline technology used in the Enviro400EV will be considerably more advanced.Over 215 BYD ADL electric buses are in service or on order in the UK. Those at work already have covered in excess of 1.5m miles.
Coach and bus companies are investing millions in new electric vehicles. But should you be investing in training drivers to drive them?So you’ve got your shiny new electric bus, or a whole fleet of them, and you’re comfortable with how they work, but what happens when your driver exhibits ‘range anxiety’?This is a new and very real phenomenon where drivers start to worry that the bus might run out of charge while they are on the route.They may radio the office in a panic, worrying about what to do, and this in turn can be transmitted to passengers who will start to feel anxious too.CT4N is one of the largest UK operators of battery-powered electric buses with a fleet of 13 BYD buses and 45 Optare solo and Versas. Nottingham City Council owns the vehicles and contracts CT4N to operate and maintain the fleet.Specialist trainingTony Oldham, Operations Director for CT4N, says: “Our drivers had an initial induction course on how to drive the buses, but it wasn’t until they were a few weeks into the job that we started seeing the issues with range anxiety.“It’s very different driving an electric bus to the old diesel one. It’s not that they can’t drive the buses, it’s just a knack of getting the regeneration right.”Tony decided further training was needed and spoke to the provider of CT4N’s driver CPC courses Perry Preston of Leicester-based Midlands Transport Training (MTT).In response to the needs of the market Mr Preston has written and launched the first electric bus training course in the UK.The bespoke DCPC module aims to overcome range anxiety, teaches drivers about fast and slow charging of batteries, looks at charging safety rules, the environmental issues and benefits, hazard perception and carrying out daily checks.It highlights the future that electric buses have in our cities and teaches the benefits of how to regenerate batteries successfully to perpetuate longer battery life.Regeneration problemMr Oldham says: “This course not only fully addresses our current training needs on the ground and our drivers’ DCPC requirements, but it is a motivating and game-changing educational resource for drivers everywhere.“The dos and don’ts of what you can and can’t do when it comes to charging is complex. It’s brilliant that our drivers are engaged and really learning from this.”Mr Preston says: “We go along to companies and create ‘how to’ videos as part of the training package. These short videos are specific to the needs of the company and are shown alongside the DCPC training course for no extra charge to the operator.”“There is a regeneration problem,” he says. “You can’t just plug in a plug half way round and off you go again. These buses run out of energy and come to a halt for various reasons, one of them being that drivers need educating on how they differ from a diesel bus, and how the regeneration process works.”Stopping properly“We explain that when you are driving the bus, as you take your foot off the accelerator, the bus will naturally slow down and you only need to use the brake in the last metre unless you’re coming up to an emergency stop.“So if you slow down naturally without using the brakes the vehicle will recharge.”Mr Preston explained that during the slowing down process the motor starts to rewind, which then puts energy back in the batteries. “It’s quite revolutionary,” he says.“Drivers have been known to break down on this round trip. They’re not noticing how much energy they have got left and they are running out of charge and panicking. You can’t just run out with a can of diesel to rescue them.Welcoming the move, Chris Wouldhave, HR Manager at CT4N says: “We have used Midland Transport Training previously for all our bespoke Driver CPC training courses and have been delighted with the feedback from the drivers. We are fully confident and very excited that this course will also deliver the same results for drivers and operators across the whole of the UK.”Written downSo is this a problem for other operators?This summer, Metroline launched London’s first fully electric, zero-emission double deck services. It runs both the BYD ADL Enviro400EV and the Optare Metrodecker EV.David Lyston, Corporate Communications Officer says: “At Metroline, we’ve worked to avoid the issue of range anxiety through the way we operate the electric buses.“At the garage where some of our new electric buses launched earlier in the summer, the buses have the minimum percentage of charge needed for that particular duty written on their duty cards, which is determined by the length of the duty and the charge.”“This means that the driver would not even take the vehicle out if there is insufficient charge, preventing any range anxiety from developing whilst on duty.” CommentIt’s early days for the electric coach and bus operators and this is something that may become an issue as time goes on. Think about how aware we are of our mobile phone battery. If it’s getting low we can start to become anxious about running out of charge and not being contactable.Ultimately we can deal with the phone problem by charging it up, either with a plugged-in lead or a charge block.For these drivers it’s not that easy and operators need to be mindful of the stress a nervous driver may be under. After all, a conscientious driver will feel responsible for getting people to places on time, as well as their accountability to their company.
Traffic Commissioners are continuing to see pressure on funding, and that could come to impact the ability of them to regulate effectively, they sayThe impact of funding pressure on their work is once again at the forefront of the Traffic Commissioners’ (TCs) annual report for 2018-19. Its extent means that their ability to regulate is “at risk” if resources are not maintained, says Senior TC Richard Turfitt.Lack of financial backing from the government has already impacted the TCs’ ability to meet their previously outlined strategic objectives, as the report demonstrates.As an example, targets for O-Licence application processing times have not been satisfied, although that once again is thanks to some applicants not supplying all the required information at the first time of asking despite repeated exhortations that they do so.A more positive sign is the indication delivered in a draft report showing that, when TCs intervene via Public Inquiry (PI), operators involved improve their compliance to align it with that of most of their peers.“It is useful to have confirmation that our primary intervention is effective and that it does influence behaviour towards sustained compliance,” says Mr Turfitt (pictured).However, the Senior TC accepts that to further propagate effective compliance, he and his colleagues need to better understand industry sectors and operator types. Doing that forms one of several refreshed strategy targets to 2021. They will commission an analysis to help them achieve that.DVSA involvementHints are dropped in the report that the relationship between TCs and DVSA is not all that it may be. The enforcement agency is heavily involved in one of the TCs’ primary current aims: To improve the standard of service delivered.Much is made of what the TCs “require” of DVSA in that regard. But TCs’ offices also need to deliver improvements of their own, the report continues.It sets out a target for decisions on new and major variation applications that do not need to go to PI of 35 working days. The same aspiration was outlined in 2017; this year’s report acknowledges that was overly ambitious.While it is unclear whether additional resource will be introduced to help deliver the restated target, additional performance measurements along with greater transparency will be. Auditing to demonstrate that the support offered to TCs to meet their expectations will also begin soon.A notable development is the suggestion that ‘virtual hearings’ using secure video technology could be introduced. Consideration will be made, with a report on their feasibility due by April 2020.The good newsTCs wish to improve their communication with all operators, not just those that are members of trade bodies or attend seminars and other events. While TCs accept that more work is needed in that field, exercises already undertaken have delivered benefits.One of those relates to brake testing, which had become “an issue of real concern.”Although brake issues dominate reasons for MoT failure, great improvements have been made. But issues remain of vehicles being brake tested unladen and where operators or Transport Managers fail to understand the information on printouts.Problems are also commonplace around change of entity. Mr Turfitt and his predecessor have raised this matter previously, but the report states that there is still “ignorance” of the legal restrictions surrounding non-transferability of O-Licences.The use of walk-round inspection record sheets that are out of date is a further issue. Some operators would also “benefit from… lessons on treating these documents with more care,” says the report from TCs for England.Timely downloading of data from both digital tachograph cards and vehicle units is a further area of concern, as is doing nothing with it even when it is obtained.Bridge bashingOther areas of worry where drivers are involved concern bridge strikes and self-employment.“The self-employed fiction is a curse; it is simply a device for operators to evade their responsibilities to make National Insurance and pension contributions and [to] thereby obtain a competitive advantage,” says the report.Instances of vehicles contacting bridges are “unacceptable” in number, it continues. Although LGVs are usually to blame, the TCs write that it is time for operators to view the matter seriously and take responsibility.That extends to drivers being given route planning assistance and measurement conversion charts. Regulatory action against those operators who fail to act is “a real possibility,” as it is for drivers involved.The number of coach and bus operators called to PI in 2018-19 was 153, significantly down from 181 in the previous 12 months. Of those, 65 saw their O-Licences revoked. There was no action taken on 18 occasions.
Volvo Buses has revealed a roof-mounted pantograph charging solution for its rigid and articulated 7900 Electric buses, called panto up.The solution is due to be introduced in autumn 2021, and offers a new alternative for charging electric buses at bus stops or depots.Volvo Buses has already introduced OppCharge, its charging station-mounted pantograph solution, presently deployed at Birmingham Airport. It also offers a cable charging solution for depots known as Combo2/CCS.“With a flexible range of alternatives for charging buses, we meet the varied demands and wishes of our customers and pave the way for quicker and easier transition to electrified bus traffic,” says Ulf Magnusson, SVP Business Unit Europe at Volvo Buses.The latest solution is based on technology from Schunk Group, an international technology supplier. It claims to offer compact installation and low additional on-board weight.
Google+ Twitter Pinterest Google+ Twitter IndianaNews WhatsApp Facebook Court: Indiana legislature can divert civil forfeiture money Facebook (“Indiana State Capitol Building” by Drew Tarvin, CC BY 2.0) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s General Assembly is within its rights to divert civil forfeiture proceeds for law enforcement purposes from a fund for schools.The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports the court’s majority recently said a constitutional requirement that civil forfeitures in the state must be paid into a fund that helps school districts pay for technology upgrades, building new schools and other projects doesn’t mean that every penny must go to the fund.Police and prosecutors have been permitted by Indiana law to divert for “expenses” a portion of the revenue generated through the seizure of property and cash connected to criminal enterprises — a process known as civil forfeiture. Taxpayers challenged how the distribution worked .The court also is weighing a separate forfeiture case . WhatsApp Pinterest By Associated Press – July 9, 2019 0 261 Previous articleBillionaire/90s Presidential Candidate H. Ross Perot dies at 89Next articlePelosi to speak to Young Democrats’ meeting in Indianapolis Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications.