Transport Spokesperson Pat Glass’ shocking performance

first_imgLast week was the first Transport Oral Questions in the House of Commons of 2017. And, it was one of the dullest I’ve ever watched.Inevitably, rail dominated the session – as it always tends to – and the coach and bus industry didn’t even get a mention, I’m sorry to report.Despite our industry responding magnificently to a call to arms from the Department for Transport to help poor beleaguered Southern rail commuters to work on strike days, not a single word of gratitude from our ministerial team. Zilch. A ‘thank you’ might have been nice, even polite!North West Durham MP Pat Glass was an embarrassment at the dispatch box. She memorably hit the headlines last May during the EU Referendum campaign when she told the BBC: “The very first person I come to is a horrible racist. I’m never coming back to wherever this is.” She later apologisedThe performance of Pat Glass at the despatch box, one of Labour’s shadow transport spokespeople, was abysmal, bordering on the embarrassing.Fortunately for our industry she has responsibility for rail, so at least she can’t cause us any grief. Based on this performance I suspect any meeting with her would be unremittingly dire. One does have to wonder how individuals like this get put into frontbench positions?You would like to think that Labour frontbench spokespeople use their slot at Transport Questions to ask seriously probing questions of ministers: To put them on the spot.So when one of the other Labour spokesmen, Daniel Zeichner, asked a question about preparedness in London for the 2mm of snow that was forecast to fall on the capital that night, you really do have to wonder what the point of it all really is. Was that the best, most probing question he could come up with?After Transport Orals we had the usual weekly Business Statement setting out the business of the Commons for the following two weeks. I was half hoping, even expecting, to hear that we might finally get a date allocated for Commons Second Reading on the Buses Bill. But no, nothing.No sign of Second Reading up to and including 26 January, so the earliest it can be is 30 January. Hardly the sign of a government in a rush to get this Bill on the statute book.No rush to Second Reading, no mention of coaches or buses at Transport Orals, and now I’ve just found out that no minister will be attending the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s Annual Dinner.It doesn’t send a very powerful signal about the level of ministerial interest in the coach and bus sectors, does it? But then, as I’ve said more than once before, ministerial interest can be a double-edged sword as it normally leads to ministerial interference, something that I would normally seek to avoid like the plague.Still, some kind of ministerial ‘thank you’ for the coach and bus industry’s willingness to help out with the Southern rail dispute would be nice, even polite. Manners maketh the man, Messrs Grayling and Jones.last_img read more

Longleat announces 2018 dates

first_imgThe stunning Sky Safari sees dozens of hot air balloons releasedLongleat, the stately home and safari park in Wiltshire, has announced its main events calendar for 2018.The Longleat Food & Drink Festival takes place on 23-24 June. It features celebrity chefs taking over the Longhouse with live demos; a pop-up Market Street with street food, drinks and treats; and live music on the Longleat lawns.The Killer Animatronics Exhibition takes place from 24 March to 31 October. This year groups will be able to see a great white shark in actual size, a super-sized venus flytrap, and the butcher bird.Sky Safari returns on 14-16 September, the biggest annual hot air balloon festival in Europe. With brightly-coloured balloons in the sky during the days, the evenings will see a nightglow show set to music. The fifth Festival of Light will take place on selected dates from 9 November. The winter spectacular will have a new theme, yet to be announced.Each event is included in the Longleat group day ticket, which is £24.50pp for adults for the 2018 season (£22pp for seniors) – except the Festival of Light, which will be £26pp for adults at peak times (£23.40pp for seniors) and £24.40pp off-peak (£21.90).[blob] Contact 01985 844328 or [email protected]last_img read more

Details of MAN TGE passenger products unveiled

first_imgVan and chassis cab versions to be available for passenger use; right-hand drive models expected to be sold via bodybuilders, but MAN will also offer ‘a nice line-up’ of factory conversions, builder promises3,500kg GVW versions of TGE followed by heavier models later in 2018More details of MAN’s plans for passenger-carrying versions of the TGE have been revealed, with the German manufacturer expecting to offer accessible and minicoach models in right-hand drive and a low-floor version later.The majority of TGEs that enter the market here will do so via third party bodybuilders and converters, who have existing relationships with operators.MAN’s wholly-owned UK subsidiary will also be able to supply minicoaches and minibuses that are converted at its Plauen Bus Modification Centre.Base vehicles at 3,500kg GVW are already available in right-hand drive. They are suitable for conversion, with a maximum of eight passenger seats or three wheelchair users in accessible models.Development is currently ongoing at 5,000kg GVW. At September’s IAA show in Hanover, MAN will exhibit at least two M2 vehicles, one finished at Plauen and one by a third party. 19 seats will be the maximum at that GVW, while 16-seat accessible and coachbuilt models will be possible.A 5,500kg GVW M3 version of the TGE will follow for PCV use. It will have upgraded brakes and suspension but otherwise it is the same as the M2 variant, with maximum front and rear axle loadings of 2,200kg and 3,500kg respectively.“All of the passenger-carrying TGE models that we finish at Plauen will be offered in right-hand drive, but we expect most UK demand to be met by local bodybuilders and converters,” says Manager Project Minibus Alexander Stucke. “We have already spoken to a number of them, and in the UK we have also identified a market for accessible minibuses,” he adds.As part of its commitment to supporting all TGE customers, MAN will instigate an accreditation programme for approved bodybuilder partners that will involve audit and certification of their processes and quality.Mr Stucke has also confirmed that MAN will “definitely” offer a TGE with a low-floor central area in a similar style to those fitted to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. While there is no specific timeframe for the low-floor’s debut, 2019 is likely. It will be offered first in left-hand drive form before right-hand drive versions are added.All versions of the TGE will be powered by a 2.0-litre engine with four rating from 102-177bhp. Gearbox options are a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.www.van.manlast_img read more

Timberbush Tours hails land purchase on Isle of Skye

first_imgEdinburgh-based Timberbush Tours has hailed the successful bid by the Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA) on the Isle of Skye to buy land close to the hugely popular Fairy Pools on Skye to manage the impact of visitor and traffic congestion close to the popular tourist attraction.This successful land transfer has used a Scottish Government – supported Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) scheme to transfer publicly owned forestry assets to the benefit of local communities, meaning the land can now be used to provide improved parking facilities close to the Fairy Pools.Timberbush Tours, which provides frequent coach tours to Skye, had previously raised a number of concerns about the lack of facilities and general infrastructure for the 108,000 visitors who flooded into the vicinity last year, only to find there are just 35 parking spaces and access to the Fairy Pools is severely restricted by a single-track road.Steve Spalding, CEO Timberbush Tours, says: “Up until now, we, like many other coach tour operators and private vehicles, are facing long delays reaching our intended destination. True, no one could ever imagine the surge of tourism into the area, but we now have a strategy to relieve the pressure on the local communities, particularly around the Glen Brittle area on Skye.“The community benefit of the land transfer will completely transform the ‘visitor experience’. It’s a tranquil place of outstanding natural beauty, but the Fairy Pools has almost become a shrine to tens of thousands of people from all corners of the world, so something needed to be done to alleviate the traffic burden. It really has been saturation point.”last_img read more

Indcar Wing midicoach to make UK debut at EBE

first_imgMoseley companies set to fill gap in 29-seat segment with Iveco-based model to meet ‘strong demand’Introduction of the Wing returns an Iveco Daily option to Moseley groupThe Iveco Daily-based Indcar Wing midicoach will be among a number of vehicles making its right-hand debut at Euro Bus Expo (EBE) on 30 October-1 November. It will be supplied to UK operators by the Moseley companies and the first has been sold to Kendal-based Heron Travel.Built on a 7,200kg GVW chassis and seating up to 29 passengers along with a courier, the Wing returns a Daily-based option to the Moseley line-up. It will complement the Next L8 and Next L9 models based on Mercedes-Benz Atego chassis.“There is a strong demand for midicoaches in the 29-seat segment of the market and we believe that the Wing is an ideal replacement for the Sitcar Beluga,” says Moseley (PCV) Managing Director Tim Fairless.“We have already had a good response to the Wing from operators and we look forward to showing the first right-hand drive example at EBE,” he adds. An order for stock vehicles has already been placed by the Moseley companies.The Wing supersedes the Daily-based Sitcar Voyager in Moseley’s range. It is 8.48m long and 2.40m wide and it includes a rear boot with 3.92m3 of capacity. Iveco’s Hi-Matic eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is rear air suspension.Besides the standard specification, the vehicle to be displayed at EBE will additionally come with USB charging points at every seat, a reversing camera and pre-wiring for a fridge.Joining the Wing on Indcar’s stand at EBE will be a Next L8 with 33 seats.last_img read more

Carlone Buses: Providing a community lifeline

first_imgBy operating essential services in Surrey, Carlone Buses is a firm that knows exactly where it stands in the market, with an important role to play where the larger operators may not, or will not, be able toCarlone focuses on small PCVs, and buys new, such as this EVM SprinterKnowing who you are and where your place is in such a large industry like the coach and bus sector is vital, and it’s the key to success for minibus operator Carlone Buses.In a time where new-build housing estates are not investing in bus infrastructure, and councils are making service cuts – limiting the travel opportunities to those in rural areas with no access to cars – the Lyne, Surrey-based firm prides itself on the hard work it does around the area, providing an essential service to users.Climbing the ladderEstablished by Martin Noakes in 1984, Carlone operates a nine-strong fleet of PSVs and two eight-seater vehicles, and is now headed up by Martin’s son Matt.“After working with his father at the family coach firm for a while, my dad decided he wanted to launch a business of his own,” Matt explains, saying that Martin simply “wanted to do his own thing”.He adds: “I came onboard in 2000 when I started as an apprentice mechanic, and then worked up from there. I did a few years in the workshop, some years driving, and a few years in the office.”His parents wanted to retire but they settled on semi-retirement in the first instance. This saw the founders come back and work during the school term, at a time when Carlone was running more vehicles than it does now. They then retired completely in 2007 with Matt taking over the reins.Quality serviceCarlone proves that a completely brand-new fleet is not always required to provide essential services to the community. Its oldest vehicle is a well-maintained 05-plate and the newest is a 68-plate, with the average age of its main vehicles – the ones that work every day – around three years old.Each vehicle in the fleet will be contracted out all day, so the firm does hold two spare vehicles which Matt explains are older than the others. It does home-to-school services, some school routes, and bus services where larger vehicles cannot fit or when it’s uneconomical.A variety of work is undertaken, including school and stage carriage dutiesSays Matt: “We started initially just doing home-to-school routes and then the council came to us and said: ‘We’ve got a few areas that don’t have a bus service. Would you be able to provide one in between school contracts where you are picking up some people and take them shopping?’“And then it progressed from there. We’ve graduated from minibuses to welfare vehicles to now where we are pretty much buying full-specification minibuses so we can provide a quality service to those in wheelchairs. This includes wheelchair users being able to board the vehicle from the front as opposed to the rear.”Most of Carlone’s vehicles are fitted with destination equipment and they include Ticketer’s hand-held electronic ticket machines.The services don’t take contactless payments. However, Matt says as it doesn’t currently take a lot of cards on the buses at the moment, it’s not really an issue that is bothering the firm.“But the next time we invest in ticket machines, we’ll be able to upgrade and get contactless,” he adds.Why minibuses?Running any business comes with its challenges and operating a minibus firm, Matt describes as being “a tough game”. “You do have to do a lot of hours for nothing, so if you’re willing to do that then the rewards will be there – but it’s like everything, if you’re willing to put the effort into it, you will get something back eventually.”Carlone is a minibus firm that knows exactly where it stands in its market, which is one of the main reason why it hasn’t looked at investing in full-size coaches.“It’s mainly due to the work that we’ve had. It has always been centred around the requirements for minibuses,” Matt says. “If you do what we do, where you have to complete every contract every day, it’s obviously a lot easier when you have the right infrastructure in place – when you have got the spare vehicles to move into a contract.“To move into a service for larger vehicles, in my opinion, I would need to buy at least two of them. That way I can have one available should there be an issue. Even with our brand-new buses, they still need maintenance and could still have an accident or warranty repair that might take some time. So running brand-new vehicles still needs the capacity to cover the work.”The fleet holds a mixture of vehicles; those used all day are all modernAdvice on running a successful-minibus operation? Matt says: “Don’t stretch yourself too far and don’t be ashamed to run older vehicles to get yourself going. “Just make sure you have the right vehicles for the contract.”No driver shortageDriver shortage is always a hot potato in the industry, but it is an issue that Carlone says it has not been affected by – the firm has 19 members of staff at the moment, 14 of which drive.“We always do quite well for drivers; we tend to offer a mixture between part-time driving and full-time driving,” he says.“We do tend to get drivers who are looking to semi-retire and still doing the same work. And a lot of our routes will have one driver on them, and they’ll do the same thing every day, offering them stability.“We’re really lucky that our staff are absolutely brilliant,” Matt explains. As a smaller company, it has many benefits. All of his drivers know him, all of his passengers know him. He puts that down to going on all of Carlone’s services regularly.“Passengers have my contact details, so if there are any problems they can get in contact with me and I’m always here. If there are any issues they can come straight to me to solve it,” he adds.Future growthCarlone is always looking to grow “but in the right areas,” says Matt. “At the moment, we do a lot of work for Surrey County Council and we would like to maybe look at other surrounding councils and move into the service work, but in our niche, we believe we can offer something different at a lower cost.”With the rise of demand-responsive services in areas – such as Oxford PickMeUp service, and ArrivaClick’s operation in Kent and Liverpool – Matt sees a gap in the market for Carlone to venture into. “We like the idea of getting involved with on-demand services, working with councils or an authority; it looks like a good idea where we will be able to cope with not having that vehicle contracted out all day.“We’ve got enough staff in the area that could do a little bit here and there and it would work as lot of our drivers never get near enough to the hours they could do. “We are always offering to help if we see another service in trouble or when an operator can’t run something commercially because of councils cutting funding. We will always try and offer support.”last_img read more

NI heads back to school safely with Translink video

first_imgTranslink is helping young people prepare for the new school journey with a short film, empowering them to stay safe on their journeys.Made in partnership with the Education Authority and Translink Youth Forum, the film – Let’s Go Safely Back to School – features young people from across Northern Ireland and forms part of Translink’s schools communication and engagement campaign, welcoming pupils back to the ‘new normal’.The film is available to watch on Translink’s social media channels and includes safety advice such as respecting everyone’s journey, using touch-free tickets, wearing of face coverings and washing/sanitising hands frequently.last_img read more

Man charged in case where 2 judges were shot reaches plea

first_img Man charged in case where 2 judges were shot reaches plea Google+ Google+ Facebook WhatsApp IndianaNews Twitter By Associated Press – October 20, 2019 0 220 Pinterest Facebook Twitter (Photo supplied) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A man facing felony charges for a May fight during which two judges were shot in downtown Indianapolis has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge.Twenty-four-year-old Alfredo Vazquez recently signed a deal with Marion County prosecutors calling for him to plead guilty to one count of misdemeanor battery. In exchange, prosecutors will drop the remaining charges he faces, including two felony battery counts.The Indianapolis Star reports that Vazquez is scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea Oct. 23.He was charged for his role in a May 1 fight outside an Indianapolis fast-food restaurant during which Clark County judges Andrew Adams and Brad Jacobs were shot.Forty-one-year-old Brandon Kaiser is accused of shooting the judges. His trial on 14 charges is scheduled to start Nov. 18. WhatsApp Pinterest Previous articlePurdue prof, wife plead guilty in research fund schemeNext articleWednesday’s storm swept away dunes in Michigan communities Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications.last_img read more

Woman Attacks Man with Knife over $20

first_img Facebook Woman Attacks Man with Knife over $20 Twitter Previous articleSouth Bend man sentenced to 11 years for robbing four banks in Indiana, MichiganNext articleDowntown St. Joseph improvements being discussed Carl Stutsman Twitter Google+ Pinterest Pinterest Google+ ABC 57 News A woman has been charged in connection with a slashing that occurred over an argument about $20.It happened back in July when a man appeared at the hospital with a cut to his hand, but reported that it was accidental. As it turns out he was attempting to protect the woman that had attacked him. Mishawaka Police say it happened after the victim had been paid for cleaning a house and had gone to an apartment on Island View Lane.That’s where he was accosted by Charlotte Griffin for $20 cash, and when he refused she grabbed a pocket knife and swung it at him. It was Griffin’s son that first talked to investigators, and Griffin later told them that everyone in the incident had been drinking at the time.ABC 57 reports she is facing one count of battery by means of a deadly weapon. Facebook WhatsApp WhatsApp By Carl Stutsman – November 13, 2019 0 324 IndianaLocalNewslast_img read more

South Bend OKs random inspections for body camera footage

first_img Google+ By Jon Zimney – December 22, 2019 0 299 WhatsApp Google+ WhatsApp Pinterest Pinterest Twitter IndianaLocalNews South Bend OKs random inspections for body camera footage (Sarah Welliver/The Elkhart Truth) SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A new policy adopted in the wake of a black man’s fatal shooting by a white South Bend police officer calls for random inspections of officers’ body camera footage and for officers to state a reason before ending a recording.The South Bend Tribune reports that the city’s Board of Public Safety approved the new policy on Wednesday.The policy has been under scrutiny since the June 16 shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan.According to police reports, Logan was armed with a knife and swung at the officer who, in turn, shot Logan.The shooting wasn’t captured on police video because the officer’s dash and body cameras weren’t activated. Twitter Facebook Facebook Previous articlePair could face new charges in Indiana neglect caseNext articleFOP Lodge #36 defending officer heard making movie reference related to KKK Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.last_img read more