Construction of Wythenshawe’s 5m bus and tram interchange is about to start..It is funded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Manchester City Council. It will have a TfGM Travelshop, a highly-visible bus supervisor’s office and cycle parking. The development will also support the wider regeneration of Wythenshawe town centre, with the release of land occupied by the current bus station on Rowlandsway.
Optare shareholders have seen the remaining value of their holding almost wiped out after a collapse in the AIM-listed firm’s share price, after it said it will leave the stock exchange.It comes as majority owner and financial saviour, Ashok Leyland, part of the Hinduja Group, moves towards full ownership.On the announcement, Optare’s share price slumped from 17p to 4p, valuing Optare at a lowly 800,000 (compared with 3.6m the day before).It is all a long way from July 2010 when the shares hit a 6.30 trading high, shortly before Ashok Leyland made a 5m buy-in.However, the new shares issued diluted existing shareholders’ stakes. Ashok Leyland now owns 75.1% of Optare, meaning it has passed the 75% threshold it needs to win a vote to de-list the company â€“ saving the cost of maintaining a stock market listing.Optare shareholders have never received a dividend, due to its ongoing losses.
New measures to support the Prompt Payment Code and drive a culture of better payment practice have been confirmed by Margot James, Minister for Small Business.Margot James, Minister for Small Business: ‘Prompt payment can make all the difference to small businesses’A Small Business Commissioner to provide help and advice to business, including on achieving prompt payment, will be appointed.A Statutory Duty for large businesses to report on payment practices comes starts on 6 April 2017.The Minister says: “Prompt payment can make all the difference to small businesses, boosting their cashflow and allowing them to invest in growth for the future.“Although we have seen some progress, there are still too many business owners across the country who have not been paid on time by their customers.“We need a culture change to stamp this out and the Prompt Payment Code continues to play an important role in bringing this about, alongside a package of measures taken forward by government and industry.“The businesses signed up to the Code commit to demonstrating the gold standard of payment practices and it’s great to see so many of Britain’s leading household names on the list.”Details at www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk
Chesterfield-based DW Coaches has licence cut for two months after poor vehicle conditions, stretched maintenance frequencies and failure to manage staffThe licence held by Daniel Warden, trading as DW Coaches, has been cut from 12 vehicles to 10 for a period of a month by Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Simon Evans.Mr Warden, of Clay Cross, Chesterfield, appeared before the DTC at a Golborne Public Inquiry. In May DTC Miles Dorrington adjourned the proceedings after the DVSA failed to undertake a requirement for up to date reports after a Vehicle Examiner (VE) and a Traffic Examiner (TE) who had made initial reports had left the agency [routeone/Court Report/25 May].The DTC said that allegations had been made that Mr Robinson’s conduct and behaviour, in that he had been very rude, obstructive and had undermined what the DVSA was doingAfter DTC Evans had said that at the previous hearing DTC Dorrington indicated that it would be helpful if Workshop Manager Terry Robinson attended on the next occasion, Mr Warden said that he had declined to come. He thought Mr Robinson would be better remaining to look after the vehicles.The DTC said that allegations had been made that Mr Robinson’s conduct and behaviour, in that he had been very rude, obstructive and had undermined what DVSA was doing.Mr Warden said that if someone came in with “an attitude” then Mr Robinson would act in the same way. The DVSA officers’ attitude had been that their work was more important. It was a very busy day. He personally had had to take a bus out, as there was nobody else to drive it. The DVSA officers who had come in recently had come in with a different attitude [routeone/Court Report/26 October].In his decision the DTC said that vehicles had not been kept in a fit and serviceable condition and driver defect reporting arrangements had been unsatisfactory. In addition Mr Warden had used more vehicles on the road than were specified on the licence.No particular dates when that happened were known and he accepted Mr Warden’s assurance that such serious failures were no longer being perpetrated.There was evidence of stretched maintenance frequencies and that driver defect reporting and first use checks were of questionable quality.He was satisfied there was a clear failure to manage staff member, Terry Robinson, in 2015 and to properly understand the role of DVSA in carrying out its responsibilities. However, that that finding had to some extent been capable of moderation as a result of the subsequent investigation that clearly went off without any concern.Finally, the DTC required undertakings that there be an independent audit, that the traffic area be notified if the services of Transport Consultant Trevor Barker were dispensed with, and that Mr Warden undertake Transport Manager refresher training.
The summer opening of Buckingham Palace has been extended by three weeks. The Palace will now be open to visitors from Saturday, 22 July-1 October, giving visitors a total of ten weeks to enjoy the State Rooms and the special exhibition, Royal Gifts.The ‘Vessel of Friendship’ is one of many gifts that are part of the exhibitionRoyal Gifts will tell the story of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign through a wide-ranging display of official gifts presented to Her Majesty during the past 65 years.With gifts representing every continent, including those from world leaders such as former US President Ronald Reagan, former South African President Nelson Mandela and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, the exhibition will present a display of craftsmanship from across the globe.For group bookings of 15+ call 030 3123 7321 or visit www.royalcollection.org.uk/tickets
TC Kevin Rooney has revoked the licence of Diamond Travel until changes have been madeThe licence held by deceased Sheffield-based Michael Kinsley, trading as Diamond Travel, has been revoked and an application by his wife to take over the business refused by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney, because it had been run for nine months by an operator who had lost his repute.In revoking the existing licence and refusing the new application, the TC said that it was a complete mess. The licence was being run by Graham Lemmons, who had lost his repute as an operator. The accounts and insurance were in his name. The vehicles had been operated illegally all the way through as the person paying the drivers did not hold the licence and there was no Transport Manager (TM) in place.For Wendy Kinsley, who was seeking a three-vehicle national licence, Paul Carless said that she had not seen the nominated TM Dean MacDonald for nine months and it was accepted there had been no active nominated TM for that time. However, she had had the benefit of the help of the proposed TM John Proctor.The TC said that a lot of things needed to be done to straighten things out before a further application could be madeAfter the TC commented that one of the issues was who was running the business, Mrs Kinsley said that she would be responsible for running it. After her husband died Mr MacDonald did not want to continue as TM but he did not let her know. She was in full time employment with the Education Authority, but if the licence was granted she would cut down her hours. Mr Proctor had been helping her out but she had not been paying him so far. She intended to reduce the business and make it more manageable. She had previously helped her husband in the business and had seen a lot of how not to do it and denied that she was a front for Mr Lemmings, saying it had been her husband’s business and she wanted to carry it on.Asked about missing tachograph charts, she said a lot of it was down to one driver who refused to hand them in, saying that he didn’t need to as he was self employed. She had four drivers at the moment, all of whom were self employed and paid their own tax and national insurance. The TC commented that that was just a tax scam.Mr Lemmings said that he had not attended the Public Inquiry into his previous restricted licence as he could not get time off to attend and had felt he was not going to use it anyway. When he came back to Sheffield Mrs Kinsley was in a state and he wanted to help. He said he would run the licence until she decided what she wanted to do. He had just been helping the widow of a friend. He paid all the wages. The business address and the bank account were his. The intention was that everything would be swapped over.In his decision, the TC said that a lot of things needed to be done to straighten things out before a further application could be made and he felt it appropriate that the vehicles would be off the road for some weeks.
In a rare decision, Harton Coaches ceased operating from the 13 July after its licence was revoked on the same day as the Public Inquiry (PI).At the PI, it was found that there had been a lack of adherence to timetable requirements, drivers’ hours and record requirements. Furthermore, no Transport Manager was in place at the time of the PI.Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Jones made the decision to immediately revoke the licence, after accepting the findings of those present. Despite ongoing school contracts, the TC stated that due to significant road safety issues, the safety of the public and schoolchildren took precedence over running a registered service.
Heidi Alexander introduces Transport for London’s Bus Safety StandardTransport for London has embarked on a concerted drive to stop bus-related deaths and injuries in the capital with the unveiling of its new Bus Safety Standard. But could it become a standard for buses outside London and the UKThe new Bus Safety Standard being introduced by Transport for London (TfL) was variously described as world and industry-leading, ground-breaking and revolutionary at its launch last week.A key part of the recently-published London Mayor’s Vision Zero action plan and aimed at seeing no-one is killed on or by a London bus by 2030, the new evidence-led standard details the safety requirements that all the capital’s bus network must meet by 2024. The measures will apply to all new-build London buses from 2019, when the first phase is introduced, although TfL is examining retrofitting possibilities for certain measures.“I want London to be known for having the safest bus fleet in the world,” says Heidi Alexander, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, launching the Bus Safety Standard at a Bus Safety Summit held at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire.There are 6.5m bus journeys undertaken on London’s roads daily, she explains.“If we want to make our roads safer, it is critically important that we make our buses safer.” Phasing inUnder TfL’s Bus Safety Roadmap, Bus Safety Standard measures required in all new-build London buses from 2019 include: Intelligent Speed Assistance An Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System for electric and other quiet-running buses to warn pedestrians and other road users of their presence. TfL wants buses to use the same sound More blindspot mirrors and reversing camerasWarning pedal indicator lights for driversSlip reducing measures inside vehicles, including high-grip flooring.Full implementation by 2024 will require further measures on new build buses, including: Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB); an interlock system for runaway bus prevention; pedal standardisation and pedal acoustic feedback; specially designed bus fronts that reduce collision impacts; and bus interior improvements for protecting passengers. Some will be required by 2021.Bus Safety Summit delegates visit special demonstrations at Millbook Proving Ground Tougher standards or not enough?“We have set tougher standards for safety on buses than for any other vehicle,” Heidi Alexander explains.But she stresses that technology isn’t the whole answer. TfL is rolling out a “comprehensive” bus safety programme. It is working with Loughborough University and the Swedish Road Safety Institute on a driver fatigue study, and has improved how it investigates collisions.Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, describes the Bus Safety Standard as “ground breaking” and “industry-leading”. Estimates indicate the first phase measures will reduce bus-related fatalities and seriously injured casualties in London by up to 75% and up to 66% respectively, she says.“This is phenomenal. Imagine what we could do if this goes UK- and Europe-wide.”But Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, says the measures “simply do not go far enough. These proposals TfL have put forward are not only a year late but they only apply to new buses.”She adds: “We recognise how crucial technology is to improving bus safety in the capital and that is why the London Assembly Transport Committee is renewing its call for TfL and the Mayor to ensure there are no further delays to the introduction of this technology but most of all to roll out the BSS to the whole bus fleet in London.”Industry collaborationThe new standard was three years in the making, being developed with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) evaluating safety issues and testing proposed measures. TfL and TRL applauded the collaboration with bus manufacturers and operators, including in creating prototype solutions and loaning buses and drivers for trials and help from engineers and safety managers.The Bus Safety Standard is unveiled at the Bus Safety Summit“It has been really important to work with all the stakeholders, to make sure what has been proposed has to work and can be delivered,” says Richard Cuerden, TRL’s Academy Director.“The manufacturers and operators have been involved in this process from the moment we set out what we were trying to achieve,” says Jane Lupson, TfL’s Senior Bus Safety Development Manager.Tony Wilson, Managing Director at Abellio London Bus, said the company welcomes the Bus Safety Standard’s introduction.“As one of the operators who has been trialling innovative solutions as part of the project, we have seen that technology can help to reduce incidents and improve the safety and quality provided on London’s Buses.” On displayRepresentatives of bus operators, bus manufacturers and road safety organisations attended the Bus Safety Summit. They saw one bus demonstrating AEB, two electric buses showing the difference between non-fitted and fitted test audio warnings, and vehicles highlighting methods of improving driver visibility and vehicle interiors for passenger safety. For the futureSo, what lies ahead for London’s Bus Safety Standard package of measures?TRL’s Richard Cuerden, says it is “revolutionary” and shouldn’t just be about saving lives in London but also anywhere else in the UK or the world.“Nobody else is doing this on public transport vehicles on the road in the world. This is an opportunity for us in the UK to export this know-how and help other regional authorities.”Claire Mann says the new standard’s requirements would be introduced in stages from 2019, 2021 and three-yearly afterwards.“We know that technology and innovation have the potential to further improve safety in the future so our standard evolves and tightens over time, requiring features that aren’t yet available commercially but which will be with the industry’s energy and investment.”TfL will work with the Department for Transport and at Europe level to ensure introduction of these safety measures is done in the most affordable way, she explains.“We really want to reach out to the industry to say: ‘Come with us on the journey’.”
To mark Deaf Awareness Week (6-12 May), Action on Hearing Loss is teaming up with Brighton & Hove Buses in a bid to raise awareness of hearing loss and deafness across the city.On 9 May, from 1100-1430hrs, the charity will be on board a double-decker at Bus Stop D in Churchill Square, Brighton, offering free hearing screenings; British sign language taster sessions; free ear plugs; information about assistive technology; and advice about being more deaf aware.Jane Bailey, Head of Volunteering at Action on Hearing Loss, says: “Anyone worried about their own hearing, the hearing of a loved one, or anyone wishing to make changes to ensure that their workplace or social group is more inclusive, should come along.”
Nick de Bois. Photo by JachartukThe Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden CBE has appointed Nick de Bois as Chair of the Visit England Advisory Board and Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH as Chair of the British Tourist Authority.In 2016 Nick was appointed Chairman of the government’s first UK Events Industry Board where he advised the government on the implementation of its Business Events Strategy, launched in 2015. The strategy set about securing an increase of inbound international visitors. He was previously Managing Director of internationalOfficial portrait of Sir Patrick McLoughlin. By Chris McAndrewevents and exhibitions management agency of Rapiergroup, which he set up in 1988, before becoming Member of Parliament (MP) for Enfield North from 2010-2015. He resigned as Chair of the UK Events Industry Board in July 2018 to join the Department for Exiting the European Union as Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to Secretary of State Dominic Raab.Sir Patrick takes the Chair of the British Tourist Authority after holding positions as Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, the Department of Employment, the Department of Trade and Industry, and as a member of both the Parliament Restoration Board and of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.