Scottish Citylink’s five new airport coaches

first_imgThe five new Scania Irizar i6s are on Glasgow to Edinburgh Airport routeFive new Irizar i6-bodied Scania K 360 EBs have been delivered to Scottish Citylink for use on its CitylinkAIR route between Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow.“By launching these five new, modern, state-of-the-art vehicles, we hope that even more customers will use our greener, smarter coach services to Scotland’s busiest airport,” says Operations Manager David Frenz.“This route has gone from strength to strength over the last three years, with thousands of people benefiting from it every week.”The 14.2m, PSVAR-compliant coaches seat 59, or 55 plus one wheelchair user. PLS Magic Floor front-entrance lifts are fitted.USB power points and 4G Wi-Fi has been specified by Scottish Citylink along with Bosch Professional Line entertainment systems, a floor-level rear toilet and 12-camera CCTV systems.Scania’s DC09 engine rated at 360bhp is fitted, requiring only SCR to reach Euro 6, along with Opticruise automated manual gearboxes.last_img read more

Transforming school buses with VecTive software

first_imgTechnology has found a place in almost all of the coach and bus industry over recent years, but it’s a fair bet that many businesses could benefit still further. Start-up firm Vectare aims to help them, starting with school buses, as Tim Deakin reportsVecTive is a comprehensive school bus management tool, including mapsDedicated websites, live disruption updates and journey planning tools can often be justified investments on intensive urban bus services where passenger numbers are high, but what if there was a simple and cost-effective means of bringing the same concepts to school services?Doing so would make these services more attractive to children and parents alike, and where similar ideas have been tried previously, they met with great success.But not all school routes can sustain the cost behind them, so a low-cost model is needed. And that’s where Nottingham-based Vectare comes in.Vectare has a team of five young, IT-savvy people behind it, and its raison d’etre is simple, says Director Peter Nathanail. “We want to help people offer excellent transport services,” he explains, and as it grows, Vectare intends to offer a variety of services to help them do so.Publicity and websites – using a standard formula that can be cost-effectively adapted to suit the customer’s needs – will form part of this offering, but at the most advanced stage so far is Vectare’s school bus e-payment, journey planning and ticketing platform.It is called VecTive, and, says Vectare, offers “a complete solution for school bus administration.”VecTive has been designed with the knowledge that budgets for, and income from, school work are often limited. It won’t break the bank, but has the potential to make school buses more attractive, potentially luring more passengers and thus covering for its modest per-route monthly fee.It also offers significant administrative savings when compared with paper forms and manual data entry.VecTive offers pass purchase, and also administers singles or returnsBuilding knowledge“We know that there is not a huge amount of money in transporting schoolchildren, but they are the coach and bus passengers of the future,” says Peter.“If we can show them that it is actually a convenient and cost-effective way to travel, that has the potential to grow the future market.”One of the system’s strong points is that it utilises National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN) open data, which includes the location of every bus stop in the UK.Operators who use VecTive receive a dedicated website, branded to their specification and where users can input their postcode.Using route and NaPTAN data, VecTive will then plot the most convenient way to access the bus; it provides a walking or driving route to the nearest stop, schedule information and a ‘buy now’ button for passes, and for single or return fares.“The appropriate stop for parents to take their children to may even vary from day to day,” says Peter. “The website can access real-time traffic data, and if there is a particular problem it will advise them to use an alternative stop if that is more time efficient.”Paying the farePrecise functionality of VecTive can be tailored exactly as the operator, school or tendering body requires, but it can handle the issuing of passes – either printed or via a phone – besides permitting children or parents to pay for one-off journeys as they require.It can also keep a list of pupils who are scheduled to use the service, allowing the driver to check them off upon boarding – a useful security mechanism. Likewise, it may also highlight any users who have been banned for poor behaviour.Removing the need for cash handling, or pass recording via a conventional ticket machine, is thus possible as the driver can, on a service that is managed by VecTive, carry out all recording via an internet-enabled phone.Peter is mindful that not everywhere has good 3G coverage yet, and webpages are made as simple as possible with this in mind. It is also possible to record boarders offline should the bus be in an area that lacks a 3G signal, but Peter acknowledges that preventing ‘pass back’ will be difficult in this scenario.Of course, if recording the use of individual passes via a QR code or driver input is not needed, a simpler ‘pass’ button can be added to the driver’s terminal.VecTive has already been rolled out at a private school, where fares owed by students that do not have a pass are added to fees. Alternatively, money can be transferred to the operator via Paypal or BACS. There is also an option for drivers to take cash and record the transaction via VecTive.“If an operator tells us how they want the system to work, we will do as they wish,” says Peter. “No ticket is issued; we work via e-mail confirmation that is shown to the driver. We examined a Bluetooth printer option, but the e-mail confirmation method is cheaper and more reliable.”All records are held on a central website that is password protected, but every individual with access can see the status of each journey and who has a pass to travel on it – along with those who have paid for an individual trip.Tracking of buses via the phone issued to the driver, and providing details of loadings at particular points, schedule adherence, and real-time information, is a future aspiration. It’s not yet a certainty, says Peter, but is on the agenda. However, it will rely on an improvement to 3G signals in rural areas to prevent ‘bus loss’.Pass prices and service information are also held in VecTiveThe benefitsPeter – who made an impromptu presentation on VecTive at May’s Young Bus Managers Network conference in Birmingham that was well received – can quickly and easily outline the benefits of Vectare’s software.“Besides the issuing and management of termly or yearly passes, the software allows passengers to book and pay for individual trips easily, and that means that they are more likely to use the bus. No paper is required, and pupils or parents do the data entry.“There is also a high level of guidance provided to passengers. Journeys become easier to make and more attractive; we even tell users which side of the road the stop is on.“Additionally, a great deal of data is provided to the operator. The driver can, if required, have a list of all children booked on the service, and in extreme situations – where demand is highly variable – that can allow capacity to be better managed.”The headline price of the software starts at £10 per route, per month, with a premium for inclusion of payments by phone and other bolt-ons, and it is dependent on contract length.For that, Vectare will create a website with a timetable that shows fares and includes a postcode search facility and a ‘book now’ button. VecTive will handle these bookings and provide data to the operator, and the tendering body if required, and it can add much more depending on the purchaser’s requirements.“VecTive is still being developed, so we are keen to hear from operators who may like to see further capabilities added.“They can also send us details of their services and we can provide a no-obligation plan for improvement using our software: In other words, send us what you’ve got, and you will get some constructive feedback.”All data is kept confidential, and based on what Vectare has discovered already and hopes to do in the future, Peter is confident that Vectare will see an uptake of its software from the beginning of the 2017/18 academic year. The initial launch was low-key, and it continues to refine the concept.“Once it is up and running, the software ticks over nicely. We upload changes to fares, routes and timetables as we receive them, and while NaPTAN data is useful for stop information, we can also work with simpler location data.”It is early days for Vectare, and operators will need to convince themselves of VecTive’s benefits. But as a low-cost service, there may be aspects there that can streamline your business, cut cost and increase usage.Find out more, and contact Vectare, at read more

Big guns out at Warwick

first_imgThe Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has revealed its initial line-up for its reinstated annual coaching conference.Taking place at Volvo’s Warwick HQ on Tuesday 6 December, the members-only event will focus on current issues impacting the coaching industry, including the likely implications of the UK leaving the EU.Speakers include Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney, ETOA Head of Strategy and Policy Tim Fairhurst, Backhouse Jones Solicitors Director James Backhouse and CPT Director of Policy Development Steven Salmon.For details and bookings e-mail [email protected]last_img read more

10 EVM Community Sprinters for Avis-Budget UK

first_img10 of EVM’s low-floor Community Sprinter conversion have been suppliedCar hire operator Avis-Budget UK has taken delivery of 10 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with EVM’s low-floor Community conversion.They have 14 Kiel Ligero seats with leather inserts along with panoramic double-glazing, saloon air-conditioning and colour-coded skirts to match the rest of the vehicle. They also have Masats two-piece, 120cm wide power doors.Length             7.47mHeight              2.60mWidth               1.99mGVW               5,000kgEngine             Mercedes-Benz four-cylinderPower              163bhpTorque             360NmEmissions        Euro 6Gearbox          Seven-speed automaticlast_img read more

PSV O-Licence processing times slump in 2018

first_imgProcessing times for PSV O-Licence applications grew in 2018, data showsData released by the Traffic Commissioners shows that the time taken for the processing of PSV O-Licence applications increased significantly in 2018.In the 12 months to December, the average time taken to process an application that did not require a Public Inquiry (PI) was 71.81 working days, compared to 50.40 working days for the same period in 2017 – an rise of 42.5%.For those applications that did require a PI, the average time taken for processing was 144.21 working days, compared to 128.21 working days in 2017 – an increase of 12.5%.The times taken to process goods applications grew by 9.4% where no PI was required, and 32.7% where one was.View the data at read more

Go-Ahead Ireland continues route expansion

first_imgGo-Ahead Ireland took over a tranche of coach routes between Kildare and Dublin on Sunday 1 December.The group’s entry into the Irish market came after it was opened for tender in line with government policy and legislation.Go-Ahead Ireland already operated 10% of the Dublin bus network and it has produced “positive trends in reliability, punctuality and customer service.” That is according to CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA) Anne Graham.It will operate the coach routes with a mix of existing VDL Futura FDD2 double-deckers and new Volvo Sunsundegui single-deckers.Says MD Ed Wills: “In July we opened our Kildare depot. Over the last number of months we have been working hard alongside the NTA in preparation for the launch.”The Kildare routes represent the first of a two-phase commuter route tender. They will be followed by other services along the N4 corridor on 19 January 2020.last_img read more

TfL funding settlement confirms LEZ will tighten in March 2021

first_imgIntroducing Euro VI standards for coaches and buses entering London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) from 1 March 2021 forms a condition of the government’s latest funding settlement with Transport for London (TfL), which is worth around £1.8bn.Daily charges for non-Euro VI coaches and buses to enter the LEZ were originally scheduled to begin on 26 October, but TfL postponed them during the early stages of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.TfL later announced that the change to LEZ standards would be made from 1 March 2021. A letter sent by Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on 31 October outlines that doing so is a condition of the extraordinary funding being given to TfL.After confirming the 1 March 2021 change to the LEZ, TfL subsequently announced a funding stream to help affected businesses comply. It is believed that the competitive retrofit and scrappage scheme was quickly over-subscribed.For coaches, buses and minibuses with a GVW of over 5,000kg that satisfy Euro IV or Euro V standards, a £100 daily charge to enter the LEZ will be levied from that date. Vehicles in those classes that do not meet Euro IV standards will be subject to a daily charge of £300. In both cases, no further payment will be required to drive into the Ultra Low Emission Zone.£1.8bn has been awarded to TfL by the government. It is to enable the continuation of services in the face of a major reduction in fares income brought about by the pandemic. Mr Shapps’ letter states that the two parties aim “to be in a position where a longer-term settlement is possible from March 2021.”Beyond that, the government continues to work with TfL towards a plan for it to reach a financially sustainable position, with a target date for implementation of April 2023. The Department for Transport defines that as TfL’s ability to cover the following from sources available to it, excluding government grant:Operating expenditureCapital renewalsServicing and repaying debtCapital enhancements.last_img read more

2 Indiana online charter schools face being forced to close

first_img Twitter Facebook By Associated Press – July 28, 2019 0 278 Twitter WhatsApp Google+ (“Keyboard of a computer” by Marco Verch, CC BY 2.0) DALEVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Two Indiana online charter schools which state officials say inflated their enrollments by thousands of students could soon be forced to close.The state Department of Education has stopped providing state funding to Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy in seeking to recover more than $40 million. A state audit found more than half of the schools’ some 7,000 students weren’t active for much of 2017.Both schools are authorized under state law by the Daleville School Board, which voted Thursday to revoke their charters within several weeks. Daleville Superintendent Paul Garrison says the online schools haven’t communicated with students and parents about how they’ll keep operating.An attorney for the online schools, Mary Jane Lapointe, says forcing their immediate closures will cause more troubles for students. WhatsApp Pinterest Google+ 2 Indiana online charter schools face being forced to close Pinterest Facebook IndianaNews Previous articleJeter’s foundation donates $3.2M for Michigan ballfieldsNext articlePretzels Inc. to Expand in Plymouth Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications.last_img read more

Speeding driver on Indiana Toll Road arrested for drug possession

first_imgIndianaLocalNews Pinterest Google+ Google+ Pinterest Twitter By Jon Zimney – January 18, 2020 0 264 Facebook WhatsApp Speeding driver on Indiana Toll Road arrested for drug possession (Jon Zimney/95.3 MNC) A man from Canada found himself in the fast lane to jail after Indiana State Troopers stopped him for speeding on the Indiana Toll Road and discovered marijuana, cocaine, and illegal prescription pills in his vehicle.Troopers stopped Shish Mohammad, 30 of Scarborough, Ontario, for speeding on the Indiana Toll Road near the eastbound 24 mile marker on Friday, Jan. 17.Mohammad is alleged to have been driving his gray Nissan 89 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone approaching the Portage Toll Plaza.While the troopers spoke to Mohammad they purportedly smelled the odor of raw marijuana coming from the Nissan. A police K9 also detected the odor of narcotics.A search of the Nissan revealed two clear plastic bags of suspected marijuana, suspected marijuana cigarettes, two plastic bags of suspected cocaine, and several pills identified as controlled substances.Mohammad was taken to the Porter County Jail for Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Facebook Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleWarsaw police seek robbery suspect after Walgreens heistNext articleAlcohol, drugs may be factors in injury crash in Cass County 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

Boost for Prague metro

first_imgMeanwhile, the Port of Brussels has been granted a €22.5 million loan to help transform wasteland along the Brussels canal into a logistics and warehousing centre served by road, river, sea and rail.The EIB said the cash – the first part of a €50 million package – will help to clean-up industrial contamination of the 12-hectare site. The European Investment Bank (EIB) said the loan will fund three new stations, helping to relieve heavy congestion on polluted roads.The Luxembourg-based EU bank believes the project will have knock-on effects on the local economy, making residential areas in outlying areas more attractive.The project will also help the Czechs – due to join the Union next year – to meet strict EU environmental standards.last_img read more