New Ashford Tenterden service

Stagecoach will launch a new bus route between Tenterden and Ashford on Monday 29 July offering free travel on the service on that day. Numbered the 2A, it will operate via Shadoxhurst and replaces routes 295 and 296 which were provided by various bus companies. In combination with the existing route 2 via High Halden, there will now be a bus between Ashford and Tenterden every 30 minutes for the first time.

Jeremy Cooper, Commercial Director of Stagecoach in East Kent said: ‘With so many buses to chose from we hope many more people will now travel from Tenterden to Ashford by bus, particularly with the high speed trains offering an attractive route into London. We hope the free travel on Monday will help passengers have a great day out at the start of the school holidays and we plan to have a classic 1968 AEC Regent double-decker in use on some of the journeys as an added bit of fun.’


Richard Brown joins DfT board

Richard Brown CBE FCILT has been appointed as a non-executive member of the Department for Transport Board by Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. Chief Executive of Eurostar from August 2002 to April 2010 and Chairman until June this year, he was previously Commercial Director and a main Board Director of National Express Group plc, where he set up its UK Trains Division. He was the 2008/9 President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport and is currently its Rail Sector Ambassador.

Summer Smiles in Ipswich

Following the announcement of reduced price travel for Young People up to the age of 19, Ipswich Buses has launched a Summer Smiles price promotion offer to get people out and about this summer. It allows an adult and child of up to 19 to travel together on Ipswich Buses Town Services for just £2 a journey from 22n July to 1s September 2013. 

Malcolm Robson, MD of Ipswich Buses said ‘Following our announcement to increase reduced priced travel to all under 19s, Summer Smiles is part of our ongoing commitment to promoting travel by bus for young people and children.  With lots happening in our town this summer this offer helps people to get out and about for less and hopefully raise a smile or two along the way.’

IRU to debate senior and out of season travel

The International Road Transport Union (IRU), in cooperation with the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO), the European Tour Operators’ Association (ETOA) and the Belgian Federation of Bus and Coach operators (FBAA) is to debate
the current and future contribution of group tourism by coach to seniors’ and out of season tourism and travel in Europe and beyond at its 8th European Bus and Coach Forum  debate on 17 October 2013, during the Busworld exhibition at Kortrijk.

Some 250 representatives of the tourism and travel industry, Members of the European Parliament, national competent authorities, European Commission officials, bus and coach manufacturers, researchers, and specialised journalists from all over the world are expected to join the debate. Organised in two panels, the forum debates will focus on the senior and off-season market potential and opportunities, as well as on practical challenges and the means to bringing more customers on board coaches.

Yves Mannaerts, President of the IRU Passenger Transport Council and FBAA Director, said: ‘Seniors and off- season tourism are crucial market segments, fully acknowledged by the European bus and coach tourism sector.  We are already providing inclusive mobility services to these customers, but more must be done to realise our full potential.’

Six Scanias for Hodge’s

ImageHodge’s Coaches (Sandhurst) Ltd has added the first of a batch of six new 12.8m Scania OmniExpress coaches to its fleet. The vehicles are based on the Scania K360 EB4x2 Euro5 chassis and have ZF automatic transmissions. They are each fitted with 57-seats, a Bosch entertainment package, climate control system, powered parallel side lockers and a powered continental door.
Hodge’s Coaches MD, Martin Hodge, said, ‘We take the purchasing of new vehicles very seriously indeed. This is a major investment and we look at the whole product, that is to say build-quality, operating costs, reliability and resale value and the Scania OmniExpress ticked all the boxes. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Scania into the future.’
Hodge’s new coaches are being supplied by Scania (Great Britain) Ltd.

Another Solo SR for Alba

ImagePenrith based Alba Travel has added another Optare Solo SR to its fleet for use on a new contract, the X33 Lakeland Explorer. The bus is powered by a Euro5 Mercedes-Benz OM 904LA 154bhp engine matched to an Allison 2100 Series five-speed automatic transmission. Specifications include Mobitec LED destination equipment, a reversing camera and 37 E-Leather trimmed Rescroft CT Lite seats.
Optare Sales Director, John Horn, said, ‘We’re delighted to be again supplying Alba Travel with our Solo SR model following good experience with those we supplied in 2010. This attractively styled and compact bus – and particularly the narrower SlimLine version – is well suited to the type of services that this highly regarded family firm runs in Cumbria, where roads can be quite narrow and traffic heavy during the summer months. Its easy access also makes it ideal for use by people of all levels of mobility.’

The vehicle was supplied directly by Optare.

French children’s travel ban

The annual French ban on the public transport of groups of children is on Saturday 3 August from 0000hrs to 2400hrs this year. This peculiarl French ban dates back to the country’s worst ever road accident on the equivalent day in 1982 in which 53 people died, most of them children, when a coach and several cars collided in torrential rain near Beaune. It is the French road network’s busiest day of the year, known as ‘Black Saturday.’