Passenger change donated

Go-Ahead owned Oxford Bus Company has donated all unclaimed passenger change to local causes. The company’s staff voted that the money should go to SERV Oxford, which transports medical supplies to hospitals during weekends and evenings.

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DesignLine bankrupt

US bus manufacturer, DesignLine, has filed for bankruptcy following worker layoffs and a two week shut down. According to news reports, the company listed assets of $14.06m and debts of $37.5m in its bankruptcy filing. One of its largest creditors was New Jersey Transit, which the manufacturer owed $3.64m for payments on buses not delivered. DesignLine was founded in New Zealand in 1985 and relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2006, after it was acquired by American interests. Its range included the EcoSmart electric single decker, the EcoSaver electric bus and the EcoCoach, powered by diesel or compressed natural gas (CNG). It also produced the Olymbus diesel electric which Stagecoach operated on the Quayside service in Gateshead and Newcastle.

Councillors urge return of evening buses

Councillors in West Somerset have given their backing to a campaign by the Labour Party to bring back evening services on First’s 28 route between Minehead and Taunton. The operator announced last month that it was making cuts to evening services. The last bus from Minehead now leaves at 18.40. During a recent meeting, Watchet Labour councillor Peter Murphy said First and Somerset County Council had ‘lost sight of what running a public service actually means’ and claimed the Council could do more to ensure West Somerset was not cut off. West Somerset Labour Party Secretary, Andy Lewis, said First should respond to the concerns being voiced. He said, ‘These savage cuts impose what amounts to a curfew for many people in West Somerset.’

Reading to shuttle festival goers

For the second consecutive year, Reading Buses will be running special buses to take the town’s residents home on the final night of the Reading Festival on 25 August. Three routes will provide direct connections to south and west Reading, as well as the town centre. The council contracted ‘Night Track’ buses do not normally run on a Sunday night, but will do on this occasion. Meanwhile, the operator is to provide its customary shuttle service from Reading Station to the Festival and back. In addition, buses will run across the weekend to and from Friar Street, allowing revellers to stock up on provisions in the town centre. As last year, the flat fare on all these journeys remains £1.

Libra take sixth Excel conversion

ImageSomerset based Libra Travel has added its sixth Excel Conversions vehicle to its fleet. This latest addition is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 516Cdi extra long based minicoach, fitted with 19 leather seats, PA system, an air conditioning system, luggage racks, panoramic windows, LED rack and window lighting, lowered front bumper, skirt kit, coach rear and rear valence.

Excel Conversions of Armthorpe, Doncaster, supplied the vehicle.

Beluga 3 goes to Symphony

ImageA Mercedes-Benz 0816D based Sitcar Beluga 3 has been added to the fleet of Symphony Chauffeurs. Powered by a Euro5 engine matched to an Allison automatic transmission, it has 29 Vogel Eco seats, a large luggage area, side mounted pannier lockers, a power operated plug type door, a Sutrak air conditioning system and an entertainment package.

Moseley in the South supplied the vehicle.

42 years of service

ImageA Stagecoach North East Stockton depot employee, Alan Brown, has retired after 42 years service with the operator. Initially, Alan joined the company as a bus driver in 1971 and stayed behind the wheel for 20 years. He then became a handy man for the following duration of his time at Stagecoach, until 2009 when he decided to work as a part time labourer.

Alan said, ‘I will miss the camaraderie of the staff the most. They are all a great bunch of people and have been a part of my life for a long time. I will definitely keep in touch with all of them. When I started out at Stagecoach, I only saw it as a temporary job but it turned out to be the perfect job for me and here I am over four decades on. It has been a brilliant job over the years and I have seen the company change and grow into the business it is today. I am proud to have been a part of the team for so long. Although I will miss my time at Stagecoach North East, I am looking forward to retirement for plenty of golf games and holidays with my wife.’