First off, Gatwick and Bristol Airports are now operating the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro artic with Euro 6 engines.
The UK’s first Euro 6 articulated buses are now running, thanks to orders from two airport operators.
Right-hand drive versions of the latest 18m Citaro G model are now in operation at Gatwick and Bristol airports. Internally, they have luggage racks, along with the trademark floor-to-ceiling ‘wardrobe’ on the rear nearside interior, housing the engine bay.
A long-standing customer with an all Mercedes-Benz fleet - having placed its first order in 2007 - Bristol Airport has bought its first two Citaro Gs.
In what dealership EvoBus describes as a “landmark order,” Middlesex-based OmniServ has taken delivery of seven three-door Citaro Gs for its Gatwick operation.
Specialising in all elements of aviation travel, OmniServ runs services at Heathrow, Gatwick, London City and Southampton airports as well as bespoke mobility services and VIP luxury travel.
Seating 46 with a total capacity of 163 passengers including standees, they are being fully-wrapped in Gatwick Parking livery for car park shuttles.
For our next item of news, since Swindon Council sold Thamesdown Transport to Go-Ahead Group in February 2017, Thamesdown Transport has added contactless payments to their buses.
The introduction of contactless ‘wave pay’ technology across Britain’s’ bus operators is gathering pace.
One of the latest operators to accept contactless payments is Go Ahead-owned Thamesdown Transport, which it bought earlier in the year.
It is now accepting all contactless payment types, including apple and android - as well as wearables like apple watch.
Says Thamesdown GM Alex Chutter: “We are the first operator in Swindon to offer this facility. It is all about providing quicker and more convenient ways to pay.”
Ticketer is providing Go-Ahead with its latest ITSO ticket machines, with a fully integrated EMV reader for contactless payments.
In an industry first, the machines are being used by Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses, in the largest deployment outside of London to use technology based on the UK Cards Association’s ‘Model 2’.
The system has can offer London style ‘pay as you go’ ticketing with fares calculated – and capped – in the back office, rather than by the ticket machine.
The new system is able to help mitigate the increased transaction costs that operators face introducing contactless payments, by aggregating multiple transactions from the same customer together into a single debit to their account.
The project is the result of a partnership between Go-Ahead, Ticketer and Littlepay, a fintech start-up focusing on developing micro payment processing services.
Phil Southall, MD of Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel and Carousel Buses says: “Our research has told us that customers expect contactless to do more than just replace their existing cash ticket – they want the back office to select and pay for the best value tickets for them, based on their own personal journey patterns.”
Meanwhile, Stagecoach bus passengers across Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex can now pay for their bus travel using contactless, which is now live on all 490 Stagecoach buses across the three counties.
Contactless is also live on Stagecoach 384 Yorkshire buses across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.
Moving onto London Underground news, London Underground could be getting new industrial vacuum cleaners installed to clean out the dust, metal particles, oil and grease to make tunnels clean for staff and passengers.
From the TfL press release:
More testing is to be carried out, more cleaning, and passengers given more information.
Mayor Sadiq Khan has instigated a new review of air pollution levels on the Underground network, introducing a series of measures to minimise dust levels to make sure staff and passengers breathe the cleanest air possible.
At the same time, TfL is taking action to bring immediate improvements to air quality on the Tube, including:
- Monitoring air quality and publishing information on the TfL website
- Carrying out tests at more than a dozen Tube stations to monitor how dust levels change at different times and locations
- Cleaning around 50 stations and five tunnel sections with industrial vacuum cleaners and magnetic 'wands' this summer, which will collect metal particles and ensure tunnel walls are left clear of dust, oil and grease
The work is part of a wide-ranging review the Mayor is undertaking across planning, housing, construction, transport and river services to address London's filthy air and to protect Londoners from the impact of air pollution which can damage people's health.
The Mayor and TfL have more than doubled investment in tackling air quality, with £875 million being committed over the next five years. It includes the introduction of the £10 Toxicity-Charge (T-Charge) from October to reduce vehicle emissions, the launch of the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019 (subject to consultation), and the cleaning up of London's public transport fleets such as buses and taxis.
The Mayor said: 'Air quality is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation and I'm committed to doing everything in my power to tackle it both above and below ground. I've introduced new measures to lower emissions from cars and buses, and it is now time to focus on wider sources of pollution including the Tube, river transport and construction sites.
'Tube staff and the millions of passengers who use the Underground regularly deserve to breathe the cleanest air possible. TfL's new Underground air quality programme will help ensure dust and particles are kept to an absolute minimum. But I want to leave no stone unturned and I've also asked for an updated scientific analysis of pollution on the Tube so we can fully assess the air quality levels and take appropriate measures to ensure that the air is clean.'
For our next item of news, TfL announces step free access for Amersham, Buckhurst Hill, Cockfosters, Mill Hill East, Osterley and South Woodford Tube stations.
From the TfL press release:
TfL today announced the next six London Underground stations to be made step-free as part of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan's, £200m boost to make Tube travel more accessible over the next five years.
The next stations to benefit from step-free access will be Amersham, Buckhurst Hill, Cockfosters, Mill Hill East, Osterley and South Woodford. Together they see 15.5 million journeys each year.
Work will begin at Buckhurst Hill on the Central line this year, with work on the other stations starting next year. Step-free access is scheduled to be completed at all of these stations by 2020.
The Mayor's £200m investment, the biggest in the Tube's 153-year old history, will bring the total number of Underground stations with step-free access to all platforms to more than 100. This represents more than 40% of the network and will significantly increase the proportion from the current level of 26%.
It will substantially improve the accessibility of the Tube, making life easier for older and disabled people. It will also give a greater choice of travel options for everyone, and directly benefit parents and carers with children and buggies.
As part of the Tube accessibility programme, TfL is taking a market-led approach whereby suppliers will be asked to devise step-free solutions that can be replicated across many different stations. This will deliver better value for money, encourage greater use of new technologies, and increase competition between companies bidding for the work, while ensuring TfL delivers the best possible solutions.
TfL has already brought forward the much-needed delivery of step-free access at outer London stations at Harrow-on-the-Hill and Newbury Park, with work beginning at both stations this summer. This is in addition to major stations such as Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria becoming step-free this year.
Step-free access has also been introduced at major Tube stations such as Tower Hill and Vauxhall, and work to make Bromley-by-Bow step-free is well underway. Work is also progressing at vital interchanges including Bank and Finsbury Park.
The full opening of the Elizabeth line in 2019 will also be a huge moment for the accessibility of London's transport network, with every station being step-free. The line will provide a key new east-west link across the Capital, serving step-free stations at the heart of London, with all platforms and trains accessible and step-free.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "I'm delighted that I can today announce that we will be bringing step-free access to these stations. It's absolutely vital that we make our transport network accessible to all, and by investing more in step-free access than ever before, we're doing what we can to help people right across the Capital."
Mark Wild, London Underground's Managing Director, said: "Improving accessibility across London to enable all Londoners and visitors to the city to travel spontaneously and independently is one of our top priorities. We have made good progress but we're determined to accelerate the pace so that this vision becomes a reality for the millions of people who use our network every day. We are investing more than ever before and I'm delighted that we're now in a position to confirm the next tranche of stations to benefit from this unprecedented investment."
Gordon Deuchars, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Age UK London, said: "An accessible Tube network is vital for older people. It means they can see friends and family, have a more active social life, and make the most of everything London has to offer. Age UK London are delighted that customers who struggle to currently access Amersham, Buckhurst Hill, Cockfosters, Mill Hill East, Osterley and South Woodford stations are going to benefit from major improvements to these stations, and we look forward to TfL's continued efforts in making the whole network step-free and accessible."
Sal Lalji, Director of Communications at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: "We're delighted that TfL has announced that six more Tube stations are set to have step-free access. Journeys on the London Underground can often take longer for disabled people who have to navigate an accessible route across London. These new step-free stations will have a positive impact in making our capital city fully accessible. Young disabled people want to be able to travel easily and spontaneously across London just like everyone else, and we welcome TfL's continued commitment to making this happen. This is another step forward to full equality but there's still more to be done. Journeys are still taking five times longer for disabled people to travel the same distance as non-disabled people."
Catherine Smith, Campaigns and Outreach Officer, Transport for All, said: "This is great news for disabled and older people. With only one out of five Tube stations step-free, there aren't many accessible travel options for us on the London Underground. Step-free access at these stations will open up the Tube network to disabled people especially from outer London, helping us to travel with freedom and independence."
As well as improvements to accessibility on the Tube, TfL has the most accessible bus fleet in the world, with all 9,000 buses low-floor wheelchair accessible and fitted with ramps, which are checked daily to ensure they are working. Work has also been carried out with London's boroughs to improve bus stop accessibility with almost all bus stops now wheelchair accessible.
All 22,000 of London's taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps and TfL has begun work to enhance access at taxi ranks.
The next six stations to get funding to go step-free are: Amersham (Metropolitan line, 2.36m journeys per year), Buckhurst Hill (Central line, 2.19m journeys per year), Cockfosters (Piccadilly line, 2.04m journeys per year), Mill Hill East (Northern line, 1.34m journeys per year), Osterley (Piccadilly line, 2.32m journeys per year) and South Woodford (Central line, 5.25m journeys per year). These are in addition to Newbury Park (Central line, 5.43m journeys per year) and Harrow-on-the-Hill (Metropolitan line, 10.67m journeys per year). Works will be subject to obtaining the necessary consents from the local planning authority.
The next Tube stations to become step free are:
- 2017/18: Bank (Waterloo & City line), Bond Street, Bromley-by-Bow, Victoria (Circle and District lines)
- 2018/19: Finsbury Park, Moorgate, Paddington (Bakerloo line), Whitechapel
- 2019/20: Ealing Broadway
- 2021/22 onwards: Bank (Northern line), Elephant & Castle (Northern line), Camden Town, Holborn
Lastly, here’s a news update on the London Bus tender awards from LOTS:
LBSL intends to enter into new contracts for the following routes with the operators listed below:
36 (24h) re-awarded to Go Ahead London Central with 39 New Euro VI hybrid double deck*
172 awarded to London Central from Abellio London with 18 New Euro VI hybrid double deck
225 re-awarded to Go Ahead London Central with 6 2013 Euro V diesel single deck
343/N343 awarded to London Central from Abellio London with 22 New Euro VI hybrid double deck
* Five vehicles will be Euro V hybrids built 2011.
The above contracts will commence on the following dates:
3rd February 2018: Route 343/N343.
10th February 2018: Route 36.
17th March 2018: Routes 172 & 225.
That’s the selected news to mark off the end of the month.
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