Buses Bus firm installs air cleaning tech to protect drivers Local bus company Warrington’s Own Buses is said to have become the first bus company in the world to install air cleaning devices across its entire fleet, to protect drivers from airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Bus Open Data: A data revolution but an accessibility fail Ministers are set to complete the legal groundwork for the Bus Open Data Service, paving the way for new powers by the end of the year to ensure operators disclose data on fares, timetables and locations. Wales uses COVID cash to take back control of buses The Welsh Government has announced a further bailout for the bus industry that it says will ‘rescue’ operators but also lead to public sector funders beginning to regain control of the industry. Coach industry ‘in a fight for its future’ More than 500 coach travel operators have written to the chancellor to warn that without urgent support many of their businesses will go under as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, costing thousands of jobs. Shapps allocates £283m for local services Transport secretary Grant Shapps made a raft of announcements to boost the local transport sector and build a 'green legacy', including allocating £283m to increase bus and light rail services. Welsh bus legislation running out of time The Welsh Government has admitted its long-awaited bus legislation may fall, with the next Welsh Parliament elections due on 6 May 2021. TfL changes boarding policy as death toll mounts in the capital With the COVID-19 death toll for transport workers in London reaching 26, the majority of whom were bus drivers, Transport for London (TfL) has agreed to allow middle-door only boarding from 20 April. Councils welcome £400m funding boost for bus services The Government has pledged nearly £400m funding to help keep bus services running during the coronavirus pandemic. Bus firm restores services for key workers A bus firm in Sussex has announced extra early morning services for hospital workers dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. Bus services could collapse, councils warn Council chiefs have called on the Government to provide emergency funding to ensure bus services do not go bust during the coronavirus epidemic. Bailout for buses coming in days, Shapps says Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that a specific financial deal for the bus sector will be announced in the next few days, while the aviation sector will get bespoke loans. Scottish Govt to maintain support payments for buses The Scottish Government has pledged to maintain the annual £260m in concessionary travel reimbursement and Bus Service Operator Grants for the bus industry, regardless of the fall in passengers. CPT wants more detail on support for bus workers The trade body for bus and coach operators has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s measures to support jobs but said it is seeking clarification. Northern Ireland reduces transport levels Northern Ireland’s public transport operator, Translink, has announced details of service cuts from Monday (23 March) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Scots facing rail and bus cuts Transport operators in Scotland are planning significant cuts to services as the coronavirus outbreak affects both demand and staffing. Help us to help you, bus and coach firms say Bus and coach operators have called on the Government to provide £1bn in emergency support to keep networks functioning for people making essential journeys, such as health and emergency workers. Liverpool city region set to back bus franchising Liverpool City Region’s metro mayor has described franchising as the ‘leading option’ under plans to overhaul the region’s bus services. Rural and urban areas set for showdown on bus billions The billions the Government has pledged for bus services must be ‘open to all areas and it is distributed fairly’, the shire counties have said, as urban and rural areas could be set for a showdown over the cash. Ministers announce £5bn cycle and bus fund The Government has pledged a £5bn, five-year bus and cycling fund to support simpler fares, thousands of new buses, higher service frequencies, and 250 miles of new cycle paths. £170m boost for buses includes all-electric bus town One local authority is set to receive £50m to become Britain’s first all-electric bus town as part of a wider £170m fund to encourage more people to take the bus. Taking the Franchise Route Trapeze Group’s John Beard explores how local authorities and transport bodies can harness the franchising model spearheaded by Transport for London. TfN backtracks on pay-as-you-go The country’s only statutory sub-national transport body (STB) has had to scale back its roll-out of capped contactless fare payment after bus operators declined to sign up. Bus passengers benefit from joined-up thinking Two bus firms in High Wycombe have launched a joint ticket that allows passengers to transfer between their services. £15m Halifax station plans await funding sign-off Local authorities in West Yorkshire have published plans for a new bus station in Halifax, costing £15.4m. Birmingham Airport cuts emissions with electric bus fleet Birmingham Airport has replaced its bus fleet with fully electric buses. UTG commissions new city region bus planning tool Urban transport bosses have commissioned a new and improved model to help city regions plan the future of their bus networks. Slow progress on bus reform ‘quick wins’ A metro mayor has hosted the first meeting of a ‘bus reform task force’ – nearly a year after a report highlighted an opportunity to ‘start delivering improvements to the network as quickly as possible’. Get your kicks on route 36 Seats on buses could be redesigned to help passengers socialise, transport bosses have said, after new research revealed how passengers spend their time while travelling. CAV Scotland to host self-driving bus first Europe’s first full-sized self-driving bus will be demonstrated at a major event in Glasgow this week showcasing connected and autonomous vehicles. Migrant salary threshold 'threatens bus workforce' Bus and coach operators have warned that plans for a £30,000 salary threshold as part of a future immigration system risk a shortage of workers in the industry. £2m to improve bus access with audio and visual information Ministers have pledged more accessible buses around Great Britain under a new £2m partnership to help small operators provide audible and visible on-board information. Edinburgh looks to bring in 12-hour a day bus lanes Edinburgh City Council is to consult on a plan to extend the operation of bus lanes from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. Manchester expects 'substantial contribution' from Govt on bus franchising Sir Richard Leese has said Manchester bus franchising plans will lean heavily on the London model, as the combined authority prepares to become the first outside to capital to end deregulation. Manchester launches bus franchising consultation Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has launched a consultation on its bus franchising plans to coordinate the routes, timetables, fares and standards of the network and contract bus companies to run services. Study uncovers six factors driving bus use New research has revealed the underlying factors that best predict levels of bus use in local areas. Greater Manchester first to consult on bus franchising Greater Manchester is set to become the first city region in the UK to hold a public consultation on the introduction of a bus franchising scheme. Go-Ahead offers contactless fare capping across operators A major bus operator has rolled out daily capping on contactless fares across two of its companies in the South East. Ministers promise a national bus strategy A new Government bus strategy backed with an initial £220m will see local authorities pilot schemes to boost electric take-up and low fares, as well as more London-style franchising powers. More than 90% of Mancunians want bus reform A major poll of Mancunians has revealed an overwhelming desire for bus market reforms that mirror London's franchising model. Bristol to push for new deal on buses Bristol City Council hopes to sign bus operators up to a new partnership 'deal' involving a doubling of peak time commuter services in return for bus prioritisation and infrastructure. Councils' plea to DfT: Let us take back control of buses Council bosses have called for automatic access to franchising powers after new polling showed that two thirds of residents want councils to decide on bus services in their local area. Southeastern joins Delay Repay 15 roll-out Rail firm Southeastern has launched an improved compensation scheme under which passengers can claim for delays from 15 minutes upwards. Operators get on board call for national bus strategy Bus operators have set out a strategy to help tackle climate change and get a billion more passenger journeys by bus by 2030. Transport policies at heart of Scottish climate change plan Scotland’s first minister has set out plans for an ‘embryonic Scottish Green Deal’ including £500m for bus priority infrastructure and a target to achieve zero emissions on the country’s railways by 2035. Edinburgh may not get £20m bus dividend for tram extension The boss of Lothian buses has warned that there is no guarantee that the council-owned company will provide a £20m contribution to Edinburgh’s planned tram extension. West of England faces up to smart ticketing challenge The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has begun work on a programme to improve smart ticketing on public transport across the region but a fully integrated Oyster-style system appears to be years away. Pinch Point cash could fund sustainable transport schemes The Department for Transport has published guidance to help councils apply for a share of nearly £350m to improve local roads. Cardiff £100m bus interchange finally gets go-ahead The construction of Cardiff's long-awaited bus interchange has finally been given the go-ahead as part of a redevelopment project worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Combined authority to pilot 'Uber-style' bus service Plans to pilot a ‘demand-responsive’ bus service across Tees Valley have been approved. AI technology to warn bus drivers about blind spot cyclists A camera system that uses artificial intelligence may be able to help bus drivers avoid hitting cyclists and pedestrians in their blind spot. Burnham jumps aboard franchising bus Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has become the first in the country to recommend bus franchising, as part of a 10-year plan to create ‘an integrated, modern and accessible public transport system’. Khan told to lock in car-free lifestyles with road pricing A think tank has urged London mayor Sadiq Khan to go beyond car free days and introduce per-mile charging ‘to lock-in car-free lifestyles for good’. Bus users outline plan to reverse rural decline A group representing bus users across the UK has published a 10-point plan to reverse the decline in rural services. FirstGroup to sell bus operations FirstGroup has announced plans to sell off its bus operations in the UK and Greyhound buses in America as it seeks a restructure to keep investors happy. DfT defends lack of bus accessibility data The bus industry does not have the resources to provide full accessibility information, a transport minister has suggested. Make buses as easy for young as ordering pizza, says watchdog Bus operators should put more focus on young passengers as a dissatisfied and undervalued market, Transport Focus has said. Buses to go open data with national DfT platform The Department for Transport (DfT) has created a prototype bus open data service, tested by transport authorities and operators that could eventually provide national fare and journey times. Councils chosen to share £25m clean bus funding A £25m fund to upgrade buses with technologies that reduce harmful emissions will be shared by 14 local authorities. New rail punctuality measure 'could restore faith' Passenger groups have welcomed new rail industry statistics that will measure punctuality to the minute at every stop, rather than to five or ten minutes at the final destination. Nine in Ten bus passengers satisfied, Transport Focus says Nearly nine in 10 passengers using buses were satisfied with their last journey, according to new research by the transport watchdog. London buses kill or seriously injure four a week A transport union has demanded that mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London improve the safety of the capital’s franchised bus services after 45 people were killed and 1,017 seriously injured over five years. Promote coaches as 'savvy' airport option, watchdog says The transport watchdog has called for action to address the stigma around coach travel and persuade more air travellers to use coaches to get to the airport. TfL to trial on-demand bus services Transport for London has launched a four-week consultation on plans to trial an on-demand bus service. £48m for low emission buses as Chatty meets Hattie Transport minister Nusrat Ghani has announced £48m Government cash to nearly double the UK’s fleet of low emission buses. Comment: WiFi and public transport Benjamin Graham - communications executive for Sygnal, a leading onboard WiFi provider for the passenger transport industry - discusses the hows and whys of making sure your transport is digitally connected. Glasgow gets £1m for green buses as LEZ comes into force The Scottish Government has awarded just over £1m for low emissions buses in Glasgow as the country’s first low emission zone came into force in the city. Khan launches five ‘clean air’ zones Sadiq Khan yesterday launched five new ‘clean air’ zones for buses in a bid to clean up some of London’s worst polluted hotspots. Khan 'risks losing trust over buses lifeline' The London Assembly’s Transport Committee has raised ‘fundamental concerns’ over Transport for London’s (TfL) restructure of London bus services. Mayors out in force to boost bus services District councillors and the local metro mayor have hailed the continuation of a rural bus service after they provided £10,000 in emergency funding. Bus station first for sight-impaired passengers A new audio-enabled interactive map display to help visually-impaired passengers find their way around Norwich bus station is said to be the first in the UK to give live travel information. Bristol edges slowly towards congestion charges Bristol City Council has published a draft transport strategy that includes a mass transit scheme, as well as possible congestion and workplace parking charges. TfL reveals largest shake-up to bus routes for a generation Transport for London (TfL) has published plans for major cuts to bus services in central London, affecting 33 routes and representing the largest shake-up of the network in almost a generation. Bus firm goes ahead with 'first air filtering bus' One of the country’s largest transport operators has unveiled the UK’s first air filtering bus. Heartland STB seeks action on bus integration England’s Economic Heartland has agreed to work with local bus operators to develop a bus travel action plan for the region and now wants better links with train companies. Better bus services 'needed to tackle low-income work barrier' Researchers have called for improvements to bus services, including franchising, after new research found that unaffordable and unreliable local public transport is limiting access to jobs for people in low-income neighbourhoods. Manchester to bring in auditor for bus franchising groundwork Transport bosses in Greater Manchester have said they are ‘gearing up to take the next steps’ towards a possible bus franchising scheme but suggested progress had been hampered by legislative requirements. Cities show growing interest in ‘late bus’ signals tech Technology that alters signal phasing only when an approaching bus is late is on the rise. Smart developments in bus technology financing The head of industry finance at Siemens Financial Services in the UK says asset finance can be a driving force for the UK’s electric bus fleets Government consults on real-time bus info The Department for Transport has launched a consultation to legally require operators to share their data so passengers can get real-time information on routes, timetables and fares. Funding for buses slashed by 45%, campaigners say Local authority funding for supported buses has been halved since 2010, leaving many parts of England and Wales without public transport, campaigners have said. Belfast takes on titanic challenge of modal shift Dr Andrew Grieve, head of the Walking and Cycling Unit in the Department for Infrastructure, (DfI) Northern Ireland, tells readers how the 'must visit' city of Belfast is moving ahead with developing active and sustainable transport on a broad front. 'Save our bus services', council leaders plead Local government leaders have warned that subsidised bus routes are under threat because of funding cuts. New figures suggest 'slow death of local buses' The number of people using buses in England fell again in the last financial year in the face of real-terms fare increases and cuts to local routes. Manchester sets out on the road to bus franchising Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is sounding out bus operators about the possibility of introducing a franchising scheme. 'Take back control': Labour pledges free under 25 bus travel Labour has announced a plan to fund free bus travel for under 25 year olds across the country, where councils implement bus franchising or run publicly owned bus companies. Govt 'protects' free bus pass but LGA decries funding gap Ministers have amended the legislation behind free bus travel for disabled and older people in England so the scheme can continue ‘for the foreseeable future’. Ghani announces £48m for buses on the hard road to zero emissions Ministers have announced a new £48m cash pot to help councils and bus companies put more environmentally-friendly buses on the roads. Council discovers thousands of bus lanes fines could be invalid Manchester City Council could be forced to repay thousands of bus lanes fines after an internal review discovered some charges were issued too late to be legally valid. LGA warns over pollution and jams after new bus use fall Council leaders have warned that the continuing decline in bus use could lead to increased congestion and poorer air quality as new figures show that the number of local journeys fell across Great Britain to the lowest level for a decade. Technology and finance: A coordinated approach for bus operators Martyn Bellis, business development manager, bus and coach, Siemens Financial Services in the UK examines the latest developments in energy efficient bus technology, and the finance models available to accelerate its implementation. Ministers pledge action on wheelchair bus access A year after the landmark Paulley case, ministers have pledged to bring in 'new measures' to ensure that wheelchair users can access designated spaces on buses. TfL looks to savings and Crossrail to reverse £1bn deficit Transport for London has insisted that it remains in a sound financial position, with savings making up for falling passenger revenue, despite a forecast deficit of nearly £1bn next year. Spectacular growth sees smartcard expand beyond West Midlands The West Midlands smart travelcard has for the first time been made available to bus passengers in an area that is not a full member of the region's combined authority. CAZ guidance barely ‘scrapes surface’ of air quality crisis Official air quality guidance directs councils to focus on buses rather than the more serious sources of air pollution, campaigners have warned. Ghani announces £40m to clean up old buses Twenty English councils have been awarded £40m to retrofit older buses to meet emissions standards. CIHT releases new guidance on supporting bus use The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has released a major new guidance document that aims to place bus use at the heart of planning and urban transport. Expert raises concerns over Cardiff's £180m interchange plans A proposed £180m “Metro Central” transport interchange in Cardiff requires urgent coordination with land-use planning, according to a leading Welsh academic. Landmark pay deal secured for London bus drivers London bus drivers that start at a new company will remain on the same pay grade instead of being put on the lowest wage as if starting their careers, under a landmark deal announced by the mayor today. Grayling looks to 'Uber-style' rides as bus use hits 10-year low Transport secretary Chris Grayling has suggested that local buses could be replaced by ‘Uber-style’ rides, after bus use in England fell to its lowest level in a decade. Burnham keeps a watching brief on transport overhaul Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has again ruled out a 'Congestion Charge' but says he is keeping his options open on bus reforms. Don't take sledgehammer to community transport, MPs warn MPs have warned ministers that adopting a ‘narrow and legalistic’ approach to regulating community transport could damage the ‘diverse and unique’ sector and the social benefit it provides. Mayor mulls franchising as minister launches Bus Act plea A Conservative metro mayor has promised that a review of local bus services will fully explore franchising after a plea from ministers for councils to consider using the new powers in the Bus Services Act. 'I'm off': Council steps in after boss shuts down bus firm A council has had to step in to organise alternative transport after a local bus company ceased to operate at short notice, reportedly after its managing director told staff he could no longer work with them. Private cars could be included in Glasgow low emission zone next year Scotland’s first minister has announced that work is underway to implement the country’s first low emission zone (LEZ) – which could include private cars – in Glasgow by 2018. £540m sustainable transport funding 'met objectives' The former Coalition Government’s flagship £540m Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was successful in achieving its objectives, according to a new report. Lothian embraces electric tech with six all electric buses Lothian Buses has introduced the first full electric buses to Edinburgh’s streets at a cost of more than £2.7m. Bus use still falling across Great Britain The number of passenger journeys on buses in England fell again over the past year, with bus use in both London and the rest of the country continuing to decline. Khan's 'Hopper' fare on course to meet original pledge Sadiq Khan’s ‘Hopper’ fare has been used on more than a hundred million journeys and could soon offer the unlimited bus rides within an hour that were originally promised. Leon Daniels to step down from TfL Leon Daniels is to leave his role as Transport for London’s managing director of surface transport after delaying his retirement two years ago. Public show increasing support for speed cameras A new survey has revealed strong backing for measures to improve road safety and increasing support for both sustainable modes of travel and car use. Govt share out £11m for electric and gas buses Local authorities and bus companies across the country have won a share of £11m of Government cash to invest in electric and gas buses. New bus app for travellers with impairments An app designed to help visually or cognitively impaired people to feel more confident when travelling by bus is going under trial in six English local authority areas. 'Pressure cooker' stress contributing to London bus accidents, report says A new report suggests that high levels of stress, fatigue and distractions – including from drivers’ own control centres – may be contributing to high numbers of accidents involving London buses. Ten injured as London bus hits shop At least ten people were injured on Thursday morning when a bus crashed into a shop in London, including the driver and two passengers who had to be cut from the top deck by the fire brigade. Risk of 'catastrophic failure' on '£200m' Cambs guided busway Campaigners have warned that Cambridgeshire’s troubled guided busway may have inherent design flaws, leading to a high risk of ‘possibly catastrophic’ structural failure. Bus action plan needed urgently, Welsh AMs say Welsh Assembly members have called on the devolved administration to produce a 'bus action plan' to address how the sector is suffering through increasing traffic congestion. TfL to launch three new all-electric bus routes to cut pollution Transport for London has announced three new electric-only bus routes as part of mayor Sadiq Khan’s ambition to make all the capital’s buses zero emission by 2037. Councils want greater power over concessionary travel scheme Councils are spending £200m a year subsidising the concessionary bus fares scheme, new analysis has revealed. New Act 'offers hope' as bus passenger numbers fall again Local bus use declined by nearly 2% in the last financial year, official statistics show. Regulator set to release First Bus from decades-old pledge The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is set to release a bus operator from undertakings dating back more than a quarter of a century after finding that they no longer serve any purpose. Citymapper trials popup 'smart' bus with TfL support Transport app developer Citymapper has launched a free experimental ‘popup’ bus service with a promise to use technology to rethink how buses operate. London's red buses get a splash of colour Transport for London (TfL) has launched a trial of colour-coded buses as part of plans to make navigating the capital’s bus network ‘as easy as taking the Tube’. Bus Services Act 'to benefit cities and rural areas' Campaigners have hailed the new Bus Services Act as a great opportunity to improve services that provides real benefit to both cities and rural areas. Oxford Street buses cut by 40% with more change ahead Transport for London (TfL) is to cut bus services on Oxford Street by 40% from this summer under Sadiq Khan's long-term plan to transform the street. Mayors can ‘transform’ city regions but need more power, report says New metro mayors will have the power to transform their city regions, but there has been little policy development for this purpose, a think tank has said, while bus franchising is among five policies that should be regarded as priorities. £3m more for Scottish Green Bus Fund The Scottish Government has announced a further £3m funding towards the purchase of low carbon emission buses. Wales proposes bus stop standards The Welsh Government is proposing statutory guidance to establish quality standards for infrastructure and information at bus stops. Bus franchising on the cards for Scotland, as English services cut again Subsidised bus services in England and Wales have been cut again while the Scottish Government plans to introduce franchising to reverse a trend of declining usage. Spark your own bus renaissance, councils told The use of low emission buses is part of a ‘virtuous mix’ of policy solutions that can buck the trend of falling passenger numbers, according to a new report. Regulator reviews decades-old bus merger undertakings The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to review pledges given nearly thirty years ago when two local bus companies merged. Mind the doors - Boris Buses in new recall London mayor Sadiq Khan may have decided not to order any more of predecessor’s ‘vanity project’, but it seems Boris Buses could be causing trouble for some time yet. Wheelchair user 'kept off bus' despite Paulley Principle A wheelchair user has again been prevented from boarding a bus in Yorkshire, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, it has been reported. Exclusive: Welsh minister moots code of practice for bus stops Welsh infrastructure secretary Ken Skates has acknowledged the variable quality of the country’s bus stops and suggested that local authorities could help produce a code of practice. Birmingham pledges clear signage for new bus lane cameras Birmingham City Council is set to install bus lane enforcement cameras on three busy routes at a cost of nearly £4m. UK leading Europe in electric bus deployment The UK has the most electric buses in Europe but which country operates over 98% of the global total? TfL 'will meet pledge to phase out diesel buses from 2018' The head of Transport for London (TfL) has insisted that it will honour a pledge to order only low emission buses from 2018 but admitted that it was ‘slightly lazy’ to describe the pledge merely as an ‘aim’ in the organisation’s business plan. End of the road for the Boris bus Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it will not be ordering any more New Routemaster 'Boris Buses' after spending scores of millions on the controversial project. Council companies launch new low emission buses Two publicly-owned transport providers have announced new lower emission bus services, cutting pollution and costs. Wrexham Council embarrassed by bus contract fail Wrexham bus passengers could suffer a loss of service for the second time this year after the council awarded contracts to a company whose directors have been banned from operating buses. London ULEZ to cost £610m, City Hall says London mayor Sadiq Khan plans to spend £875m over five years improving the quality of the capital’s air, including £610m on the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and a further £200m boosting step-free access on the Tube. Airport could get rail station as part of £270m Leeds transport package Leeds City Council plans to invest £270m in transport improvements including building a new parkway rail station connecting to Leeds Bradford Airport and £180m for bus services. Councils go their separate ways on bus lanes Coventry City Council is set to suspend a number of bus lanes in a six month trial while nearby Leicester is stepping up enforcement. Clarify and justify Buses Bill restrictions, MPs say MPs have welcomed the Bus Services Bill but say they are unconvinced by the Government’s position on the availability of franchising powers, banning new municipal bus companies and supporting rural services. Welsh bus funding frozen as rail project gets cash Bus operators are dismayed that the Welsh Government will make another real-terms cut to bus funding next year while earmarking £300,000 for a controversial rural rail project study. Khan promises to tackle capital congestion 'head-on' London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced measures aimed at tackling growing congestion on London’s roads, including doubling bus priority schemes. 'Impossible' to fund concessionary fares, LGA claims Councils can no longer provide pensioners and disabled people with free off-peak bus travel local leaders have warned, effectively issuing ministers with an ultimatum ahead of the Autumn Statement. Low carbon bus switch 'could slash emissions and save millions' Buying exclusively low carbon emission buses (LCEBs) by 2020 across Great Britain could achieve emission savings equivalent to taking 92,000 cars off the road and £248.5m a year in wider social benefits, a new report says. Belfast buses speed up as bus lanes grow Bus speeds on key routes in Belfast rose by nearly a third in a year, with increases across all routes. New calls to lift Buses Bill ownership restrictions The 30th anniversary of bus deregulation has seen further calls for the Bus Services Bill to be amended so that it does not prevent transport authorities setting up new bus companies. Buses could give England 50,000 jobs boost A new report into the wider benefits of the bus market claims that a 10% improvement in services could lead to around 50,000 more people in work in England, with 10,000 more jobs in the country’s poorest neighbourhoods. Government defeated on Buses Bill, as franchising powers widened Councils across England are in line for bus franchising powers without the need to ask for the secretary of state’s approval, after an amendment was passed in the House of Lords last night to the Bus Services Bill. Stagecoach to roll out contactless ticketing UK-wide Stagecoach has launched a £12m scheme to deliver contactless payment to all of its regional bus services across the UK by the end of 2018. Labour calls for long-term plan on buses Labour has called for a 'long-term strategy' for bus funding to halt the decline in bus use, after mileage on council-subsidised bus services outside London fell by 12.3%. Update: DfT outlines steps for enacting bus franchising The Government has outlined two separate processes that must be employed before non mayoral combined authorities can get franchising powers under the Bus Services Bill. Khan launches further consultation on air quality plans London mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a second consultation on plans to tackle toxic air pollution, including implementing the Central London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) a year ahead of schedule and a ‘T charge’ for older polluting vehicles. Edinburgh 'bleeding buses to pay for trams' Councillors in Lothian have expressed concerns about the potential impact of Edinburgh Council’s request for a dividend of £20m from the publicly-owned Lothian Buses. Fife Council calls for national re-regulation of the bus industry Fife Council is set to write to transport minister Humza Yousaf calling for legislation ‘to re-regulate the bus industry’ in order ‘to reverse the decline of bus services in Fife and across Scotland’. Khan gives green light to three new Thames river crossings London mayor Sadiq Khan has backed plans for a new road tunnel at Silvertown, East London, including a user charge that he once said could be seen as ‘a tax on East and South East Londoners’. Scottish buses go green while Lothian staff go pink Three Scottish bus operators will use £2m funding from the Scottish Government to bring in 46 new low emission buses. GHA Coaches directors disqualified indefinitely The two directors of GHA coaches, the Welsh bus company that went out of business in July, have been disqualified indefinitely from holding a public service vehicle operator's licence. Denbighshire considers operating buses itself In the midst of difficult times for the Welsh bus sector, Denbighshire County Council is exploring whether setting up its own bus operation would help overcome difficulties caused by GHA Coaches’ demise. Cities to deliver new sustainable transport schemes Work will begin next week on a new ‘Eco Expressway’ in Nottingham, giving priority to buses, bikes and ultra low emission vehicles. Espionage on...the Edinburgh transport network Transport providers in Edinburgh have had to tighten internal security protocols after a spying scandal that has highlighted tensions between the city's bus and tram services. Congestion knock-on 'could destroy bus sector' Buses are under threat as the ‘disease’ of growing congestion sees journey times rise and passengers seek alternative modes of transport, campaigners have claimed. Focus on the city regions, city regions say Transport bosses from the country’s biggest city regions have set out a route map for what an effective relationship with Government should look like, including prompt enactment of the Bus Services Bill, more stable funding and tougher action on toxic air. Welsh Govt takes action on troubled bus network Campaigners and bus operators have welcomed the Welsh Government’s five-point plan to support the country’s bus industry after a summer that saw three companies go out of business. Powys defends publicity for bus upgrade Powys CC has been forced to defend its publicity for a major upgrade to Swansea-Brecon buses, which have joined the TrawsCymru network of long-distances routes, after it was launched with little local knowledge. New electric bus claims 350 mile range A US manufacturer has unveiled an electric bus that it says can drive up to 350 miles on a single charge. London bus use down again Campaigners have called for councils across the country to be given London-style bus powers, despite new figures showing bus use in London falling twice as fast as the rest of England. Buses Bill must protect rural transport, campaigners say Campaigners have called on ministers to use the Bus Services Bill to improve public transport in rural areas, including reversing bus funding cuts. Caerphilly pares budgets but doubles Sunday bus frequency Sunday bus services on key routes in Caerphilly have become hourly, thanks to passenger growth since a revamp in 2011. '100% French' driverless bus service launches Two French companies have launched what they say is the world’s first driverless public transport bus service in a suburb of Lyon. Go-Ahead Group announces £100m profit despite Southern failings The Go-Ahead group, which co-owns the troubled GTR rail franchise and beleagured Southern Railway, has announced statutory pre-tax profits of nearly £100m, a day after ministers announced a £20m fund to bail out Southern. Bristol Metrobus in negotiations with operators Councils in the West of England devolution partnership have a ‘range of back up plans’ to support the £200m Metrobus scheme should there be difficulties securing operators for the network. Construction to begin on new £29m Lincoln bus station Work on a new £29m bus station for Lincoln, together with a 1,000 space car park with up to 32 electric vehicle charging points, is due to begin in weeks following investment from the Department for Transport (DfT). Scottish Labour launches campaign to regulate bus market Scottish Labour has pledged to try and bring back regulation to the Scottish bus market, to tackle declining passenger numbers, rising fares and company cut backs. Cambridge guided busway beset by string of incidents An accident on the Cambridge guided busway was caused by a driver not 'following procedure', Stagecoach has said. London to implement 'low emission bus zones' London is set to implement the first of a series of low emission bus zones, which will put the greenest buses on the worst polluted routes. Manchester's Oxford Road to get cycle-friendly makeover A major phase in the transformation of Manchester’s Oxford Road begins next week, with plans for new bus lanes and stops along with segregated cycle lanes and ‘Dutch-style’ bike bypasses to separate cyclists from buses. Government announces winners from £30m green bus pot The Government has revealed the 13 local bidders that will receive a share of a £30m cash pot to buy low emission buses and install chargepoints and other infrastructure. Leeds Bus strike called off after talks progress Leeds bus workers have suspended their all-out strike, which was due to start on Tuesday (26 July), after employer First West Yorkshire made ‘a new improved’ pay offer. Leeds set for indefinite 'all-out' bus strike A thousand bus workers in Leeds will strike continuously from next Tuesday (26 July) over a long running pay dispute, which has since escalated, with bosses at First West Yorkshire. Welsh Govt: No extra cash for struggling bus sector The Welsh Government has disappointed bus managers by refusing to commit to increased bus funding following the demise of two major operators this summer. West Yorkshire CA consults on transport and bus strategies West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has launched a three-month consultation on its plans for the region’s transport systems. Wales' biggest independent bus operator goes bust Wales’ biggest independent bus operator – with depots and contracts both sides of the border – has gone into administration, causing many local authorities to seek emergency operators of schools and public services. Urban Transport Group warns against new franchising hurdles Transport bosses have rejected calls from the competition watchdog for ‘additional hurdles’ to be introduced for franchising proposals under the Bus Services Bill. Wolverhampton plans bus partnership using existing laws Wolverhampton Council is set to develop a Statutory Quality Bus Partnership (SQBP) for the city centre, using existing legislation. Belfast Rapid Transit bucks bus decline trend The first stages of investment in the £90m Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme have delivered early results, with the city’s bus services carrying 85,000 more passengers in 2015-16. TfGM proposes to use mayor's 'devolution toolkit' to boost transport Bus franchising, better orbital links and ‘the next generation of rapid transport links’, including tram-train, are some of the highlights of Greater Manchester's 25-year transport plan. Bus wheelchair space row goes to Supreme Court A long-running legal battle over whether bus companies must require people to give up disabled spaces to wheelchair users has moved to the Supreme Court. Five-day Dorset bus strike begins Bus drivers in Weymouth and Bridport in Dorset have begun a five day strike, with their union claiming they are treated as ‘poor relations’ by employer First Group. Top 5: Transport TV shows Sometimes roads, railways and vehicles can be the stars of small screen programmes as much as the people in them. Today we’re celebrating our Top 5 transport TV programmes. West Midlands authority seeks road, air quality and bus powers The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is seeking new powers to enable it to operate a ‘Key Route Network’ for the region, including powers to enforce moving traffic violations and create Clean Air Zones (CAZ). More action needed to reverse bus use decline, campaigners say Campaigners have called for action beyond the Bus Services Bill to reverse declining use after estimated journeys in England fell again, while price rises once more outstripped inflation. Suffolk launches controversial re-modelled community transport Suffolk County Council has launched its controversial new rural community transport model, against a background of funding cuts. Buses bill will end 'excessive' profits, senior Cllr claims Bus operators will no longer make ‘excessive’ profits under franchising arrangements brought in through the Bus Services Bill, a senior local politician has claimed. West Midlands transport body seeks biggest bang for (£4bn) buck Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) said it will drive forward more than £4bn of transport infrastructure over the coming decade, including more tram extensions, new suburban rail lines, cycle routes and better motorways. Bus operators warn of impact of reform agenda Bus operators have expressed concern that councils do not have the financial resources or political commitment to deliver their part in the Government’s reforms. Labour hits out at Buses Bill clause on bus companies Labour’s shadow transport secretary has criticised as ‘ideological and divisive’ the Bus Services Bill's ban on councils setting up new bus companies. Council directors and leaders raise alarm over Buses Bill Council chiefs and directors have warned that the Bus Services Bill could disadvantage rural areas and even leave their bus services ‘less sustainable than before’. Oxfordshire launches transport pilot as bus subsidy cuts bite At least two fifths of supported bus routes in Oxfordshire will end after the county council removes subsidies next month. Watchdog backs on demand transport to plug service gaps Demand responsive transport (DRT) can help plug gaps in bus services caused by cuts, but may not offer a good alternative for younger people, according to Transport Focus. Councils win over £20m sustainable transport funding Local authorities across the country have been awarded nearly £21m of revenue funding to support cycling, walking and public transport schemes. School and college transport cuts 'add 100 million car journeys' Campaigners have called for more to be done to protect school and college transport after a report claimed cuts have generated up to 100 million extra car journeys every year. Adonis to chair Crossrail 2, while Khan makes Shawcross transport chief Ministers and London mayor Sadiq Khan have nominated Lord Andrew Adonis to be the chair of Crossrail 2, while Val Shawcross has been nominated as the capital’s deputy mayor for transport. Bus Services Bill to 'cut congestion and end frustration' Ministers have published the Bus Services Bill, which will introduce new partnership and franchising powers and provide ‘a step change’ in the information available to passengers. Council leaders call for bus franchising option for all Council leaders have welcomed plans to extend bus franchising powers to authorities outside London but criticised ministers for restricting these powers to combined authorities with elected mayors. Buses not driverless cars are the big news from the Queen's Speech While plans for autonomous cars are catching the headlines, it is the Buses Bill which has the most immediate potential to improve day-to-day transport. Labour re-iterates support for wider bus franchising as Bill detail emerges Labour’s shadow transport secretary has re-iterated her determination to secure bus franchising powers for ‘any area that wants them’, following a limited concession from the Government on the Bus Services Bill. TfL rolls out Android Pay on Tube, buses, trams and trains Passengers in London can now use Android Pay on their mobile phones to travel on the Tube, buses, trams and most National Rail services. Khan proposes major transport measures to tackle air pollution in capital New London mayor Sadiq Khan has put forward a package of transport measures to tackle toxic air pollution, including extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and charging the most polluting vehicles more to enter the city centre. Khan announces one-hour 'Hopper' bus fare - but not as promised New London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the partial introduction of his proposed one-hour ‘Hopper’ fare, allowing bus passengers a free second journey within one hour of the first. Surface access costs for new Heathrow could be £18bn, TfL says The Government-commissioned report that recommended a new runway at Heathrow significantly underestimated the costs of improving surface transport access, which could exceed £18bn, according to Transport for London (TfL). MP lambasts McLoughlin over 'gradual erosion' of transport A Labour MP has written to transport secretary Patrick McLouglin about a ‘gradual erosion of Bolton’s public transport’ after night bus services to Manchester city centre were withdrawn. MPs ask NAO to consider flexible ticketing probe A probe into the beleaguered South East Flexible Ticketing programme has moved a step closer after the National Audit Office said it would meet campaigners to discuss their concerns about the £80m scheme. Half of Londoners back diesel ban Over half of Londoners want diesel vehicles banned from central London in order to tackle air pollution, according to a survey carried out for environmental activists ClientEarth. Green Party mayoral candidate launches 'revolutionary' solar bus shelter Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate for London Mayor, has helped launch what is said to be the UK’s first transparent solar bus shelter. TfGM launches 'first guided busway in North West' Transport for Greater Manchester will launch what it says is the North West’s first guided busway at the weekend. Police praise London bus CCTV as 'major' tool against crime CCTV standards on London buses are now so good that the Met Police sees the system as a 'major tool' in its fight against crime. Johnson orders more 'Boris buses' London Mayor Boris Johnson has confirmed an order for another 195 New Routemaster buses at a cost of £62 million. Counties reverse cuts after finance settlement boost Financial sweeteners focused on county councils have prompted some authorities to reverse planned cuts to transport spending. Lincolnshire scraps bus and gritting cuts Lincolnshire County Council has scrapped plans to cut bus funding and reduce winter gritting services, after receiving extra funding from the Government. Labour will seek to widen Buses Bill powers Labour will seek to amend the planned Buses Bill if it restricts franchising powers to areas with devolution agreements, Transport Network has learned. Buses on right route to safety in London Figures published by Transport for London (TfL) show a drop in the number of people killed and seriously injured in bus-related incidents in the capital. Buses Bill will give franchising powers, minister confirms The forthcoming Buses Bill will give councils outside London ‘more freedom to run their own bus services’, including franchising, transport minister Andrew Jones has announced. 'Beeching for Buses': 11 councils to axe £27m Research claims subsidised bus services in 11 councils face funding cuts of up to £27m over the next two years. London launches 'world leading' bus safety programme London mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) have launched a ‘world-leading programme’ to improve safety across the capital’s bus network. Scottish minister delivers ultimatum to bus operators Scottish transport minister, Derek MacKay MSP has threatened legislative action against bus operators who he says are 'dragging their feet' on introducing universal smartcard-based fare payment. Welsh bus strategy board scrapped The Welsh Government has admitted it effectively scrapped a bus strategy board, which it was advised to strengthen. Scottish strategy set for revamp after numbers fall The Scottish Government has published a ‘refresh’ of its National Transport Strategy, (NTS) in advance of a potential overhaul, which reveals a 6% fall in overall public transport use since 2006. London gives buses priority in scores of schemes Partnerships between Transport for London (TfL) and local boroughs delivered around 50 bus priority schemes across London last year. Report calls for re-regulation of bus services Bus services could be rescued from budget cuts by re-regulating Britain’s network to stamp out ‘excess profits’, a report has argued. New funding system proposed for Welsh bus operators The Welsh Government plans to roll-out a new funding and standards system for bus operators, warning companies that it could result in 'the withdrawal of journeys or routes'. Contactless payment for all British buses by 2022 Minister announces major milestones on smart ticketing progress, as the bus and rail sectors move closer to a national payment system. Bristol opens up transport data with new online tool Bristol City Council has launched a new open data web tool that will provide free access to a wealth of transport information, including real-time feeds from buses and car parks. Better incident reporting for London buses London’s bus operators will this month become the first in the UK to subscribe to an independent confidential incident reporting system, originally set up for rail industry, in a bid to improve transport safety. Local winners of green bus funding announced Eighteen local authorities across England have been awarded close to £7m from the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund to help retrofit hundreds of vehicles and cut harmful emissions. Is the Tyne and Wear QCS Board’s opinion a catalyst for change? Lawyer Richard Collins of Bond Dickinson LLP gives us a briefing on the recent and highly controversial verdict from the Tyne and Wear Quality Contract Scheme Board, and what it might mean for the future of the sector. Buses Bill to help councils sidestep legal challenges The Buses Bill will include guidance on how to protect franchising schemes against objections from bus operators, a leading transport campaigner has claimed. Regional bus alliance to inject £150m into network A groundbreaking bus partnership between a score of major operators in the West Midlands and their public sector partners aims to pump £150m into the regional network by 2021. LGA: Councils could lose expertise for bus franchising Local authorities may have lost their specialist public transport officers by the time the Buses Bill gives them new options such as franchising, the LGA has warned. Bus networks need more legal protection, councils say A bus equivalent to the Active Travel (Wales) Act would compel local authorities to safeguard and improve services, Welsh Assembly Members will be told on Thursday. Exclusive: Transport minister Andrew Jones - Q and A We caught up with transport minister Andrew Jones at the recent ADEPT annual conference in Manchester for a quick chat about buses, highways and decisions he is glad he does not have to make. Scores of millions cut from local bus services Scores of millions have been cut from local authority bus funding in recent years threatening entire networks, new research has revealed. County targets 45-minute maximum for bus commutes A maximum 45-minute bus ride to work from anywhere within the county is the target for Gloucestershire County Council's Integrated Transport Unit. Merseyside secures £900m in devo deal Merseyside leaders have signed a devolution deal with government worth some £900m over 30 years that will see a directly elected mayor take power in 2017. Minister outlines plans to council directors Transport minister Andrew Jones talked to ADEPT directors about his plans for buses, highways, lobbying for cash and Stonehenge. Bus stations should be 'national assets' Bus stations in Wales should be managed as ‘national assets’ by the Welsh Government, a watchdog has said. DfT and DCLG agree to 30% spending cuts Four government departments including the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have provisionally agreed to cut spending by up to 30% over the next four years. Local services will be ‘severely compromised’, ADEPT warns Council directors’ body ADEPT has warned local services will be ‘severely compromised’ as a result of the latest round of heavy government cuts. Cornwall shrugs off bus operator compensation fears The thorny issue of compensating private operators if councils introduce bus franchising may not be an obstacle for rural areas, according to an officer from Cornwall CC. Bus regulation would create 'chaos' transport minister claims Transport minister Derek Mackay has claimed that wholesale re-regulation of the bus market would 'create a degree of chaos', adding that Scottish councils 'don't have the capacity' to take on franchising powers. Labour MSP calls for regulated bus services The Scottish Government is facing calls for bus services to be re-regulated to provide councils with powers to help tackle the withdrawal of services. Bus devolution hangs in the balance after North East ruling Devolution deals across the country calling for bus franchising powers to be handed over to local authorities are hanging in the balance this morning following a ruling in the North East. North East Combined Authority seals £900m devolution deal The North East Combined Authority has signed a devolution deal with government that will see major transport powers and £900m handed over in return for a directly elected mayor. £3m tranche of Scottish Bus Fund open The latest round of the Scottish Bus Fund has been announced with £3m available for bus operators to bring low carbon vehicles into their fleets. Bus journeys plummet by 27 million as councils slash support Bus services in England suffered a massive drop in numbers in the year ending March 2015, with 27 million fewer journeys, largely due to continuing reductions in council supported services. Stagecoach chief steps in over devolution ‘disaster’ The head of the UK’s biggest bus company has slammed government action to devolve running of services to councils, warning the UK is ‘sleepwalking into disaster’. Bus infrastructure riding high in latest benefit cost study Every pound spent on local bus infrastructure can generate up to £7 of benefits for local businesses, communities and the environment, new research shows. Campaign launched to put buses in the fast lane More bus lanes and bus priority measures are needed to cut growing urban congestion, an alliance of major transport groups has warned. Swansea to scrap bendy buses Swansea’s eye-catching articulated buses are to be replaced with ordinary single deckers in the next two to three weeks, enabling the city council to modify a controversial road layout. Cambridgeshire considers purchasing minibus fleet to save cash Cambridgeshire CC is considering purchasing a fleet of minibuses to deliver school transport for children with special needs. Councils set to expand use of sweeping powers to police transport areas Caerphilly could follow in the footsteps of Hillingdon and use sweeping new behaviour orders to police council and public transport areas. Routemaster failings mean London bus procurement needs ‘complete rethink’ London’s hybrid Routemaster buses have been accused of serious environmental and safety failings, prompting calls for a ‘complete rethink’ of future purchases. Cornwall first county to gain new powers including bus franchising Cornwall is the first county to gain ‘historic’ new powers under the Government’s devolution agenda, with control of bus services, adult skills and regional investment handed to the unitary council. Councils issue bus lane fines worth £30m last year Councils stung motorists with at least £30m in fines last year for bus lane infringements alone, according to new figures. Q and A: North East Quality Contract Scheme hearings begin Traffic commissioner hearings on a potential Tyne and Wear Quality Contracts Scheme got underway today at the Kingston Park rugby ground in Newcastle, and will be wrapped up next week at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. Major transport group calls for law change over smart ticketing A leading passenger transport group has called on the Government to change the law to make it easier to introduce the franchising of bus networks to support smart ticketing. City regions set out ‘route map’ for transport policy Policies to devolve transport powers and build links to the North must go ‘further and faster’ if cities are to support growth, a report has claimed. FirstGroup profits on the rise thanks to bus sector Leading transport operator FirstGroup has announced a 13% rise in profits, buoyed by improvements in its US and UK bus services. Cardiff plans bus cuts despite expecting £500k income from fines Cardiff council plans a major reduction in bus subsidy despite having a new ring-fenced income stream for transport. Anger as Kent set for bus pass price hike Kent CC has found itself in hot water after revealing it is set to increase the cost of bus passes for secondary school students by £50 this year, to £250. Queen's Speech: Devolution Bill heralds new dawn for city transport The Government’s Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill was unveiled at the Queen’s Speech, allowing cities with elected metro mayors to take control of major powers including transport and planning controls. Five London boroughs launch micro devolution bid A group of key South London borough councils have launched a bid for more devolution in their area, with a focus on greater transport powers. Update: 'Disgusting' bus advert pulled after outrage A bus company in Wales has been forced to drop a ‘disgusting’ advertising message showing a topless woman holding a sign saying: "Ride me all day for £3". New threat to Cardiff's municipal bus operator An intensive new bus route will be launched on 11 May in competition with council-owned Cardiff Bus, which was previously reprimanded for ‘predatory’ behaviour against a rival. South Yorkshire alliance announces bus improvement plans South Yorkshire transport bosses, local authorities, bus operators and highway agencies are working together on a five-year plan to hit tough targets on bus reliability in the region. Computer glitch could have caused ‘terrifying’ bus crash, judge rules Concerns have been raised about the safety of new London Routemaster buses, after a judge ruled a computer glitch could have been to blame for a serious crash. Edinburgh launches 'UK's first travel app for visually impaired' New features on the Transport for Edinburgh mobile app will help blind and visually impaired bus and tram passengers navigate more independently around the Scottish capital. Swansea agrees to change road layout after coroner's criticism Swansea CC has agreed to modify one of its roads after a spate of incidents including two fatalities prompted criticism from a coroner. Glasgow drops out of Euro electric bus trials Glasgow has withdrawn from the EU’s €22.5 million Zero Emission Urban bus System (ZeEUS) initiative to boost ‘green’ electric buses. Nottingham leads the way on electric buses Nottingham City Council has claimed it will be home to the UK’s first all-electric Park and Ride bus service, after funding from the local Workplace Parking Levy helped purchase 13 new vehicles. New 'intelligent camera' trial to be launched on London buses Bus passengers in London this year will take part in a trial of new intelligent camera technology that scans them when they sit down so those boarding can tell how many seats are free upstairs. Bus markets are ready for change The bus market underwent a revolution after the 1985 Transport Act. However many feel it was a failure. Now another wave of change is on the horizon. South wins big in £25m community transport fund Over 300 community groups across England have been awarded new minibuses under a £25m government fund. Winners of £7.6m Total Transport Pilot Fund Some 37 councils have been awarded £7.6m of government funding to deliver integrated transport in rural and isolated areas. Teen wins government competition to help disabled bus passengers A 17-year old from Nottingham has won a government competition challenging students to improve travel for disabled bus passengers. Aberdeen left blushing after hydrogen hiccups Problems have arisen at the UK’s first integrated hydrogen generation and bus refuelling station, after two of the buses broke down in the first week of operations in Aberdeen. National bus survey claims almost 90% satisfaction rate Bus operators celebrated a major new poll today suggesting passenger satisfaction with services in England and Scotland is at an all time high. Shortlist for £35m ULEV cities fund announced The Government has announced a shortlist of 12 regions in line for a share of £35m of funding to increase green transport and infrastructure, as well as a £30m green fund for local bus fleets. UK's first hydrogen generation and bus refuelling station launched The UK’s first integrated hydrogen generation and bus refuelling station opened today in Aberdeen. North East bus franchising plans delayed Landmark hearings to be held by the Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) Board in the North East have been delayed till the summer. Stagecoach to invest £80m in new buses Stagecoach has announced plans to invest £80m in a fleet of some 470 new buses, all of which come with CCTV and some with wi-fi, giving passengers free internet use. Report calls for commuter railways to be converted into busways Is the politicisation of the transport sector preventing us from finding a much needed commuter capacity solution? New waiting period for bus registration welcomed Local transport authorities will be given an extra 14-day pre-notification period when operators are registering for new or varied local bus services, under plans being taken forward by the Department for Transport. Councils raise concerns over DfT bus market review A combined authority has raised concerns over a government review into the bus market, stating the manner in which it has been launched is in ‘total contrast’ to ministers’ stated aims of devolution. McLoughlin: Bus networks could get boost from across Whitehall Secretary of state for transport, Patrick McLoughlin, has pledged to work with other government departments to integrate bus service provision. Union's aim of single pay framework for London buses 'could violate competition law' London’s 18 bus operators are taking advice from the Competition and Markets Authority on the legality of strikes aimed at enforcing single collective bargaining on drivers’ wages. South Tyneside to benefit from first multi-operator smart ticket Bus passengers in the North East will be the first to use a new multi-operator smart ticketing scheme. Further London bus strikes postponed Planned bus strikes on London’s network planned for tomorrow and Monday have been postponed by Unite, as it sought to bring the capital’s 18 operators to the negotiating table. Cardiff opens bus lanes to more vehicles in six-month trial A Welsh local authority is poised to open bus lanes to motorbikes and private hire vehicles under a six-month trial that could slash congestion. Smart ticketing to deliver £35m benefits in south west A four-year smart ticketing roll-out across the South West England bus network is on course to deliver economic benefits worth £35.5m by the end of 2015, according to an impact study from Plymouth University. Public transport ‘pivotal’ for jobseekers, study finds Bus services have been labelled ‘pivotal’ to local employment by a study raising further calls for stronger local powers to support ‘lifeline’ routes. EXCLUSIVE: ADEPT round-table on the transport and health agenda This month ADEPT’s transport board together with senior figures from associated areas of central and local government debated the links between public health and transport and how directors could become more involved in this cross-cutting agenda. Labour vows local bus service shake-up through not-for-profit operators Local bus services could be handed to not-for-profit organisations or community groups, under Labour plans to confront the country’s biggest private operators. Council chiefs in bus fare row with operator Council chiefs and transport bosses have locked horns with one of the country’s major bus operators in a row about rising fares. Rapid transit a 'priority' for Midlands, as transport chiefs review options Transport chiefs in the Midlands have proposed a review of tram, light rail and bus rapid transit options to connect key towns and cities, stating this is a priority for the region. Lothian Buses to lose all four directors after months of crisis The publicly owned Lothian Buses, the largest bus company in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, has revealed all four of its executive directors will leave over the next two years. East London house prices set for 50% boost due to 'Crossrail effect' Homeowners in Whitechapel, East London, could see their house price rise by more than 50% in the next five years as a result of the ‘Crossrail effect’ a new study claims. Council's revised bus plan boosts numbers despite cuts Can you increase passenger numbers on tendered services while cutting funding? Caerphilly did just that. Brighton launches low emissions zone Brighton and Hove City Council launched its first low emissions zone (LEZ) this week, after partnership working with local bus companies. Bristol buses secure rapid expansion with £27m grant Bristol’s rapid bus network is set to more than double after the Department for Transport confirmed a further £27m grant today to help expand the MetroBus scheme in the south of the city. Bristol wins £1m for 'geo fenced' hybrid buses Bristol is set to invest in new hybrid buses that can switch from diesel to electric automatically in low emissions zones after securing a £1m grant from Government. Half of councils cutting bus funding, research suggests Half of councils in England and Wales are reducing funding for bus services this year in response to ongoing budget cuts, research suggests. TfL offers advice to passengers over the bus strike A planned bus strike across London is set to go ahead tomorrow with services affected from around 4am on Tuesday 13 January through to night buses early Wednesday morning. Midlands authorities celebrate bus lane partnership Leicester and Nottingham city councils have celebrated a partnership arrangement over bus lane enforcement, which has delivered savings and paved the way for further potential cooperation across the sector. Cuts to bus journeys leaving communities ‘stranded’, claims Labour Over 30 million miles of bus journeys have disappeared under local authority funding cuts, leaving rural communities ‘stranded’ – analysis by Labour suggests. Durham buys £500k bus station Durham CC has reversed the trend of cuts and sell-offs in local government with the purchase of Peterlee bus station, completing the local authority’s ownership of all of the bus stations in county Durham. Landmark disabled access judgement won by First Bus Wheelchair users may occasionally be prevented from using public transport after a ruling today means bus companies are not required by law to force parents with buggies to make way in designated bays. Bus operator fraud case leaves council at a loss A bus operator’s liquidation this year in the wake of a police investigation, which has led to three people being charged with fraud, has exacerbated the local authority’s transport overspend with service cuts now planned. UK's first 'poo bus' hits the road The UK’s first ever bus powered entirely by human and food waste started commercial services this week, with the Bio-Bus taking passengers from Bristol Airport to the historic city of Bath. Operators at odds over smart ticketing discount Top bus operators have sent out mixed messages on their recently announced multi-operator smartcard plans with some suggesting the scheme will initially be delivered without discounts over paper tickets. Exclusive: Welsh Govt 'inertia' shelves smartcard plans The Welsh Government has been accused of 'inertia' over a smartcard ticketing scheme that is running more than a year late and now appears to have been abandoned, Transport Network can reveal. Joint-working issues hold back smart ticketing in Wales Leading bus operators have told Transport Network their multi-operator smart ticketing plans will not extend to Wales, citing cross-border governmental difficulties and a lack of combined authority structures. Exclusive: Bus operator expects to make 'fuel free' commitment to UK in 2017 Fuel-free buses could be hitting the UK within three years under plans from a global transport operator - Transport-Network can exclusively reveal. First Group brings landmark court case over disabled access A decision is expected in the next two weeks on whether wheelchair users should be given ultimate priority access to disabled bays over other users such as parents with buggies. Welsh Government set to tender bus services The Welsh Government will be ready to procure bus services itself next year, instead of relying on local authorities to deliver its vision of a TrawsCymru-branded long-distance network. Smart ticketing roll out for city regions announced Millions more bus passengers will benefit from multi-operator smart ticketing across England’s largest city regions from next year, under joint plans announced by the nation’s biggest bus operators today. Bus franchising 'revolution' rolls into Yorkshire The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has revealed work is underway to introduce ‘London-style’ urban bus services to the region. Councillor 'brokenhearted' after Liverpool axes bus lanes Liverpool City Council has approved plans to cut the number of bus lanes in the city from 26 to just four, in a move that could cost around £750,000 a year in lost revenue. Ministers launch audio-visual bus technology challenge Transport minister Baroness Kramer has launched a competition to help find new ways to make bus travel easier for the visually and hearing impaired. North East on the brink of 'revolution' with Quality Contract Scheme The North East is on the brink of a transport ‘revolution’ that could give the region a £272m economic boost over the next decade unions have claimed, after the North East Combined Authority (Neca) agreed to pursue a bus Quality Contract Scheme (QCS). 'No winners' in e-auctions for school transport Traffic commissioner for Wales and the West Midlands, Nick Jones, has acknowledged local authorities’ use of e-auctions for school transport could impact the quality of service provided. Liverpool set to axe 22 bus lanes Liverpool City Council is set to cut the number of bus lanes in the city from 26 to just four following a year-long trial that removed all enforcement from the lanes in the city. Smart ticketing roll out to help Scots schoolchildren Transport Scotland has unveiled a new smart ticketing scheme for primary and secondary school pupils throughout Scotland to travel to school by bus. Staffordshire vows to learn from others' mistakes on bus lane enforcement Staffordshire CC has vowed the authority has learned from the mistakes of other councils when it comes to bus lane enforcement, as the area gears up for the launch of new roads and access points to the flagship i54 business park. Cambridgeshire to pursue Bam Nuttall over £31m of defects on guided busway Cambridgeshire CC has voted to pursue contractor BAM Nuttall over £31m of ‘defects’ on the local guided busway stating the firm must be ‘held to account’. Slough launches A4 bus rapid transit scheme consultation Slough's rapid transit scheme consultation launched - with benefit cost ratios up to three times greater than HS2's. Key cities join calls for bus devolution A group of 23 mid-sized cities has outlined a shopping list of devolution plans including calls for extra powers to regulate buses in the same way Transport for London does. London bus strike advice issued to passengers Londoners have been urged to travel by foot or bike during a bus strike taking place at the beginning of next week. £400,000 prize for firm trying to power buses with coffee Waste coffee grounds could soon power vehicles across the UK after a London-based firm that makes biofuels from the leftovers won a £400,000 prize to help its expansion. Bristol’s new rapid bus network nets £34m of Government cash Construction of Bristol's new rapid bus network has received the green light after receiving £34m of Government funding. Salford faces judicial review over disabled transport cuts Manchester High Court has decided in favour of a judicial review of Salford City Council’s decision to cut subsidised transport for hundreds of adults with disabilities. Bus fares soar due to 'lack of local powers' Millions of bus passengers outside London are getting overcharged as local authorities do not have the necessary powers to control fares, a leading economic think tank has warned. TfL trials new bus technology to tackle emissions London is embarking on its first trial of new hybrid bus charging technology that enables specially designed buses to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at stands. Exclusive: Greater Manchester in talks over major bus reforms Greater Manchester is currently in talks with the Government to enact wide-reaching reforms to regional bus services, Transport Network can reveal. Cambridgeshire spends £300k investigating 'faults' on guided busway Cambridge CC’s battles with BAM Nuttall may not be over, after the local authority spent more than £300,000 investigating outstanding faults on its guided busway track. Reading upgrades real-time bus info to help disabled Reading BC’s announces upgraded and expanded bus real-time passenger information (RTPI) system, designed to give extra support to passengers with disabilities. Birmingham set for bus-based rapid transit system by 2016 Midlands set for its first bus-based rapid transit system, which could be up and running by 2016. Bus is ‘biggest bargain’ available to Whitehall, report claims Buses are ‘key’ to achieving policy goals in half of Government departments yet have lost £500m in funding since 2010, a report suggests. Major transport bodies unite in support of bus lanes Influential local transport groups have united to support local bus services with a new brochure setting out the case to local politicians and decision makers for bus priority schemes. Scotland's Bus Investment Fund open for £3m second bidding round Transport minister Keith Brown has announced a second £3m bidding round for the Bus Investment Fund, with transport authorities across Scotland able to apply for up to £500,000 over two years. Welsh Govt averts bus operator legal challenge with sweeteners The Welsh Government has averted a legal challenge to its concessionary travel scheme by agreeing more favourable terms for bus operators, Transport Network understands. Regulatory system for bus punctuality is 'broken', report claims Passengers could be getting a raw deal as the system for measuring national bus punctuality is 'opaque, dysfunctional and broken' according to a new report. Birmingham overhauls bus lane signage after blunders Birmingham City Council has replaced bus lane enforcement signage across the city after a series of blunders resulted in the council announcing a review of around 18,000 motoring fines. Worcestershire cuts park and ride in bid to save £1.6m Worcestershire CC has agreed to dramatically cut its park and ride and subsidised bus services in a bid to save £1.6m. York rolls out Wi-Fi on buses in time for Tour de France York has introduced a major Wi-Fi roll out across its bus network in time for the Tour de France this summer, which passes through the city on 6 July. Cycle 'blind spot' alarm for buses trialled in Bristol Bus operator First West has begun testing a new warning system in Bristol to help eliminate cyclist ‘blind spots’. £5m clean vehicle fund open to council bids Transport minister Baroness Kramer has announced the latest round of Government funding to slash pollution through 'greening' local fleets, with a £5m Clean Vehicle Technology Fund. Snowdonian bus company collapses, with 80 job losses An independent bus operator in Snowdonia will cease trading today, leaving 80 people without jobs and forcing the local authority to re-tender many schools and public transport contracts. Welsh Government appoints bus Tsar The Welsh Government has appointed a bus Tsar to tackle the mounting concerns over its beleaguered network. Analysis: Bus lane enforcement - no easy ride Enforcing bus lane rules has become a controversial multi-million pound issue, with more and more councils becoming embroiled in debates over signage, the use of enforcement as the proverbial ‘cash cow’ and indeed the removal of enforcement altogether. Poole criticised for bus cuts that could leave elderly 'stranded' Poole BC has approved plans to cut £100,000 from its bus subsidy budget in a move that has provoked angry reaction from the charity Age UK, with claims elderly people will be ‘stranded’. Aberdeen to invest bus lane money into transport schemes Aberdeen City Council is set to spend more than £800,000 made from bus lane fines in 2013 on a raft of key transport schemes this year. Scotland’s green buses receive historic funding boost A further £4.75m has been allocated for the Scottish Green Bus Fund to encourage the uptake of more low carbon vehicles, in the largest allocation of cash for the scheme since its launch in 2010. Real time bus information system launched in Scotland Bus travel in Scotland will be ‘transformed’ by new technology giving passengers real time information on services, local transport authorities have announced. Wales set for 'two more years of damage' on the buses The head of one of Wales’ biggest bus operators has warned of two more years of damage to the industry before any recovery can begin. Welsh Government awards £100k for councils' bus network trials Two local authorities will be given £100,000 by the Welsh Government to launch trials to find new ways of co-ordinating bus and community transport services, particularly in rural areas. New figures reveal extent of local bus cuts in major councils Labour has released fresh figures demonstrating the impact of local authority funding pressures on local bus networks, with some major authorities cutting bus subsidies by up to 55%. Stagecoach to cut back in Wales, leaving scores of jobs at risk Stagecoach has announced plans to close its depot at Brynmawr in Wales’ Gwent valleys in July, putting 77 jobs under threat. Stagecoach threatens legal action over Welsh bus cuts Lawyers acting for Stagecoach have written to almost half of Wales’ unitary authorities to warn that the Welsh Government’s cut to concessionary travel reimbursement could violate EU law. Bus passenger satisfaction on the rise, major survey shows Customer satisfaction with bus services rose by an average of 4% last year, with the West Midlands witnessing the greatest national improvements. Birmingham set to refund more bus lane fines Birmingham City Council’s transport boss has been told to refund more motorists who have received bus lane fines since last Autumn despite the council looking set to repay 18,000 fines after conceding its approach to bus lane enforcement was wrong. Monmouthshire registers its own bus service after tender prices treble Monmouthshire CC has registered to run a scheduled bus service using its own vehicles and drivers, after tender prices almost trebled. Bus funding 'unfit for purpose' councils tell Osborne Council chiefs have called on George Osborne to overhaul local bus funding in his Budget this month, stating the current system is ‘unfit for purpose’ and unsustainable. Metro approves £250m Leeds Trolleybus scheme ahead of public inquiry next month Transport officials in West Yorkshire have reiterated their commitment to the £250m Leeds Trolleybus scheme ahead of the launch of a public inquiry next month. Councils cling together in Wales, as they face tough times on buses Unitary authorities in Wales intend to continue regional collaboration on bus funding despite the Welsh transport minister’s decision to sideline the four Regional Transport Consortia, Surveyor understands. Welsh Government may have to tender bus services as 'councils lack capacity' The Welsh Government (WG) may need to tender bus services on behalf of local authorities that lack the necessary skills, a government adviser has warned. Welsh Govt u-turn leaves councils grappling with bus funding decisions Unitary authorities in Wales have still not received guidance on how to bid for bus funding for 2014-15, following a sudden change in Welsh Government policy. Classic London bus under threat of extinction London’s iconic Routemaster buses are becoming a truly endangered species after plans have been announced to axe one of the last two surviving routes running the classic. Bus cuts: Trade group raises alarm about community transport ‘threat’ Concern about the impact of community transport on public service vehicle (PSV) operators has resulted in trade association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), requesting information from members on the issue. Too Hot To Handle? Political and Moral Advertising on Public Transport What do a London Borough of Hillingdon councillor, a former BBC political correspondent and the Mayor of London have in common? Give up? Welsh Government announces rural bus funding review The Welsh Government has pledged to carry out a review of rural bus services to find a ‘new approach to funding', in response to the 'challenging' financial situation that has placed intense pressure on less profitable routes. Northern bus cuts slammed by local politicians Councillors and local MPs have heavily hit back against the loss of bus services in rural locations across the North of England, following the latest round of cuts to subsidised bus routes. Court orders inquiry into London's ban on 'anti-gay' bus ads A decision by mayor Boris Johnson to ban ‘anti-gay’ adverts from buses is to be investigated following a ruling by the Court of Appeal. 'Year of the bus' launched in London One of London’s most iconic assets will be celebrated this year as the mayor today launched a ‘year of the bus’ campaign. Campaigners call for pooled Govt funding, as bus services face drastic axe Transport campaigners have called for Whitehall to take a cross-departmental pooled funding approach to save local bus services facing the axe under austerity. FirstGroup boosts fleet with £70m order FirstGroup has placed a £70m order for 425 new buses, as it looks to make a substantial investment in upgrading its fleet to be more energy efficient. Cambridgeshire announces plans to extend guided busway Plans to extend the Cambridgeshire guided busway to a new railway station at Cambridge science park have been put forward by the county council. Black Country gets bus services re-vamp Midlands transport authority Centro has announced a widespread re-vamp of bus services in the Black Country area, including improved connections to the i54 south Staffordshire business park. Stockton consults residents on impact of £300k bus cuts Stockton BC is consulting on transport strategies in the area after being 'forced' into a £300,000 cut in bus subsidies. MPs and Stagecoach in war of words over disability access Disability access on Stagecoach buses in Hartlepool has been criticised by MPs, with transport minister Robert Goodwill writing to the firm over the issue. Bus services vulnerable after councils' funding settlement confirms cuts Local government is set to see the Whitehall grant fall by 8.5% in the next two years, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed. Councils should consider stadium projects for local rail Stadium developments are a key way for local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to unleash transport cash and economic growth, transport minister Stephen Hammond has claimed. North Yorks set for bus cuts reprieve Cuts to rural bus services in North Yorkshire look set to be reprieved following consultation on the issue by the county council. TfL unveils 'emissions free' electric buses Transport for London has unveiled its first electric buses with ‘zero tail pipe emissions’. Transport and technology groups form Smarter Travel Forum An alliance of transport and technology experts have called on the Government to embrace more smart travel technology such as real time information, smartcards and data collection. Buses 'in crisis', report claims Entire networks of bus services are at risk of imminent collapse, according to a new report by the Campaign for Better Transport. Further cuts to bus funding rock Wales Bus operators are preparing to reduce services and staffing after the Welsh Government said this week it would pay 23.4% less from 1 April in reimbursement per person carried under the nation’s concessionary bus fare scheme. North Yorks bus cuts 'hit rural areas hardest' Funding cuts to bus services in North Yorkshire could leave rural communities isolated, according to transport campaigners. First full-electric bus route in Scotland opens The first fully-electric local bus service in Scotland has been officially launched by transport minister Keith Brown in Wigtownshire. DfT outlines new regime for devolved bus grant payments Councils will receive devolved Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) payments every April from next year, equivalent to the amount claimed from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013, Department for Transport (DfT) officials have revealed. Swansea to develop a Quality Contracts scheme in wake of bus cuts Swansea CC has committed to developing plans for a Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) following complaints about local bus services, but warned it would be no quick fix. Birmingham drivers hit with 11,000 bus lane fines in 52 days A public outcry has been raised in Birmingham after figures revealed drivers had been hit with 11,000 fines in just 52 days, according to local newspaper reports. DfT releases £16m for Yorkshire bus services Transport minister Baroness Kramer has announced a £16m package of improvements for Yorkshire bus services, helping residents between Sheffield and Rotherham. Union bosses call for major reform of transport sector One of the UK’s leading unions has called for urgent Government investment in transport, arguing that every £1 spent on transport schemes delivers £4 in overall benefits. Birmingham 'Trojan buses' deliver live surveillance, following stabbings on public transport New software is delivering live streams of suspected crimes on board buses to police in the West Midlands, it has been announced. Bristol BRT signed off by Whitehall Approval has been offered by government on the Bristol rapid transit bus route, it has been announced. New Govt guidance released for road passenger transport contracts The Department for Transport has released an updated best practice guidance for tendering road passenger transport contracts. Five more councils win £1.4m clean bus cash Ministers have announced a further five local authorities will receive £1.4m of Government funding to help cut pollution from buses and improve air quality in towns and cities. Bus operator First gives Xmas present to unemployed Jobseekers in Glasgow have seen their bus fares cut by more than half over the Christmas season, by bus operator First. Liverpool removes all bus lanes in controversial nine-month experiment Liverpool City Council has launched a controversial nine-month experiment to suspend the operation of all bus lanes in the city. Sheffield gears up for cleaner buses Cleaner energy fuels are due to be provided for buses in Sheffield following a £1m scheme to switch from diesel to natural gas engines. Central Beds announces bold move to expand school transport Reforms to Central Bedfordshire Council’s home to school transport policy have been opened to public consultation, including plans to widen eligibility. London Assembly fights back against Boris' 33% fare hikes The London Assembly has called on mayor Boris Johnson to not increase fares by more than inflation during the rest of his term, following 33% price rises during his time in office so far. Government unveils new Better Bus Areas The Government has announced the creation of four new Better Bus Areas (BBAs), with York, Merseyside, Nottingham and Bath and greater Bristol set to benefit from £16.5m of investment in services. Northants plans social enterprise for all local transport A social enterprise could be established in Northamptonshire to manage the provision of passenger transport services currently procured by the county council and others. Mid-Wales set for 'bedlam' in the wake of planned bus cuts Plans to axe a range of bus services and around 50 jobs in the Aberystwyth and mid-Wales area have been described as a ‘body blow’ likely to cause to 'bedlam' according to campaigners. Minister splashes £3.4m on green buses The Government has released a further £3.4m towards 'greening' the nation's bus fleets, adding 55 extra low carbon buses to the roads alongside plans to upgrade existing vehicles. East Lancashire's bus network gets £40m boost The Department for Transport (DfT) has signed off a £40m cash injection for new bus stations and improvements across the Pennine Reach bus network. Lack of transport could 'destroy' Cardiff as council plans major developments Local councillors have backed plans for the biggest expansion of Cardiff for more than 50 years but the scheme could still stumble over a lack of transport infrastructure critics say. Labour's transport leader backs HS2 in conference speech Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle departed from the script of her speech to the Labour Party conference this year – appearing to back High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) in the process. Luton-Dunstable guided busway opens The Luton-Dunstable guided busway has been opened by local transport minister Norman Baker ahead of services commencing tomorrow (25 September). Labour unveils national transport plans Labour has unveiled a raft of new national transport policies following the results of the party’s long-running policy commission - due to be announced at the party conference next week. Gov ignores MPs' recommendations on transport accessibility The Government has refused to act on key recommendations from MPs to help improve transport accessibility for disabled and vulnerable residents. Bus operator First awaits no confidence vote in Bristol A motion has been tabled by Bristol City Council calling for a vote of no confidence in bus operator First, following alterations to services by the firm. Voluntary transport service a success in Swindon A transport service run by volunteers has been set-up in Swindon to help the vulnerable and elderly to get around town. Swansea to consider bus Quality Contracts Swansea CC has been advised to consider a Quality Contract Scheme after an inquiry found ‘little or no competition’ in local bus service provision. Cambridgeshire wins £33m from BAM Nuttall on guided busway dispute Cambridgeshire CC has accepted a £33m payout from contractor Bam Nuttall to settle a long-running dispute over the cost of building the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway. Clean Bus Technology Fund winners announced More than ten councils and transport authorities across England will benefit from a share of £5m of funding to reduce pollution from local buses, local transport minister Norman Baker announced today. Walsall councillor buys bus service for his constituents A Walsall politician has decided to use cash from his councillor allowance to fund a Sunday bus service from the beginning of September. Sheffield community bus sees passengers double A community bus partnership has seen passenger numbers more than double on a service in Sheffield, it has been claimed. Bolton gets green buses A new £2m fleet of green buses has been rolled out in Bolton as part of the first delivery of such vehicles in the Greater Manchester region. Centro rolls out smart technology New technology has been implemented by West Midlands transport authority Centro to make planning journeys easier, it has been claimed. Social value of buses is nine times average journey price, new Govt report claims A new Government report has calculated the social value of return bus trips at some £8.17 or nearly nine times the value of the average UK bus journey based on 2010 prices. Lottery cash should be used for bus services The National Lottery’s rules should be changed to enable Lottery funding to help local authorities sustain and improve bus and other non-statutory council services, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has suggested. Calls for Glasgow bus lane fine review A review of bus lane enforcement has been urged following figures revealing four times as many penalty notices were issued in Glasgow than in Edinburgh and Aberdeen for motorist incursions. Future of North East bus services hangs in balance Transport chiefs in the North East of England are set for a crucial vote this Friday to decide whether to bring services back under council control in the face of potential swingeing cuts. Govt slammed by MPs for lack of action on rural transport Ministers must develop a comprehensive transport strategy to ‘reverse the trend of declining accessibility to key services in rural areas’ a cross-party group of MPs has warned. Westminster wants airport expansion now and labels environmental impacts 'negligible' Westminster City Council has backed plans to expand airport capacity in the South East and labelled potential environmental impacts from air pollution 'negligible'. Council saves close to £1m on school transport A Welsh local authority has saved close to a million pounds through changes to its school transport contracts, it has emerged. New buses diverted to Cardiff Airport New buses purchased for an upgrade of TrawsCymru long-distance services in West Wales will be deployed instead on an experimental shuttle service for Cardiff Airport, Transport Network can reveal. DfT announces major overhaul of bus subsidy system Councils will be given greater control over bus funding as part of major reforms to the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), ministers revealed today. COMMENT: Stephen Joseph takes stock of the Spending Review With little in the way of new spending to announce, inevitably much of the focus around the Spending Round has been on presentation and framing of the debate by the Coalition. Almost half population lack 'reasonable access to key services' More than half the population do not have reasonable access to ‘key services’ particularly hospitals, an influential group of MPs has warned in a report released today. Travel mentoring scheme launched to help disabled bus passengers A travel mentoring scheme to help disabled people use the bus network in London has been rolled out in Sutton following successful trials. Caerphilly warns bus cuts could hit hospital access Cuts to Welsh bus funding will ‘unbalance’ one authority’s transport priorities leaving residents ‘stranded’ and impairing access to hospital, officers have warned. Motorists support ‘talking buses’ Talking buses can help people make the switch from driving to public transport, a new study has suggested. Comment: 'The country’s buses are unappreciated' In the first of a series of regular comment pieces for Transport Network, Stephen Joseph OBE - CEO of leading transport charity Campaign for Better Transport - argues the case for supporting UK buses ahead of the Spending Review on 26 June. £5m fund to retrofit local buses announced Local transport minister Norman Baker has invited local authorities and passenger transport executives to bid for a share of £5m to reduce pollution from local buses. Pressure mounts on Osborne to protect bus services More than 30 national organisations have written to the Treasury ahead of the Spending Review on 26 June, calling on chancellor George Osborne to protect local bus services from further cuts. Wales needs more powers to tackle ‘transport poverty’ Wales should be handed further powers to control regulation of buses and prioritise rail investment in order to integrate its public transport network, according to a new report. Ministers face call for bus fare consistency The Government has been urged to tackle the regional disparities in the cost of bus travel for young people. Boris: funding uncertainty ‘benefiting’ contractors Suppliers of transport infrastructure to London are benefiting commercially from the capital’s lack of long-term funding certainty, London Mayor Boris Johnson has complained. TfL records record week for bus journeys Transport for London has recorded a record-breaking week for bus journeys in the capital with passenger numbers higher than they have been for half a century. Funding uncertainty hits bus contracts in Wales The Welsh bus sector looks set to take a hit as local authorities reduce new contract terms or make changes to existing deals, in the face of uncertainty over future funding. Leading town planners call for community budgets in transport One of the UK’s leading planning institutes has called on ministers to expand community budgets into transport policy to help tackle the potential isolation of struggling families. Boris criticised over £212m order for 600 buses The Mayor of London was in Northern Ireland today to open a manufacturing plant (May 10) that will handle his £212m order for 600 new buses. Better deal for young 'top priority', says Baker House of Commons transport questions this week tackled bus and rail fares, south coast rail capacity and pinch-point and highways maintenance funding. Passengers call for better communication Transport authorities and bus operators must do more to improve communication with passengers during delays, according to new research published today by a national watchdog. Centro unveils Midland Metro extension plans Plans to extend the Midland Metro through Wolverhampton city centre have gone on display as the region's transport authority, Centro, launches a six-week consultation on the route. Caerphilly slammed for lack of transport access Sustrans has criticised Caerphilly CBC for relocating scores of housing staff to an office that is difficult to reach by public transport or bicycle. Government must regulate for 'talking buses' The Government must regulate to make audio, visual announcements mandatory on all UK buses to support disabled passengers, a leading charity has warned. New bus funding system risks volatility in Wales Welsh bus services could become more volatile as a result of the new Regional Transport Services Grant (RTSG), a council officer has warned. Traffex round up: All the top news from the DfT Visitors to Traffex this week heard from the Government about how it is using the transport sector to push for economic growth, consulting on proposals to overhaul traffic sign legislation, and creating more sustainable travel.. Walrus card delay sparks anger on Merseyside Merseytravel has announced the full roll out of its ‘Walrus’ transport smartcard will be delayed until at least next year, sparking anger among local politicians. Transport giant FirstGroup sees revenues rise Transport giant FirstGroup has revealed a 2.4% rise in bus revenues and a 7.4% rise in UK rail revenues in the last financial year. 'Future proofed' transport vital to city growth Cities in the developing world need to future-proof infrastructure, including the usage of transport systems, in order to ensure long-term prosperity according to a new report. Yorkshire public transport braced for front-line cuts Front-line public transport services in Yorkshire will suffer as a result of further funding cuts, the chair of the Passenger Transport Executive Group (Pteg) has warned. West England authorities present united front on delayed BRT scheme West England authorities have presented a united front following delays to the £200m Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme for the Bristol City region, stating lessons have been learned from the Edinburgh tram project. Ministers unveil ‘joined-up, sustainable' transport strategy Transport ministers unveiled the Government’s vision for a ‘joined-up, sustainable transport system’ today, through its Door to door strategy. Welsh LAs 'losing' race on bus funding transfer Local government in Wales will lose its race to implement a complex new bus funding system by 1 April without a ‘substantial increase’ in support from the Welsh Government, council officers have warned. Scots MPs to investigate future of community transport The Scottish Parliament today launched an inquiry into the future of community transport, analysing local travel modes outside of commercial public transport systems. LGA targets transport emissions Council chiefs have called on local authorities to reduce surface transport emissions in a new report designed to embed best practice on green initiatives. Bus operators’ aims to convert dead mileage threatened Welsh Government hopes of saving money through not subsidising ‘dead bus mileage’ could be dashed under operators’ plans to convert journeys from and to depots into registered public services. Better Bus Areas bidding process announced Local transport minister Norman Baker has launched the bidding process for a national rollout of Better Bus Area (BBA) schemes, paving the way for widespread reforms to the Bus Service Operator Grant (BSOG).