Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bus services in Limerick Town Centre, Ireland

In a previous article I said that I was preparing for a short holiday and promised that upon my return I would be writing a ‘first hand’ report on the bus services in Limerick, Ireland. I aplologise for the delay as I have been rather busy since then but finally, here is that report.

Limerick has a small number of bus routes linking to the Town Centre and their bus services are still regulated and operated by Bus Éireann which is owned by Transport for Ireland. It’s interesting to note how most of the bus services in Ireland are still owned and run by the government compared to Britain where the bus services have been privatised and deregulated.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Bus services at Bluewater Shopping Centre

Bluewater is an out of town shopping centre located in Stone, Kent, England outside the M25 Orbital Motorway. It first opened on the 16th March 1999 which led to the extension of London Buses route 96 from Dartford going non-stop to Bluewater Shopping Centre.

According to London Bus Routes 'about' Route 96, it says “The 96 extension was actually introduced commercially by Stagecoach Selkent when the contract was let on net cost terms – an arrangement in which the operator keeps the revenue, and can therefore take commercial risks. This one clearly paid off even though the service level seemed excessive.”

Monday, 28 December 2015

Route's 3 & 68 to convert to New Routemaster buses

Route 3 will be served with 3 door 2 staircase buses

LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) have reported that route 3 is due to convert to Wrightbus New Routemasters along with route 68.

·         Just a few more of the various batches of new vehicles into London continue to enter service. 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

A third of London Buses to run on biofuel

As TFL continue to roll out the New Routemaster bus for the Central London routes, they have just announced that one third of London Buses are to run on waste fats and oil.

From the TFL press release:


Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas to all my readers. A roundup of 2015

Today is the 25th December 2015, Christmas day, so I hope you all enjoy it, eat plenty of festive food and enjoy a Christmas tipple to celebrate with your family and friends.

Unfortunately there are no London Transport services today so for those that need to travel I hope you have made prior arrangments. There are other transport services around the world such as the New York City MTA which operate their Sunday service on Christmas day.

Below is a short reminder of some of my previous articles that I wrote this year.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Growth of multi-operator smartcard ticketing system

Multi operator smartcard for Nottingham buses

I have been noticing increasing news about the multi-operator tickets being implemented on bus services throughout England.

First off, North West of England has introduced a new multi-operator smart card called SmartZone.


·         Region’s bus users to benefit from innovative smart ticketing initiative
·         Seamless multi-journey travel across the major bus operators of the North East - Stagecoach, Go North East and Arriva
·         Unlimited travel with any bus operator from less than £2 per day
·         Bus passengers across the north east of England will benefit from smart, multi-operator travel from today (Monday 14th December).

Bus operators Go North East, Arriva and Stagecoach North East have introduced a new multi-operator smart card – “SmartZone”  which allows travel on buses operated by all three major bus companies in Sunderland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, providing unlimited travel from less than £2 per day.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Mid/Late December London Tube and Bus news

Another news update from me as I've found a couple of London Underground related news stories from a TFL press release and Global Rail News. We also have the usual bus news from LOTS.

From Global Rail News:

Final S Stock carriage marks end of £1.5bn order

The final carriage of the £1.5 billion S Stock train order has been presented by Bombardier in Derby.

The intermediary car, which is still being fitted out at Bombardier’s Litchurch Lane facility, is the last of 1,395 S Stock carriages that have been built for London Underground over the past few years.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Mid December 2015 London Bus tender awards

Route 148 is retained with same operator with same buses

Here's a quick update from LOTS, reporting on the new tender awards.

The following TfL contracts have been announced today:

Monday, 14 December 2015

Update on Short New Routemaster

The NRM finally get to see the light of day on route 159
Link to previous article on Short NRM

London Bus Club have issued a news update on the Short New Routemaster project.

“We have some more information on the shortened New Routemaster we exclusively announced last week. It will carry the fleet number ST2001 and carry the registration LTZ2001. ST2001 is due to arrive in London in the coming week, but it is unlikely to be licensed before 1st January 2016.”

Thursday, 10 December 2015

As fares are set to rise, LU breaks the record again for busiest day

TFL has issued a press release about London Underground breaking their record again for carrying a whopping 4.821 million passengers!

Figures released today by Transport for London (TfL) show that October's record for the number of customer journeys made on the Tube in one day has been broken again.

On Friday 4 December 2015, 4.821 million customers travelled on the Tube making it the network's busiest day ever.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

REVEALED: Short New Routemaster is unveiled

Yes the New Routemaster is getting small,.

The London Bus Club has produced an exclusive report on the short New Routemaster bus which is manufactured by Wrightbus and has a reduced length of around 10.1 metres. This news comes in as a surprise.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

10 year Anniversary of Route 159 AEC Routemaster withdrawal

08/12/2015: Update is below 'image attributions'

Also farewell to the Volvos on route 159

We are now approaching the 10th anniversary of a fully accessible London Bus service which coincides with the anniversary of the route 159 Routemaster withdrawal to fully low floor buses. It also marks the end of Arriva London’s service on Route 159 as it's handed over to Abellio whose contract starts on 12th December 2015.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Belfast Rapid Transit and some London Bus News

Just a missing piece of the puzzle; I found out in Northern Ireland that Belfast is having its own rapid transit scheme using bendy buses.

Recently, we have seen Van Hool being awarded the contract to build buses for the Belfast Rapid Transit scheme.

From Department of Regional Development (Northern Ireland)

Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced the award of a £19 million contract to supply a fleet of 30 vehicles for the new Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

Belgian-based company Van Hool won the contract and will be supported locally by Road Trucks Limited of Larne.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Proposed changes for East London Transit routes and 436 & 452

Recently, TFL proposed changes for the East London Transit routes. They wish to add more services on both routes and the EL2 will be re-routed from Barking to Becontree Heath Bus station which runs parallel with Route 5.

“We have looked at bus services in the Barking and Dagenham area and identified issues including crowding on the approach into Barking, in particular from Ripple Road, and Longbridge Road which is also served by route 5. We also anticipate that demand will continue to grow for buses to and from Barking Riverside Development.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

New Crossrail trains design officially unveiled

TFL have recently unveiled their new Crossrail train design:

Crossrail took another major step forward today as the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) revealed the innovative design of the new, fully accessible trains that are due to enter service from May 2017.

When fully open in 2019, Crossrail will add 10 per cent to London's rail capacity, helping TfL to keep pace with London's growing population, which is set to rise from 8.6 million today to around 10 million by 2030. Carrying 200 million customers a year, Crossrail will mean more frequent and reliable journeys and support more homes and jobs across London and the South East.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

New 2016 London Transport fares

This was when the GLC were battling against the government to keep the LT fares low.
Poster from 1981.
I have good news and bad news for you regarding the new TFL fares for 2016 which will be implemented on 2nd January 2016.

TFL say's that fares are to rise by one per cent putting them in line with the July Retail Price Index, although some fares will be frozen.

"From 2 January, fares on TfL services are set to rise by one per cent, in line with the July Retail Price Index (RPI), however a number of fares, including single bus fares and all but two pay as you go single Tube fares, will be frozen. Travelcard season tickets will increase by slightly less than one per cent.

Friday, 13 November 2015

10 Years of route 15H and also the "Enviro400H" City launch

Having returned from my trip now, I will update you on the latest bus news including the Route 15H anniversary. The following events are happening on 14th November 2015.

10 years of Heritage route 15
The contract of routes 15H and 9H started on 12th November 2005, but the official operation began on 14th November 2005.

The 'Heritage Routes' buses are AEC Routemaster buses which had been refurbished with new engines and lighting by Marshall back in 2001. This is why they sound like Dennis Darts, because of the refurbishment.

The main Route 15 had full operation of AEC Routemasters which started on the 1st April 1964 and ended on 30th August 2003. They were replaced by ALX400 Dennis Tridents as part of TFL’s policy to make 100% of bus services low floor and accessible. Before the mainstream withdrawal of AEC Routemasters the route also had preserved Routemaster buses such as the green RMC1461 (461CLT) which featured a rear door instead of an open platform.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Latest News and Updates

Yes driverless trains strike too!
Firstly, sorry about the lack of posts recently but I have been busy preparing for a short holiday and as I'm leaving tomorrow I thought I'd better give you an update on the London Transport services before I go.

First off, we have the latest London Buses tender awards:

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Consultation response on Route 15H

Recently I received an email from TFL Consultations regarding Route 15H frequency change.

The purpose of the consultation is to change the frequency of the service from 15 to 20 minutes to maintain the services reliability. 85 stakeholders (including me) took part on the consultation.

TfL's response to  main issues raised
There was opposition to the proposal to reduce the frequency of the Heritage Routemaster 15.

This included the following:

Monday, 26 October 2015

October 2015 Bus News update

I haven’t written any articles over the past week as I've been busy filming London Transport services for my Dailymotion channel.

Here is the news from LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society)

·         The New Addington service changes duly began as planned on Saturday 24th as described in TLB613 page 12, with frequency increases on the 64, 130 and 359, route extensions on 64, 353 and 359, withdrawal of T31/T32 and renumbering of T33 to 433.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Route 26 to have buses with ‘New Routemaster Features’

ADL Enviro 400H City for Arriva London

I wrote in my previous article that CT Plus has won the Route 26 contract and the good news is that I've found out from London Bus Routes ‘Service changes’ page that route 26 will be getting buses with ‘NRM features.’

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Fastrack: Kent Thameside’s bus rapid transit

Fastrack is a bus rapid transit scheme in the Thames Gateway area of Kent which consists of two routes. It was first founded on 26th March 2006.

Their routes are as follows:
·         Route A serves Bluewater, Greenhithe, Temple Hill and Dartford
·         Route B serves Gravesend, Ebbsfleet International Railway station, Swanscombe, Ingress Park, Greenhithe, Bluewater, Dartford and Temple Hill

Both of these services are operated by Arriva Kent Thameside on behalf of Kent County Council.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Ensignbus route X80 Lakeside to Bluewater

taken from their leaflet cover

Route X80 is operated by Ensignbus, the route starts at Chafford Hundred railway station and goes via Lakeside Bus Station, Tesco Lakeside (starts from 2nd November 2015) then it goes via the Dartford Crossing over the river Thames and Dartford Galleon Boulevard, Greenhithe Railway Station with the route finally ending at Bluewater Shopping Centre.

Ensignbus has a specific webpage dedicated to route X80 and you can view their maps, timetables and fares here.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

First Essex Route 100, Chelmsford to Lakeside with Volvo 7900H

Taken from their leaflet cover
First Essex operates Route 100 in Essex with the route starting from Chelmsford and ending at Lakeside. The route goes via Billericay, Noak Bridge, Basildon and Grays.

Friday, 9 October 2015

New London Bus Tender awards and the ZeEUS Project

LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) has reported on the new London Bus tender awards.

The following TfL contracts have been announced:

Monday, 5 October 2015

Update on the new Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City

Since the new Enviro400H City was officially unveiled at the Coach & Bus Live at Birmingham NEC on 30th September 2015, I have found a couple of reports from Alexander Dennis about the bus and the hybrid electric system they use.

New-generation London Bus Marks 5,000 Milestone for BAE Systems’ Hybrid Technology

Friday, 25 September 2015

Lothian Buses to order hybrid buses

Lothian Buses, a publicly owned Bus operator from Edinburgh, is to order new hybrid buses from the manufacturer, Volvo.

From Lothian Buses press release

“New environmentally-friendly engine technology is set to be introduced to the Lothian Buses fleet in partnership with Volvo in 2017.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Monday, 21 September 2015

New window openings for New Routemasters

As I said in my previous article, the £302.5 million Wrightbus New Routemaster buses are to have new window openings installed at the cost of £2 million due to TFL having had 4 years of complaints and scrutiny over ventilation and air cooling issues.

From LOTS news:

Saturday, 19 September 2015

New Routemaster project now costs over £300 million, time for electric buses?

According to TFL’s board paper to be presented at the 24th September 2015 meeting and titled “Operational and Financial Performance and Investment Programme Reports,” the Estimated Final Costs have now increased to a whopping £302.5 million!

Also, the target date for 600 New Routemasters has moved to the 31st October 2015. And their final target to have all 800 NRM buses is by the 30th April 2016 which means the New Routemaster deliveries are finished.

Taking a look at one of the TFL board papers from 24th September 2015, it says:

Friday, 18 September 2015

Thameslink: The missing railway line from the Tube Map

Thameslink is a National Rail route that starts North of London, going from Bedford/Luton/St Albans; it goes via Central London serving Kentish Town, (Kings Cross) St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and then ends South at Brighton/Sutton/Sevenoaks.

During the early to late 1990s, part of the Thameslink route was featured on the Tube Map from North to South, going from Kentish Town to where it splits to London Bridge and Elephant & Castle stations.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

First bodyshell of Crossrail train revealed

Bombardier Aventra who are currently constructing the Class 345 have unveiled their bodyshell for TFL to report on.

TFL reports on their press release:

The production of the new Crossrail trains, which will help meet the needs of the rapidly growing population of London and the South East, has reached an important milestone with the completion of a test carriage at Bombardier's train manufacturing plant in Derby.

This first body shell is being used to refine the design and the manufacturing techniques needed for the full production of the 594 carriages needed for the 66 Crossrail trains.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Are driverless Tube trains possible?

A few weeks ago I noticed public support growing for driverless trains for the London Underground system because people have claimed that driverless trains reduce strikes

The Docklands Light Railway is the only driverless system in London and has been in service since 1987.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

New Bus from Alexander Dennis (Enviro400H City)

After a long wait, Alexander Dennis has just unveiled their new double deck design which is similar to the New Routemaster that Thomas Heatherwick designed.

Bus and Coach magazine has written:

A London-spec version of ADL’s new Enviro400 double-deck will be unveiled at Coach & Bus Live at the NEC on 30 September. The hybrid bus is one of an order for 19 for Arriva London which will go into service on route 78 later this year.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Premium bus services in Britain

Ever since Britain’s buses were deregulated in 1986, we have seen bus operating companies providing services which contain audio-visual announcements, free Wi-Fi internet, charging points for people to charge their electrical devices, CCTV, leather seats and frequent services.

Emphatically, the private operating companies wanted to provide first class luxury services in order to gain more customers to their services.

I'll list the operators which do provide that type of service.

Stagecoach Gold

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Oyster and Contactless Bank Cards for Dartford Railway Station

The good news for people commuting to and from Dartford Railway Station is that you will be able to use your Oyster or Contactless bank card in both directions.
TFL's Press release:
Thousands of rail passengers are set for cheaper fares and more convenient journeys from Sunday 6 September as acceptance of contactless payments and Oyster is extended to pay as you go travel on Southeastern services to and from Dartford station.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

More night services for London Buses, but Night Tube is postponed

TFL have just released their consultation update in which they received 3,300 responses from members of the public and 40 responses from Stakeholders.
They have received overwhelming support for extended night bus services which means that TFL will introduce new services in phases.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

More New Routemasters for Route 88 and 16, plus more news…

Image from 'Get Reading' article
Yes, you see the new rear door layout, it's no longer a 'hop on, hop off' bus.
I have a lot to cover on the New Routemaster in this article, so here we go…
News on London Buses Route 88 and 16 and more route conversions
LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) have issued a report detailing their latest news:
Deliveries of new LTs (batches 478-487 and 501-516) to London General for route 88 (pvr 24) are now well under way and entry of the first few into service is imminent.  The LTs (batch 543-563) for Metroline route 16 (pvr 18) should not be far behind for service during September. Next after that, to take us up to December, would be the large batches for  Arriva 149 (pvr 38) and Abellio 159 (pvr 34) 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Light Rail systems in London (DLR and Trams)

Transport for London (TfL) currently have two Light Rail systems, the automated light rail which serves the City of London, East London and the Docklands, and the tram system which serves the South of London.
Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is an automated light rail system, it carries almost 140 million passengers (from April 2014 to March 2015 annual report).

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

London Buses Route 88 to get New Routemasters

The original double deck bus with dual staircases.
Just some quick news as its a follow up from my previous article.
According to LOTS (London Omnibus Traction Society) they reported:
The very first E200MMC to enter service in London was Stagecoach 36601 on the 499 on 30th July. The rest of the batch are all here so should follow soon. Other operators in London (e.g. Metroline, Universitybus and Tower Transit) are continuing to take the classic E200 bodies. The first of 26 x LTs  (478) for London General route 88 has just been delivered.

Monday, 3 August 2015

TfL’s Green Bond, so more New Routemasters?

Taking a look at the 1st July TFLs Commissioners report, I can reveal that TFL has issued a £400 million Green Bond fund on 17th April 2015.
Green Bond
On 17 April we successfully issued £400m Green Bond for 10 years following a series of meetings with investors. The proceeds of the Green Bond will be allocated to projects from five different programmes with various environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions, improved air quality, noise mitigation and others. The project categories include capacity improvements and station upgrades on Rail and Underground, New Routemaster buses

Alexander Dennis and BYD build electric buses for London Buses routes 507 & 521

The front design looks familiar....

Go Ahead London buys 51 all-electric single deck buses manufactured by Alexander Dennis and BYD at a cost of £19 million.
Press release from BYD and Alexander Dennis
BYD and ADL partner to supply Go-Ahead London with capital's first, pure electric bus fleet

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Bus operator Uno operates London Buses Route 383

Since Uno operate bus services that go across the Greater London Boundary in North London, they need a ‘London Service Permit’ which is needed in order to operate routes in North London.

Friday, 24 July 2015

New Trains for London Overground

Sorry I haven’t posted for a short while. I have found some news though about the new rolling stock trains for the London Overground services. This is a follow up to my previous article.
Bombardier has released the first image of the new Aventra train it is building for London Overground.
Transport for London (TfL) awarded Bombardier a £260 million contract for 45 new four-car EMUs to replace the Class 315 and Class 317 trains TfL inherited when it took over some of the West Anglia Main Line services out of Liverpool Street.
The contract included a 35-year maintenance agreement, taking

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