QCS hearings are delayed

first_imgThe Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) board has postponed the evidence hearings into the proposed Tyne & Wear QCS from March and April to 13-17 and 20-24 July.It follows a directions hearing in London after Nexus asked for more time to prepare a response to the operators’ challenges to the proposed QCS.The QCS board agreed to postpone the hearings until July in the interests of fairness to all parties. The bus operators agreed that the hearing dates scheduled for March and April could not be fulfilled.In view of the revised timetable, the board cannot publish a final report in May. It therefore intends to publish its final report by 31 October.Kevin Carr, Go North East MD says: “Nexus has been working on its scheme for almost four years, so it’s surprising that they need more time to produce evidence to support it. The 1,000-page report to the North East Combined Authority last October seems not to have been enough.“We have provided the QCS Board with a considerable amount of expert evidence that we believe makes a compelling case for the QCS to be abandoned in favour of partnership. A partnership could have been in place two years ago.”last_img read more

The burning issue

first_imgIf you have an engine bay fire, unless you are very lucky then it’s likely your vehicle will be destroyed. Not only is it expensive, it can also be bad publicity. Now, Arriva plans to fit an innovative passive fire barrier, called eQuilt, to all its new vehicles. Mel Holley reportsEngine bay fires can take hold very quickly and, unless the fire service is able to reach the scene within a few minutes, can rapidly spread to the rest of the vehicle with dramatic resultsEngine bay fires can take hold very quickly and, unless the fire service is able to reach the scene within a few minutes, can rapidly spread to the rest of the vehicle with dramatic results.Engine bay fire suppression systems are one answer, but they require regular maintenance and renewal, as well as adding weight. And, as a ‘one-shot’ device they might not always extinguish the fire, depending on its nature.The new alternative is eQuilt. A passive fire barrier, it is fitted instead of traditional engine bay sound-deadening and is extremely robust. It’s proved itself in a number of severe tests and demonstrated beyond doubt that it will contain a fire in the engine bay.Now, convinced by its worth, Arriva has decided to specify eQuilt to all new UK buses for its 2017 intake.The patented product is supplied by Westerham, Kent-based Clark Wright, and was invented in a joint venture by Sales Director Gary Hammatt, and Technical Director Will Burton.Says Will: “With eQuilt, if a fire starts in the engine bay, it stays in the engine bay.”Adds Gary: “We are so confident of the product that provided it’s fitted correctly (including grille closers) we will repair or replace the vehicle at our cost if eQuilt or any of our products are proved to have failed.”Fire stoppingLike fire doors in a building, eQuilt is designed to stop fire spreading to the passenger compartment – once this happens the vehicle is normally a total loss. There are 500-600 coach and bus fires in the UK each year of which 70% result in a total loss.And, it all happens very quickly. In London the average response time for a fire appliance is six minutes, although congestion makes that hard. In the provinces, especially rural areas, it can be longer.As recent incidents demonstrate – even with modern vehicles – a fire takes hold before the fire service arrives.The cost is significant. Not only the vehicle loss (which for larger operators comes straight off the bottom line due to self-insurance), but also the potential for the need to hire a replacement, cost of lost passengers/driver’s property, recovery of the remains and even resurfacing of the highway if it has been damaged.Gary Hammatt: ‘Guarantee that fire will be contained’Add to this that everybody is now a photographer, thanks to camera phones, and you can guarantee that you’ll be on the news; maybe even nationally if the vehicle was carrying children, anyone was hurt or it’s just a ‘slow news’ day. Reputational damage can be significant, as fires on London’s artics demonstrated.How it worksLooking like traditional insulation, eQuilt is fitted instead of current insulation in the engine bay. It has already passed numerous laboratory tests. In March 2014 it was put to a real-life test in a double-decker at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.A fire, simulated by igniting diesel in trays in the engine bay, was contained by eQuilt despite temperatures peaking at 790°C. The combustible temperature of wood is 300°C and aluminium is 650°C. After 20 minutes of this punishment, when the 3.5 litres of diesel had burned itself out, the GRP inside the passenger compartment was hot and had bubbled slightly, but had not caught fire. This was against the expectations of observers, and even the watching fire crews.How eQuilt works is secret, but once the temperature reaches 200°C it expands to 25 times its volume, enhancing its fire-stopping qualities.Properly fitted – to ensure that access holes to the engine bay such as for wiring, fuel lines, heating and grill closures are covered in a fire – eQuilt will stop a fire and contain it. The result is a vehicle that can be economically repaired.“Think of eQuilt as a fire control system for engine bays,” says Will.There is a modest net cost for eQuilt depending on specification; in terms of the overall new vehicle cost, it’s negligible.Arriva’s decisionThe March 2014 demonstration (routeONE, Big Story, 12 March 2014) was conducted in front of a number of engineers from major operators, bodybuilders, the SMMT and Transport for London. However, with Euro 6 redesigns on the horizon, manufacturers made promises about fire containment, so major orders for eQuilt had not been forthcoming.This changed after a fire in a brand new bus that destroyed it. Although it was a competing operator’s vehicle that burned out, Arriva UK Bus Engineering Director Ian Tarran contacted eQuilt and asked for a further demonstration. This took place in December 2015.It looks like conventional insulation, but eQuilt has unique fire-stopping propertiesYou may be familiar with the ‘fire triangle’ – the three ingredients needed for a fire to start and be maintained – of heat, oxygen and fuel. Remove one of these, and the fire will go out.Once again a double-decker (without fire suppression fitted) was used, but this time, in addition to an accelerant to start and maintain the fire, the engine was left running, with the injector pipe unions opened to feed the fire. The result was remarkable; once all the combustible material in the engine bay, such as wiring and rubber, had gone up in smoke the fire went out as there was nothing left to burn. After 23 minutes, the fire had still not penetrated the passenger compartment.Says Ian Tarran: “The number of fires has dropped significantly since we started fitting suppression systems in engine bays, but we still get the odd fire where you get severe amount of damage to the interior, because fire gets out of the engine compartment. So not even fire suppression works every single time.“The tests that we’ve done, both times have proved that you can keep the fire in the engine bay in excess of 15 minutes. Most places where we operate buses, you’d generally get a fire engine there in less than that time.“When you’re paying £200,000-plus for a bus, but paying a modest amount for eQuilt – you’re investing that in the life of the vehicle – that make sense to me.“It’s added protection. It’s going to be cost effective and maintenance free, and that’s what’s drawn me towards it.”Next stepsArriva is waiting for eQuilt to complete homologation with its suppliers ADL and Wrightbus. Volvo has already given approval for fitting to bodies on its double-decker chassis.Already a series of certified laboratory tests have confirmed eQuilt’s fire blocking credentials. Homologation tests include absorption – checking that it doesn’t absorb liquid or moisture – and sound deadening. On both, it has equalled or beaten conventional insulation. It is ECE R118 compliant in annexes 6,7,8 and 9.Although this will be the first major installation of eQuilt, it is already in service thanks to retrofits with Metroline (a Volvo President) and UnoBus of Hatfield (a Mercedes-Benz Citaro).Sure-fire winnerAlthough the product has taken a while to be accepted, Clark Wright would like to think that Arriva’s move to fit eQuilt will encourage other operators to do the same. It is a ‘fit-and-forget’ solution in new vehicles, providing exceptional heat, absorption and sound proofing. Unlike a fire-suppression system, it doesn’t require maintenance, and the only requirement for a full life is to ensure that it is not removed or damaged.This is why Clark Wright is confident its unique, British-invented and patented product will be a sure-fire winner.That Arriva will become the first major user is no surprise as it’s long been a leader in pioneering new technology that’s often now standard, from remote-reporting CCTV to driver monitoring systems, and software to prevent accidents as a result of accelerator/brake pedal confusion. Now, it will add eQuilt to this list of proven innovations.Details: www.clarkwright.co.uklast_img read more

Futureproofing CCTV on coaches and buses

first_imgAs an industry that is committed to passenger safety and comfort, coach and bus surveillance technology requirements have evolved dramatically.A key consideration for operators should be in changes in the technology environment which require flexible and scalable solutions. By installing a hybrid digital video recorder (DVR), such as Synectics’ T1600, operators can gradually and cost-effectively make the move from analogue to IP, without the need to sacrifice existing CCTV systems.Flexible solutions using high definition (HD) IP cameras capture a wider field of vision and can record footage at up to 1080p – a much higher quality, saving operators money in fines and compensation, whilst providing an unbeatable training tool.Adopting an integrated management platform such as Synergy 3, not only enables operators to monitor and review video footage, telematics and CANBus data, but it also gives them a new level of flexibility and technical capability of transitioning into IP – as and when budget and need dictate.last_img read more

Countryfile Live winners announced

first_imgThe three winners of our BBC Countryfile Live competition (GT&T, May) have been announced.They are:Jane Bostock-Gibson, from Jane Bostock TravelMario Constantinou, from Transport for LondonSue Todd, from Mountain Goat.Congratulations to the winners, who were among those who answered our question “where is Countryfile Live taking place?” with the correct answer: Oxfordshire. Their names were then picked at random from the editor’s hat.They will each receive a free pair of tickets to the group-friendly show at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire on 3-6 August.BBC Countryfile Live is an action-packed countryside four-day show, where groups can explore farming and wildlife exhibits, enjoy live animal arena shows, try their hand at outdoor activities, be inspired by cooking and craft demonstrations, and join live debates and interviews.It’s being held in the grounds of historic Blenheim Palace, one of the UK’s loveliest stately homes.Groups of 10+ get 10% off, while groups of 40+ get 15% off, and there is free coach parking and free entry for the driver.Email [email protected] or call 020 7492 1637.last_img read more

Driver sacked after leaving child behind

first_imgA minibus driver has been sacked for gross misconduct, after he left a four-year-old boy alone on a minibus at a yard in Inverness.John Robertson was travelling on a D&E Coaches’ minibus when the driver apparently missed his stop on the way home from school in Inverness and drove over Kessock Bridge, before heading back to the depot.John Robertson was travelling on a D&E Coaches’ minibusThe boy was thought to have waited on the vehicle for about an hour before he got off and started walking along the road near to Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s stadium.He was spotted by two women, who phoned the police, which had also been contacted by his parents.D&E Coaches says: “We are extremely disappointed at the circumstances.“Relying on an assurance from another pupil that this child was not on the bus is unacceptable. All drivers are expected to check their buses at the end of the journey but this clearly did not occur.”As a result of the incident, the firm is introducing a new Driver CPC course on Driver Awareness on School Contracts.last_img read more

DfT publishes consultation into S19 and S22

first_imgChanges afoot for use of Section and Section 22 permits, according to consultation published last weekDfT’s proposals estimated to bring 46% of permit holders into O-LicencingThe Department for Transport (DfT) released its consultation into the future of Section 19 and Section 22 permits on 8 February. It spells significant change in England, Scotland and Wales.The DfT now accepts that intervention is required to facilitate fair competition between permit and non-permit operators. It plans to clarify guidance so that operators and drivers are certain of their requirements.However, the main proposal is much simpler. It is to update the Transport Act 1985, aligning it with EU Regulation 1071/2009 to clarify that permits may only be granted to and held by organisations that meet one or more of the exemptions laid out in the Regulation, and that existing permits are valid only while those exemptions remain satisfied.To clarify, exemptions apply to organisations:That are engaged in road passenger transport exclusively for non-commercial purposesThat have a main occupation other than that of a road passenger transport operatorEngaged exclusively in national transport operations having only a minor impact on the transport market because of short distances.The DfT cannot add to the above list, and nor can it establish ‘special rules’ using other criteria.As a result, it is almost certain that if your organisation holds a Section 19 or a Section 22 permit and ticks none of the above boxes, you will need an O-Licence. Your drivers will thus be subject to PCV licencing and Driver CPC.Why the change?The DfT’s somewhat flimsy argument is that prior to a legal challenge from the Bus and Coach Association (BCA), its view was that Section 19 and Section 22 permit holders were exempt from the Regulation because they would automatically satisfy one or more exemptions.Now that it has removed its head from the sand, the DfT accepts that permits have been issued in certain circumstances that are not covered by those exemptions. If action is not taken, that could lead to a fine being levied against the UK government.“It has become apparent to the Department that these assumptions are no longer sustainable,” reads the consultation’s impact statement. “In particular, it is no longer possible to assume that all permit holders are ‘engaged in road passenger transport services exclusively for non-commercial purposes’… merely by virtue of compliance with the not-for-profit requirements applicable to permits.”The consultation lays out the definition of non-commercial. It includes providing transport services that commercial operators are unwilling or unable to provide, even if the charge levied exceeds the cost of running them. In those cases, however, permit operators must be able to provide evidence of the commercial sector’s lack of interest.Bill Freeman: ‘Six months of uncertainty has been debilitating to CTOs’What’s the impact?The DfT says that it does not expect all operators with permits to fail to meet the Regulation’s requirements and have to transition to an O-Licence. Instead, it believes that a “significant number” of such operators will continue to use permits.While figures relating to permit holders are estimated, the DfT suggests that at least 46% of Section 19 and Section 22 permit holders will potentially come into the scope of O-Licencing.That will bring significant cost. Principal will be expenditure to bring drivers up to the required standard by obtaining PCV licences and/or Driver CPC qualifications.The DfT estimates that could hit £24.7m in total. Costs for transport managers and the higher standard of MoT required are also significant, among many others.Industry responseCommunity Transport Association (CTA) CEO Bill Freeman wasted little time in responding to the DfT’s consultation. The CTA expects to share more detailed analysis soon, but it is committed to representing its members’ views. Speaking to CTA members, Bill says: “There will be mixed feelings about this launch.“Some of you will be relieved that it’s finally underway, as the uncertainty has been as debilitating to your organisations as the proposed changes. Others will feel uncomfortable engaging in a discussion that they disagree with. There are also some members who think that the best thing they can do is to make the changes and see what opportunities they present.”That’s a fair view to take; the DfT in its consultation points out that, if permit holders successfully transition to the O-Licence regime, they can then legitimately challenge for work as they please.The CTA also aims a thinly-disguised barb at the BCA. “We know that the people who have waged this campaign against the CT sector are clearly spooked by the prospect of you having the same licences as them, so there may be some benefits that we can explore together.”Bill urges the community transport sector to work collectively to respond to the consultation. He also intends to approach the Mobility Matters campaign with a view to collaborative working.The closing date for responses is 4 May.Read the consultation at bit.ly/2GWR7lDlast_img read more

Alf Scrimgour dies

first_imgAlf Scrimgour, who worked in the coach tourism team at the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) before retirement, has died after a period of illness.Alf joined the CPT in 2011 after a long career in coach tourism, particularly in the schools and student market. At CPT he was responsible for CoachMarque and liaison with the tourism sector. He also helped to develop both the CPT’s Coach Friendly status, and the European Alliance for Coach Tourism.Simon Posner, CPT CEO, says: “Alf was almost literally larger than life. His knowledge and experience of the tourism industry was second to none, which made him an invaluable member of the CPT team.“More importantly however he was just a wonderful person. Very few people can light up a room just by entering it. Alf was one of those people. A kind, gentle man and the best story teller I have ever met.”A celebration of Alf’s life will be held at 1500hrs on Wednesday 18 April at Worthing Crematorium’s Kingswood Chapel, BN14 0RG; and afterwards at Worthing Rugby Club, Roundstone Lane, Angmering BN16 4AX. Those attending are asked to wear ‘a splash of red’. His family welcome donations to the British Heart Foundation instead of flowers. Donate at goo.gl/zS2Xmplast_img read more

Tourismo Safety Coach arrives in UK for first time

first_imgCoaches continue to become safer. In a demonstration of Daimler Buses’ capabilities in that area, it has built a UK-specification Mercedes-Benz Tourismo Safety Coach that includes Active Brake Assist 4The UK Safety Coach is a highly-distinctive 13m tri-axle Tourismo M/3Daimler Buses has made a statement by building the first right-hand drive Safety Coach, which showcases all of its functionality and software that can protect drivers, passengers and third parties.Painted bright yellow, the UK-specification Tourismo M/3 tri-axle arrived from the Istanbul factory last Thursday (4 October).It will form part of a heavily Tourismo-oriented display by EvoBus (UK) at Euro Bus Expo (EBE), although the dealership recognises that the coach’s extensive capabilities can only be fully appreciated by driving it.“The purpose of this vehicle is to demonstrate the safety technology that we can offer,” says Director Mercedes-Benz Sales Marcus Watts.“There has never been a right-hand drive Safety Coach before, but we believe that the time is right to promote what can be achieved in the Tourismo. There is no huge cost to any of the functionality that it showcases.”The coach was specified as a 13m tri-axle because a short wheelbase and rear steering give a small turning circle. The M/3 thus best suits the demonstration of stability benefits that will soon come to all two- and three-axle Tourismos.Flagship functionCentrepiece of the Safety Coach is Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA4). In terms of hardware, ABA4 exhibits no difference to ABA3 barring some sensors. Instead, improvements have been achieved via software upgrades. “ABA4 is a whole-vehicle braking product and not just for emergencies,” says Mr Watts. It assists stability in a wide variety of scenarios, but it has one headline function.ABA3 included detection of larger frontal obstructions. With ABA4, that now extends to pedestrians, which will be useful in urban environments where humans may step from between parked vehicles. Action taken by the coach begins with it informing the driver and, if required, culminates with an automatic braking application.To prevent collisions, ABA4 uses two radar detectors. A long-range unit picks up obstructions and multi-track vehicles at distances of up to to 250m, and pedestrians from 80m. The short-range radar works up at to 70m. It also detects pedestrians and vehicles to the sides ahead.Standard soonTo foster take-up of ABA4, all Tourismos built with the Powershift 3 automated manual gearbox from 1 January 2019 will have it as standard. EvoBus (UK) has already sold a number of them. Work between Daimler and ZF is underway to extend ABA4 to coaches with the EcoLife gearbox. There is currently no date for that to be completed, but it will be at some point.Latest-model Tourismo has extensive front collision protection measuresMr Watts reports that the Powershift 3 is growing in popularity. routeone was very briefly able to drive the Safety Coach last week, and one of the transmission’s positives is the ‘creep’ function that it displays when the brake is released and before the accelerator is pressed.Naturally, the demonstrator includes various other functions. Among them is Attention Assist, which monitors the driver’s behaviour and alerts him or her should they become tired.A traffic light-style reversing indicator within the rear-view mirrors, with bulbs that flash red, yellow or green depending on the distance to an obstruction, is also fitted. Optional Side Guard Assist will be added to the Tourismo range later.Physical hardwareMuch of the technology in the Safety Coach comes from the S-Class car, but the Tourismo also includes collision protection should an accident be unavoidable.That involves twin crumple zones at the lower front that absorb kinetic energy. Additionally, the Tourismo is designed to protect the driver by moving them, along with the pedal box and the seat, upwards and backwards away from the impact.Mr Watts says he is unaware of any other manufacturer that offers frontal collision protection to the extent that Daimler does in the Tourismo. “I believe that this is the safest coach in the market,” he adds.And there is every chance that ABA4 will soon become a common part of the coaching scene here. In an unprecedented development, the UK is currently the worldwide lead market for the new Tourismo, and EvoBus (UK) expects that good performance to continue into 2019.The Safety Coach will be prominent at EBE. So too will other examples of the Tourismo range as EvoBus (UK) continues to promote both the coach and everything that it offers to go with it. You can see them all at the NEC Birmingham from 30 October-1 November.www.evobus.com/enrouteone commentSafety has become a major consideration for vehicle OEMs over the past decade. Much of that focus has been driven by legislation; an age of a growing sense of corporate responsibility has also contributed.The Tourismo Safety Coach demonstrates what can be achieved in terms of driver, passenger and third party protection. Daimler Buses is to be commended for making its flagship ABA4 product standard fit from 2019. There is no doubt much else in the pipeline for ABA5.Many other technology-related products are available that extend well into the fleet management sphere. Daimler does not have a monopoly on these, illustrating that coaches are becoming cleverer as well as safer.The elephant in the room remains automation. ABA4 undoubtedly forms part of the roadmap towards it – but will true self-driving coach ever become reality?last_img read more

Community forum scheduled on utility’s long-term energy plan

first_img Twitter Google+ Previous articleMore than 24,000 pounds of beef recalled, ruled “unfit for consumption”Next article2 Indiana projects halted by border wall funding shift Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. (Photo supplied/Indiana-Michigan Power) BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A community forum will be held in Benton Harbor to allow Indiana Michigan Power Co. customers to comment on the utility’s long-term plan to meet residential and business needs.Michigan’s Public Service Commission says the Oct. 7 meeting will be held at Lake Michigan College. The Fort Wayne, Indiana-based utility has about 129,000 customers in Michigan.Commission staff will offer a presentation at the forum on the integrated resource planning process and highlights of Indiana Michigan Power’s proposed plan which is pending before commissioners.Utility-developed integrated resource plans are required under the state’s energy laws and map out how companies will meet the future electric needs of their customers. Twitter IndianaLocalMichiganNews Community forum scheduled on utility’s long-term energy plan Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp By Associated Press – September 10, 2019 0 280 WhatsApp Facebook Google+ Pinterestlast_img read more

Crash in Elkhart results in life-threatening injuries

first_img Pinterest Previous articleMichiana Crime Stoppers asking for tips leading to four fugitivesNext articleWiegand Family Officially Files Lawsuit Against Royal Caribbean Carl Stutsman Twitter Twitter Facebook IndianaLocalNews Facebook Google+ WhatsApp (Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth) Drivers on State Road 19 in Elkhart this morning had some trouble to contend with after a bad crash that resulted in life threatening injuries.The crash involved two vehicles around 5:30 at the intersection of SR 19 and County Rd. 28. What exactly led to the crash is still being determined, but authorities report that one of those cars ended up crashing into a home.the person with life threatening injuries, a 21 year old Mishawaka man, had to be airlifted to the hospital in South Bend following the crash, and a 28 year old Nappanee man was taken to Elkhart General for back pain. By Carl Stutsman – December 11, 2019 0 376 Google+ Pinterest Crash in Elkhart results in life-threatening injuries WhatsApplast_img read more