The requirement to wear face coverings whilst travelling on buses and also whilst at the railway station and on trains has prompted bus group Transdev to launch its own, unique, face coverings. We think though that we should remind passengers wearing them that they rick blending into the seat! The face coverings carry the same design pattern as the seats on some of the buses!
Alex Hornby, Transdev UK CEO told us: “The latest government guidance is a simple ‘ask’ of our customers, so everyone can travel with peace of mind. We’ve always set out to make our buses places people want to be seen, and the same unique touch of style we’ve become famous for has gone into creating unique face coverings, which are be available to our customers from at our bus stations in Yorkshire and Lancashire”.
Recognising that the Transdev face coverings could become a much sought-after item, Transdev is also making them available through an on-line ‘pop-up shop’. Visit shop.transdevbus.co.uk.
Proceeds from the sale of the 'All the colours of Transdev' face coverings will go to NHS Charities Together.
The Transdev face coverings are washable and reusable. They cost £2.50 each from Transdev travel shops and £4.50 each from the online shop.
We do think this is a great way of promoting an important travel message so well done to Alex and his team.
The last few months have seen us all adapting to life under ‘lockdown’ and then the gradual easing of restrictions. Businesses have been hit, millions of workers placed on the Government’s Furlough scheme, high streets emptied of shoppers, hotels and holiday areas closed and the transport sector faced with the biggest loss of passengers it have ever faced.
National Express and Megabus pulled the plug on its operations. Local bus services were reduced to the bare minimum and we were told that they were for ‘essential travel’ only. The same message applied to train services.
Despite train and local bus services returning to pre-‘lockdown’ levels, Social Distancing means that carrying capacities have been drastically reduced. AS typical double deck bus can currently only seat 20. A massive reduction from the normal 70+ carrying capacity.
In England the last few weeks has seen a quickening of the easing of ‘lockdown’. From July 4th the hospitality sector can re-open providing it is COVID-secure. The ‘Staycation’ is back on the cards (in England at least). The two metre rule is being relaxed (in England at least).
There is confusion. The rules in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland differ.
Already we hear that there is the view (wrongly) amongst some groups that ‘lockdown’ is over. It is not. It has been eased - there is a difference.
We all need to play our part to enable UK plc to get back to some semblance of normal. It could be many months - even years - before we return to the pre-COVID normal according to the experts. What we do know is that we need to get used to a ‘new normal’. For public transport use that currently means essential travel only and the wearing of face coverings. We have been appalled, however, to see people discard face coverings on the ground when they get off the bus, or leave the station. Everybody needs to play their part. Remember the actions you take protects me. The actions I take protects you.
If we all play our part we will all be taking the steps towards a more accessible and inclusive public transport provision.
We should all be aware that we are perhaps entering the most dangerous part of the COVID pandemic. If we let our guard down we risk COVID-19 ‘spikes’ and the real risk of a major second wave of the virus which could lead to another total lockdown. We personally doubt that transport operators would be able to sustain another ‘lockdown’.
We do hope that the actions we are all taking will provide real barriers to the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and that bus, coach and train services will be able to apply to take the gradual steps that are needed to get back to normality.
For coach operators running tours and excursions we believe the return towards normality will be more of a struggle. Social Distancing means that coach tours may initially be unviable but there is also a big ‘confidence’ issue to overcome.
We wish all bus, coach and train operators and their staff well as they ramp their services and tour programme up over the coming months.
The effects of the ‘lockdown’ have also impacted on Steven Knight Media.
|Having announced last year that we were ‘winding down’ our book publishing we had three more Fleet Handbooks planned covering the Stagecoach East, East Midlands and Oxfordshire fleets. In normal circumstances these would have been published as soon as we had details of Stagecoach’s 2020/21 new vehicle plans. The COVID-19 ‘lockdown’ meant that generally investment in new vehicles had been slashed. Over 50% of the three fleets were delicenced or mothballed. The ‘new normal’ for these companies is only now emerging and there are many temporary arrangements in place.
As a result all we can say is that we will look at publishing these books in late-Summer/early Autumn 2020. The books are fully designed and ready to print but we will continue to update then right through until the day, and the hour, that the files are sent to the printers. We will even substitute photographs is we receive something more newsworthy in the intervening period.
During the main ‘lockdown’ period there we received few messages on fleet information and many of our industry contacts were either furloughed or were fully focused on the day job. That is now improving and we are able to provide regular Fleet Ramblings updates. We would like to thank all the correspondents who have continued to provide us with information and also the photographers who have supplied us with photographs which they have also allowed us to use in Fleet Ramblings.
To fill the gap, we have published a number of archive images, which we hope you have enjoyed viewing. As Fleet Ramblings is now ramping up with regular updates, we have now ceased the archive images postings.
We have continued to update the Fleet Allocation documents on a regular basis, where we have been able to confirm details. There are a few companies where information is still awaited but we hope over the coming month to have the information up-to-date for all Stagecoach companies.
Over the last twelve months we have received numerous requests to return to a single document for the Stagecoach company allocations. From July that is what we will do. We will ensure that the file size is the smallest possible to enable fact downloading.
Finally, thank you all for your support.
The West Midlands PTE's first attempt at a timetable book for Coventry issued in 1975, plus a couple of other printed items from around the same time
We have recently located a number of items from our early career in the bus industry.
Coventry Transport was taken over by the West Midlands PTE in April 1974 but it was over 12 months later when the PTE published the first timetable book for what had become the East Division of the PTE. No glossy, high value, book here though. Although the introduction pages were typeset the main timetable pages were taken straight from the master typewritten timetables that formed part of the service registration documents that were photocopied and sent to the Traffic Commissioners. Like most of Coventry Transport's and early WMPTE East Division's printing at the time it was printed by Parbury’s of Raglan Street in Coventry.
From the following year we have an East Division fare table, which again was taken from the typewritten master sheets. Our example table is for the 159 Coventry-Birmingham route which shows that the single fare in 1976 between Coventry and Birmingham was 35p with a single journey from Coventry to Meriden (Green) coating 15p.
There were few ‘filler’ adverts use in timetable books at the time but a regular one promoted the PTE’s Private Hire operation. At the time there was dedicated Private Hire section in the PTE's East Division Schedules Office in Coventry which looked after local Private Hire activity.
Our trawl of our archive material has also uncovered a couple of books of pre-paid tickets. On Monobus routes passengers would put one of the tickets from the book into a ‘cancellator’ as they boarded whilst on crew-worked routes would hand the ticket to the Conductor, who would cancel it.
As the railway network gears up for an increase in passenger numbers from next week with the opening of non-essential retail from Monday June 15th, we caught up with Avanti West Coast to find out how their train services are coping.
We are told that around 200 train services a day are operating as against the normal 312 timetabled services with average loading between 20 and 30 passengers per train. The West Coast operator is operating a reservation system and says that reservations are increasing at around 10% per week but this is from a very low base figure. Thec hange is likely to see a few more train services restored to the London-West Midlands route.
The next major uplift is likely to take place in early July when the number of Avanti West Coast departures from London’s Euston station will increase from six to eight which will see the three-trains-an-hour pattern restored to the Birmingham and Manchester routes.
An Avanti west Coast spokesman has confirmed that the branding of the Pendolino trains into the Avanti livery will ramp up in the next few weeks with Aura Graphics undertaking the work at various depots. The plan is for a minimum of two sets to be completed each week.
The company has also confirmed that Class and set numbers have now been allocated for the Hitachi IET trains that are due to be added to the fleet. The bi-mode sets will be Class 805 (805001-013) and the seven car electric sets will be Class 807 (807001-010).
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.