New direction for 2016 tourism show

first_imgAfter the success of last month’s Best of Britain & Ireland 2015 (BoBI), organiser Diversified Communications UK is making changes for 2016, after consultation with exhibitors and visitors.It becomes the British Tourism & Travel Show (BTTS), with the tagline ‘The very best of Britain and Ireland’. This subtle yet significant change “more accurately reflects its status as the must-attend event for the UK’s domestic tourism industry,” says the organiser.The 2016 show, at the NEC, Birmingham on 16-17 March, will boast an expanded free seminar programme, with the introduction of an additional new theatre. The line-up will include more than 25 leading industry speakers discussing the key issues, opportunities and hot topics facing the domestic tourism sector.The 2015 show welcomed 2,361 attendees and 250 exhibitors. Says BTTS Event Director David Maguire: “BoBI has a proud history serving the UK’s domestic tourism industry for over 20 years. It’s already by far the most important and effective business event for the sector. The new name more accurately reflects the strengths of the show.”last_img read more

Record number of First Bus drivers commended for skills with Fleet Elite awards

first_imgA record 921 drivers from First Bus have received a special commendation for their driving performance. The drivers, who are based across First Bus in the UK from Cornwall to Aberdeen, have been presented with ‘GreenRoad Fleet Elite Awards’, designed to reward and recognise the company’s safest and greenest drivers. The number of First Bus drivers to achieve the much heralded Fleet Elite status has increased by 13% since 2014 (817 drivers received Fleet Elite awards in 2014).All First Bus drivers are measured on their ‘DriveGreen’ performance – a unique system designed to provide customers with a safer, smoother journey, while also helping to reduce fuel consumption.A DriveGreen ‘traffic light’ monitor is fitted to vehicle dashboards on every First Bus vehicle, which helps show the driver how well they are driving.The monitor displays a static green light if the driver is driving at low risk, or flashes amber or red if a bus driver carries out an unwanted driving manoeuvre such as heavy braking or rapid acceleration. Points are given for each event and the fewer points a driver has, the better their DriveGreen score is. First Aberdeen Bus Driver, Sandra Cordiner, achieved the best score among all First Bus drivers in the UK for an impressive third consecutive year. She says: “It’s really important to me that my customers enjoy their trip on the bus. DriveGreen helps make journeys smoother, safer and more enjoyable.“Since First Bus introduced DriveGreen a few years ago it has certainly helped me improve my driving skills – I’ve even had customers compliment me on how smooth their journey is. Now when I am driving the car in my time off I continue to use the DriveGreen principles and drive more smoothly – it’s safer and saves petrol.”Sandra achieved the best score among all First Bus drivers in the UK for the third year in a rowDave Alexander, Divisional Director, at First Bus, says: “Our drivers have embraced our groundbreaking DriveGreen technology and as a result are providing customers with better, safer, more comfortable journeys and reducing our carbon footprint.  Dougie Portwood, Global Change Manager with GreenRoad says: “We would like to congratulate all First Bus drivers who achieved GreenRoad Fleet Elite awards in 2015.“First Bus continues to be a top safety performer with some of the tightest thresholds for safety events in our marketplace so attaining Fleet Elite status again this year is a major achievement. We are proud to support First Bus by helping drivers continuously improve their driving standards, creating a safer, greener and more comfortable experience for First Bus customers.”last_img read more

Scania Higer partnership continuing to grow

first_imgNew factory in Suzhou will produce the Touring, which is popular in UKScania and Higer cemented the nine-year relationship that spawned the successful Touring coach by opening a new, dedicated factory in China on Wednesday last week (9 November).Built in Suzhou in eastern China, the plant represents an equivalent investment of £23.5m and can produce over 1,000 coaches per year, including the Touring.So far, the partnership has seen the production of 2,035 coaches that have been exported to over 40 countries around the world, including the UK.Scania Great Britain has reported strong sales of the cost-effective Touring, which is mounted on a chassis manufactured in Sweden bodied in China by Higer and shipped to Antwerp, where internal fitting out takes place.Last week’s ceremony was attended by Scania President and CEO Henrik Henriksson, Higer General Manager Huang Shuping and Consul General of Sweden Lisette Lindahl.www.scania.co.uklast_img read more

Leons Coaches looks forward to 2018’s season

first_imgFor coach operators, 2018’s holiday season is just round the corner. Bookings at one started on Sunday, and it is seeing signs that next year may be one of the strongest that it has seen for some timeTurnout at Leons’ holiday event was ‘the best since 2012’, operator saysThe all-important booking period for 2018’s holidays is already here, and Staffordshire operator Leons Coaches anticipates a strong season after an excellent turnout for its programme launch in the county town on Sunday (5 November).Such was the interest from over 220 clients that parking was at a premium, and visitors were able to meet drivers and managers and view some of Leons’ coaches, including two flagship Neoplan Starliners. Hotels and other attractions were also represented.Director Robert Douglas says that although 2017 has not been the easiest year for coach holidays thanks to uncertainty surrounding Sterling, Sunday’s attendance gives heart for the coming season.Many of Leons’ tours are already booking well. Planned trips to Roses on Spain’s Costa Brava are particularly popular, as are holidays to England’s south coast. But each year is not a repeat of the previous programme, and Leons constantly adapts its offering to suit demand.“Tours to London in 2017 have been less popular than usual thanks to various reasons, but we have seen strong interest already in those planned for 2018,” says Robert.“At one point on Sunday we had a queue of people waiting to book holidays. While it’s only a small rise, I believe that last week’s interest rate increase has driven customers’ willingness to spend. Of course, the weather plays a part in how many people attend, but this event has been the busiest since we held the first one in 2012, and that leaves us looking positively at 2018.”Platinum classLeons’ holiday programme is split between standard breaks and those marketed as Platinum. The latter typically use four-star hotels, although they are not extravagantly priced.Besides UK and Irish holidays, continental tours continue to be prominent. Alongside Spain, 2018 will see coaches travel as far as Austria and Italy; the operator reports that while low-cost airlines have hit European tours to a degree, demand still exists.Besides promoting its programme via a mailing list, the internet and its holiday show, Leons’ coaches act as strong ambassadors for the brand. Of a total of 44 in its fleet and that of associated operator Happy Days, around 14 are dedicated to touring.Modern and distinctive fleet is another strong advertising tool, says LeonsOldest are two Neoplan Starliners from 2014. Ordinarily, tour coaches are replaced at three years, but Robert explains that the Starliners are being retained for a further season for one reason; in his opinion, no manufacturer has yet produced a suitable replacement.Van Hool and VDL account for the remainder of the fleet, but Leons is set to welcome two Yutong TC9s for touring in 2018.It took its first TC9 in 2015 and the midicoach has performed well. Additionally, Robert says that the long-awaited super-high Yutong recently displayed in left-hand drive form at Busworld is likely to be of significant interest for 2019.“We have not yet ordered any full-size coaches for 2018, but we will do so soon. Going forward, and subject to pricing, I see the super-high Yutong as being a legitimate challenger of European brands in the touring segment.”Why an event?In an age where even older travellers are often internet-savvy, why does Leons hold a yearly holiday event? It delivers a number of benefits, says the company, and many customers welcome the opportunity to meet Leons’ staff and to view its coaches. They also appreciate the opportunity to speak to representatives of hotels and attractions such as Oswaldtwistle Mills.Another equally significant reason became apparent during the time that routeone was present. Among attendees were a number that have not yet travelled on a coach holiday. The event gave them the chance to ask questions of drivers and explore vehicles’ amenities.Centrepieces of the display were the two Starliners, and comparatively minor aspects such as drinks and toilet provision, along with the method of seat allocation and the luggage allowance, were points of interest to many potential newcomers.“We schedule the event carefully; I wouldn’t consider a date any later than the first weekend of November, because customers’ thoughts are turning to Christmas,” says Robert.But if nothing else, Leons’ holiday show proves that coach touring is still buoyant, even if things have changed from how they were done in the past.Couple strong advance bookings with a prospering private hire operation that fills space around holiday departures, and it’s little wonder that the family-run operator came away from the day with an air of positivity.last_img read more

‘Wonderful’ driver helps vulnerable boy

first_imgSouthampton mother, Sarah Mears, has praised Bluestar bus driver Mike Rogers, after he helped her 12-year-old son. Pictured (L to R): Brother Callum, dad Scott, Bluestar driver Mike Rogers, Taylor, and mum SarahTaylor – who has nine different conditions – accidentally got on the wrong bus from school. Although he realised it was the wrong way, “he was too worried to say anything,” says Sarah.“Mike called me and reassured me that he would make sure Taylor got on the right bus home.“I couldn’t be more grateful to this wonderful driver.”Mike added: “I could see Taylor was upset and needed help. My role is to ensure the safety of my passengers – and this was just an example of that.I don’t think any of us as human beings would leave a vulnerable child to navigate their own way home, so I have no doubt any of my colleagues would done the same.”last_img read more

Coakleys banned from registering local services for one year

first_imgIn granting a six-vehicle national licence to father and son Edward Constantine Coakley and Edward Neil Coakley, after revoking the six-vehicle national licence held by the family’s firm, Mackenzie Bus, Traffic Commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken has banned the partnership from registering any local services for a year. The implementation of the revocation of the company’s licence was delayed for two months solely to allow for alternative arrangements to be made for passengers who used the company’s registered local services.The firm, whose sole Director was Clare Coakley, and the partners had been called before the TC at an Edinburgh Public Inquiry. In 2017 the five-vehicle licence held by Mackenzie Bus No. 2 was revoked by the TC and an application by Coakley Brothers (Scotland), trading as ARC Travel, was refused by the TC both on financial grounds [routeone/Court Report/9 August 2017].The TC revoked the licence held by Mackenzie Bus on grounds of lack of financial standing and material change.In granting the partnership licence the TC made it subject to the condition preventing the partnership from registering local services for at least one year because of the level of timetable non-compliance in relation to the local services operated by Mackenzie Bus licence and Edward Constantine Coakley’s involvement in the management of the services.last_img read more

First PSVAR compliant Yutong TC9 midi completed

first_imgYutong supplier Pelican Bus and Coach has announced that it can offer a PSVAR compliant version of the TC9 midicoach.Conversion of the first example is currently being completed and it is scheduled for delivery to the customer, Sanders Coaches of Holt, soon.Preparatory work, including fitment of the additional door and a ‘letterbox’ in a luggage bay door, has been undertaken by Yutong in China, but the conversion was completed after the coach arrived in the UK. That includes fitment of the Hidrel Gobel lift and front, side and rear displays.“We have supplied accessible TC9s previously, but the coach for Sanders is the first to full PSVAR specification,” says Pelican Sales Manager Bob Elliott.“Now that there is a real need for PSVAR compliance across the coach market, we felt it was the right time to introduce a version of the TC9 that meets that need.”Pelican has five more TC9s in stock that have received the same preparatory work in China. It will upgrade those to either full PSVAR specification or a simpler accessible layout depending on customer requirements.Later this year the extent of preparation work undertaken in China will increase, meaning that only the lift will need to be installed in the UK.Additionally, Pelican can retrofit existing non-accessible Yutong TC9 models to achieve PSVAR compliance by using a kit of parts. It have the work carried out and obtain a PSVAR certificate when it is complete.last_img read more

Elkhart officer suspended for unbecoming, immoral conduct

first_imgIndianaLocalNews WhatsApp Previous articleSuspect in Benton Harbor shooting death found deadNext articleCurtis Hill among AG’s asking to reslassify fentanyl-related drugs as Schedule 1 95.3 MNCNews/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel is your breaking news and weather station for northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan. (Photo supplied/ABC 57) It’s two days suspension for an Elkhart police officer for his role in an alcohol-related incident last year, involving gunshots fired from a moving vehicle, that led to two Goshen officers resigning from the force.It happened nearly one year ago when a Goshen officer heard gunshots and then saw a pickup truck, traveling along Elkhart Road near County Road 17.The officer stopped the truck and found fellow Goshen officer Brody Brown behind the wheel with Corporal Leonard Dolshenko and Goshen sergeant Kyle Kalb in the passenger seats.Elkhart Police Chief Chris Snyder said Dolshenko committed conduct unbecoming an officer, “immoral conduct” and drug and alcohol violations.Snyder said Dolshenko refused to help and was too drunk to know who fired the shots. No criminal charges were filed against him.Brown pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge. He and Kalb resigned. Google+ Google+ Pinterest Elkhart officer suspended for unbecoming, immoral conduct Facebook By 95.3 MNC – December 12, 2019 0 302 WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

Fresh bid to end ‘unfair’ airport fees

first_imgBut transport officials have avoided any mathematical formula for assessing ‘reasonable’ dues in a bid to make their framework as flexible as possible.Airports in the EU still often offer their national carrierscut-price charges which go well beyond the normal rebates for their best customers. Zaventem airport in Brussels has already faced action by the Commission’s Directorate-General for competition (DGIV) for favouring Sabena with heavy discounts, and other airports are also being scrutinised for possible competition abuses.The Commission’s charging framework would permit higher fees for peak-time use of airports, a normal practice in the industry. But it is not clear to what extent the measure would prevent airports from using their charges to discriminate in favour of aircraft types or start-up services.Fees are normally related to the aircraft’s weight and the number of passengers carried.However, some managements – especially those at Europe’s most congested airports – have floated the idea of imposing significantly heavier fees on smaller regional aircraft in order to price them out of the market and make space for larger, more lucrative, aircraft.This has prompted warnings from the European Regional Airlines Association that its members’ key services linking outlying cities to major centres could be threatened. The new directive is designed to help put an end to a series of discriminatory pricing practices which have continued despite the imminent arrival of full EU airline liberalisation.Airlines are often charged cheaper take-off and landing fees for national flights than for European services, even though the same type of aircraft is being used and there is very little difference in the administrative costs involved for the airport.The three-pronged measure to be proposed by Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock – calling for non-discrimination, transparency in pricing and a “reasonable relationship between charges and costs” – should also help airlines fight favoured treatment for national flag-carriers. Others have questioned what the consequences would be for subsidised charges at airports which sometimes benefit regional flights.Europe’s airport lobby said the Commission was pushing at an open door with its demands. A spokesman for the Airports Council International said more transparency in pricing would act in airports’ favour by showing that many charges were currently cross-subsidised by other operations, such as duty-free sales. He added that liberalisation of the aviation sector militated against discriminatory pricing and in favour of airports offering all newcomers the best possible deal.The proposals are due to be discussed by the full Commission on 2 April.Meanwhile, the head of German airline Lufthansa AG this week predicted a major fare war, similar to that seen in the United States in the 1980s, after Europe’s skies are fully liberalised on 1 April.Lufthansa management board chairman Jürgen Weber predicted that a new wave of upstart airlines would take on existing carriers, just as some 150 new airlines emerged in the US after deregulation.But he warned that, in the end, consumers might be hurtby the deregulation move since many companies would not survive the fight. This could lead to a small group of major airlines controlling routes and demanding higher fares than before.center_img Dawn of open skies p27last_img read more

Cleaning up a patented mess

first_imgEarlier attempts at creating a Community Patent ended in failure, blocked by a few national governments. Far from boosting the EU’s economic competitiveness, they became symbolic of the EU’s failure to implement the Lisbon Agenda. But does this week’s consultation paper signal the Commission’s intention to give ground and to contemplate alternatives to an EU-wide patent?Businesses and lawyers have urged the Commission to back a 2003 proposal, drafted by countries belonging to the European Patent Office (EPO) – which includes EU members and other states such as Switzerland and Turkey – to create a single legal system for enforcing patent rights. This proposal, known as the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), would mean patent-holders could challenge infringement of their rights in one court and the judgement would be valid across the EU. But the suggestion has been blocked by the Commission on the grounds that it should retain exclusive jurisdiction in this area.For European business, the advantages of a pan-European judicial system are plain. It would dramatically cut the costs for patent holders and could boost their competitiveness vis-ˆ-vis other innovators, particularly in Japan or the US, which face much lower costs both in applying for patents and enforcing them. “The current patent system is working and the industry uses it, but there could be huge improvements,” said Ilias Konteas from European business association UNICE. “Irrespective of whether there is agreement on the Community Patent, the EPLA could be part of those improvements.”The EPLA scheme also has wide support from European judges and lawyers despite the legal difficulties involved in changing national patent law to fit the new system. In October, 24 top patent judges signed a resolution backing a proposal based on the EPLA.“Idealists would push for the Community Patent but I believe, and so do many others, that realistically the EPLA is the only alternative and it is one that would go a long way towards achieving the goals,” said Nigel Jones, head of intellectual property at Linklaters law firm in London.Though officially the Commission is still throwing its weight behind reaching an agreement on the Community Patent, a spokesman said that a shift on the EPLA “remains one of the big questions”.“But obviously we wouldn’t be launching a consultation if we didn’t think changes were going to have to be made,” he said.If the EPLA were implemented, it would also go some way to pacifying those, such as German Christian Democrat MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne, who have called for the alignment of national rules on patents. This would ensure that courts judging a case would be likely to come to the same conclusion – something that is not currently the case. All observers apart from the Commission seem convinced of the futility of pushing to establish an EU-wide patent. The latter idea dates back to 1975 when a proposal created total deadlock because it would have meant companies paying for translation into all EU languages and would have allowed one national court to condemn a patent throughout the EU.After decades of debate, the Commission in 2000 put forward a new proposal and national governments reached a compromise in March 2003 which would have the EPO issue patents that would be translated only into English, French or German and then in all languages within two years. A single court would have been exclusively responsible for infringement claims.But later that year, EU capitals failed to agree on the delay for translating patent claims and the legal validity of translations with errors.While France, Britain and Germany backed the two-year period, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and most new member states feared that their countries’ translation businesses would suffer and demanded a shorter time period. Ministers rejected a proposed compromise of nine months in March 2004. Similar political difficulties apply to another solution which was proposed in 2000 by countries that are signed up to the EPO to cut translation costs by 50%, known as the ‘London agreement’. Under this, members would waive their right to require a full translation into one of their national languages.Signed by 11 of the then 28 (now 31) EPO members, the agreement can only come into force once the UK, France and Germany have ratified it and so far France is stalling.last_img read more