Distracted driving worse on sunny days

first_imgHaving a near-collision while driving nearly doubles in good weather, due to the dangers of distracted driving, says new research. Analytics experts, at professional driver safety and compliance solutions provider Lytx, studied 2.5bn miles driven from September 2011 to April 2013.They found 8.6 near-collisions for every collision in clear weather and 4.6 near-collisions for every collision in inclement weather.It says that drivers are not as alert and engage in distracted driving more often when the weather is clear.last_img

National Express upgrades Stansted Airport services

first_imgNational Express (NX) has made enhancements to its London-Stansted Airport services, with faster journey times and more frequent departures.It has added 44 departures and a new route A8. Alongside a revision to the existing A9, the changes increase capacity by 25% (around 2m seats a year). Airport-bound passengers have 176 services a day.The move comes after NX has seen passenger volumes on its Stansted routes A6 and A9 grow by 10% year-on-year.NX partly attributes the growth to its partnership with Ryanair which means passengers can buy coach tickets on the Ryanair.com website and on-board flights to Stansted.The new A8 runs 50 times a day from Liverpool Street to Stansted Airport in a loop via Bow, Mile End, Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, not calling at Stratford – reducing journey times by up to 15 minutes.The altered A9 now runs directly between Stratford and Stansted Airport, no longer travelling round the loop to Liverpool Street. Meanwhile the A6 service continues to run from London Victoria.last_img read more

Bid for return of impounded ‘trial’ minibus fails

first_imgTC Rooney refuses to return minibus impounded on a ‘trial run’ for a school contractTraffic Commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney has refused to return an impounded minibus that was on a trial run in July in order to obtain a school contract.Chew Valley School was where the DVSA check was madeThe TC was told that on 18 July 2017, the 16-seat minibus, driven by Andrew Gingell, was the subject of a check by DVSA at Chew Valley School. The vehicle was on a journey from Brislington to Chew Valley School and was carrying passengers.Mr Gingell indicated he owned the vehicle. He agreed he was the owner and driver of the vehicle.When asked why the vehicle was not run under a PSV O-Licence he said “because it is not for reward or gain”. He said he was paying for the fuel himself.On 25 July 2017, Traffic Examiner (TE) Richard Francis took a telephone call from Lorraine Pearce, a parent of a child carried on the minibus. She said that Mr Gingell charged a daily fee per passenger. Seeking the return of the vehicle, Mr Gingell said that he had originally facilitated the school contract for Tony Sheppard. Because of that, he believed that Lorraine Pearce mistakenly thought it was he, Mr Gingell, who was operating it.The impounded vehicle was family transport. He had undertaken the school journeys in the detained vehicle for about a week and a half. The passengers on the bus were his son and his son’s friends, about six or seven in total.Felicity Hine, for DVSA, pointed out that that was at odds with the evidence of the TE who counted 16 or 17 children leaving the bus. Mr Gingell strongly denied being paid.In reply to the TC, Mr Gingell said that Tony Sheppard had started to run the service in early 2015. The contract was with parents. Mr Shepherd stopped running the service sometime in 2017. He decided to try to run the service himself. Since having the vehicle detained, he had started an application for an O-Licence on the online system but had not submitted it pending the outcome of the hearing.Referring to the statement of DVSA Vehicle Examiner David Rosier, giving an account of an encounter with a minibus driven by Mr Gingell at Bath racecourse on 4 August 2017, Mr Gingell said that he had borrowed a minibus to take a group of friends to the racecourse. He had dropped his friends and was heading home to get changed into more appropriate clothes, later to return to join the group.In his decision, the TC said that it was common ground that Mr Gingell had taken some payment for at least some of the journeys. Whether he took, or intended to take, payment for the journey on 18 July, it was his own evidence that he was running the service on that day as a “trial” because he wanted the contract in the future.He had no hesitation in finding that the operation on 18 July 2017 “went beyond the bounds of mere social kindness”. It was a systemic operation intended, at the very least, to deliver a future contract.If it was not for “hire”, and he was far from sure that was the case, it was certainly intended to be for “reward”, the reward being a future school transport contract. The ground for the return of the vehicle was not made out.last_img read more

Durham tourism conference focuses on food

first_imgMichelle Gorman and Ivor Stolliday of Visit County Durham with locally-made goods County Durham’s annual tourism conference had a theme of ‘Made in Durham’, and brought together 100 food and drink producers, artists, crafters and tourism businesses.The conference explored how collaborations between local producers and tourism businesses can be mutually beneficial.The speakers talked about how to use attractions as platforms for the distribution of local produce.Michelle Gorman, Managing Director of Visit County Durham, says: “It was great to see such a fantastic turn-out, which is an indication of the commitment of Durham’s businesses to explore how using locally-sourced produce and products strengthens our appeal and creates a unique Durham experience for our visitors.”last_img read more

Glasgow sets out plans for low emission zone

Glasgow City Council’s Environment and Sustainability Committee has released details of its proposals for Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone (LEZ), planned to start on 31 December.The requirement will be Euro 6, with a five-year lead-in period.The zone will cover the city’s central core, bounded by the Clyde to the south, M8 to the west and north, and High Street to the east.The requirement will be Euro 6, with a five-year lead-in periodA recent modification includes a single corridor from the M8 to enable buses that do not serve the city centre to reach Buchanan Bus Station.The first phase of the scheme, addressing buses only, will be enforced by a Traffic Regulation Condition overseen by the Traffic Commissioner.The second phase will cover all vehicles.The scheme is still at the consultation stage.The LEZ proposals recognize that around 1,000 buses using the city centre are non-compliant. Currently 10-12% of buses in the city centre are Euro 6.As a result, phased introduction will take place with 20% of buses required to be compliant by 31 December 2018, then 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% each December afterwards until 2022.In addition, work to speed up journeys – reducing congestion and therefore emissions from slow moving or stationary buses – will take place using a range of bus priority measures.The plans also envisage using some of the £10.8m the Scottish Government has allocated across the country for LEZ delivery, for retrofit programmes. It has also provided £1.6m in 2017/18 to deliver the Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit Programme Phase 1.It is expected that operators will meet the LEZ requirements by a mix of new vehicle purchases and retrofit.Find out more: Report is here read more

Abellio installs collision-avoidance technology

first_imgAbellio London has launched a major trial of safety technology aimed at reducing collisions with cyclists, motorcycles, pedestrians and other vehicles.Mobileye collision-avoidance technology is installed on all buses on three of its London routes. The system provides audio and visual alerts to assist the driver in preventing or mitigating a collision.It warns of an impending collision, if the distance from the vehicle ahead becomes unsafe, and of exceeding the speed limit.The trial found that avoidable collisions were reduced by 29%, and injuries from avoidable collisions were reduced by 60%.Abellio operates 48 routes across London and runs more than 740 vehicles. It operates one of the cleanest fleets, with Euro 6 and diesel- and electric-hybrid buses.last_img

Go-Ahead to double number of apprentices

first_imgThe Go-Ahead Group has announced that it will double the number of apprentices in its ranks over the course of 2019, as Go-Ahead London opens a new recruitment and training academy in South London.Almost 500 apprentices are currently training with Go-Ahead’s bus and rail companies, with a target to train 1,000 recruits by the end of the year.Go-Ahead London’s new academy in Camberwell will be used by the company to deliver on-site training for the next generation of bus drivers in the city. It is also the first time Go-Ahead London will be training bus drivers under its apprenticeship programme.last_img

The Harrogate Bus Company scoops local business award

first_imgThe Harrogate Bus Company has been named as Best Large Company of the Year at the Harrogate Advertiser Excellence in Business Awards.The award is presented to the best company based in and around the town, which employs over 50 people. The winning team at The Harrogate Bus Company’s Starbeck headquarters includes 204 drivers, engineering and support teams, and head office staff.The operator’s CEO, Alex Hornby, says: “Every person in our Harrogate team contributes to our shared success and our people are at the heart of everything we do. This award recognises their hard work to deliver the highest quality of service.”last_img

Time runs short for traps deal with US

first_imgBut there is clearly a long way to go before an accommodation with Washington can be reached, particularly as foreign ministers have insisted that any deal with the US should be “at least equivalent” to that concluded with Russia and Canada.An official at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which campaigned for EU governments to reject the Canada/Russia accord, suggested the Commission was far from out of the woods. “We could still end up with the worst of both worlds; a bad agreement with Canada and Russia and a trade war with the US,” she said.Washington has threatened immediate action in the World Trade Organisation if the EU implements a ban on its lucrative fur exports.The US argues that the federal government does not have the authority to conclude such a deal over the heads of the individual states and – even more crucially – it refuses to accept the automatic prohibition of the jaw-type leghold traps at a certain date, as is written into the agreement with the other two countries.Washington insists the rules for leghold traps should be the same as for all other types – that they should only be phased out if they fail tests for humaneness, and viable alternatives can be found. US officials reject suggestions that the deal with Canada and Russia will necessarily force Washington to be more flexible. “We are eager to talk, but there does not seem to be much room for compromise,” said one.Commission sources believe one way out would be to begin testing in the expectation that leghold traps would fail to reach the standard. But a US diplomat said: “It’s a nice thought, but there are many species covered by the agreement and it will take a long time. Apart from anything else, I’m not sure alternatives exist.” But serious talks will not start until the beginning of September, by which time the clock will be ticking towards a ban on fur imports from the US.The list of countries exempted from the terms of the 1991 import ban is due to be published on 6 September. Any country not listed, including the US at the moment, will face a ban three months later.“We decided not to publish the list of exempted countries straight away as a signal that we wanted to sort something out with the Americans,” said a senior Commission official. If transatlantic talks fail, the Commission is more optimistic about defending its stance in the WTO now that rules have been internationally recognised. “The fact that a standard now exists means this is no longer comparable with the US Helms-Burton legislation,” said a trade official.last_img read more

Bolkestein pressured to relax anti-Mafia stance

first_imgAt the same time, they fear setting up thedata sharing network through a formal directive would mean authorities would have to pore over thousands of pages of information concerning gangsters.Bolkestein’s calls for a data-sharing network came in response to claims by Italian public works minister Pietro Lunardi that “one would have to live with the Mafia” when carrying out the raft of public works projects planned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Italian MEP Armando Cossutta said Lunardi’s statement had “extremely serious political and legal implications” – and that Italy could be acting in breach of EU laws.But Bolkestein said Italy had always demonstrated its full commitment in favour of the fight against the Mafia. Contracts for public works and for purchases of goods and services by public authorities and public utilities account for around 14% of the Union’s GDP. Draft rules launched last year by Bolkestein call for a ban on all organisations that have been judged to be part of the criminal underworld from any public contract. He said last month the Commission would also call for member states to set up an information-sharing network to stop known gangs finding lucrative public contracts abroad – where awarding authorities may be unaware of their criminal links.But EU diplomats say governments fear public authorities would face a huge administrative burden if they were forced to filter out all would-be contractors that were members of criminal gangs or had been found guilty of corruption or fraud.They say public bodies would be held liable for unwittingly awarding contracts to villains. They want the rules changed to say they should “not knowingly” award contracts to organised gangs – a far less onerous requirement.last_img read more