News in Brief
New MAN minibus
MAN Truck & Bus is to introduce a new light commercial van, of which there will be a minibus version. Designated as MAN TGE, the new range of MAN light commercial vehicles was developed by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and will be built together with its twin Volkswagen Crafter in the newly-built plant in Wrzesnia, Poland. This cooperation is expected by both brands to create strategic benefits in acquiring new groups of customers. The MAN TGE will be presented at IAA 2016 and will be available from 2017.
Michelin’s Ballymena plant to close
As part of a Europe wide reorganisation package, Michelin is to shut down its tyre factory in Ballymena in 2018. The manufacturer said the decision was made due to difficulties the site has been experiencing for several years: aggressive competition and manufacturing overcapacity on the truck tyre market, heavy logistics costs due to its location and high production costs principally due to the price of energy. The Ballymena factory currently employs 860 people.
Buses minister for UK Bus Awards
Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones MP, is to be the keynote speaker at the UK Bus Awards Annual Presentation Ceremony, to be held at the Ballroom on the South Bank in London on 24 November. Guest of honour at the Ceremony will be Jeff Halliwell, Chair of Transport Focus. He will present the prizes to the Gold Award winners.
Perth is Coach Friendly
Perth has received CPT’s ‘Coach Friendly’ status. The accolade acknowledges the city’s commitment to understanding the requirements of coaches and welcoming their drivers and passengers to the city centre. It is the first time the status has been awarded to a place in Scotland.
Gold award for Arriva North East
Arriva North East has been accredited with Gold Investors in People status; described as an achievement of ‘world class best practice’, it means that a company is considered to have the highest standards of people management and development. The company, which has over 1,500 employees from depots in Ashington, Blyth, Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, Stockton, Redcar and Whitby, is now considered to be in the top tier of companies to work for across the country.
First supports charity minibuses
First in Leeds has announced a partnership with local charity, Bramley Elderly Action (BEA), to assist in the running of its three minibuses. The vehicles play a vital role in helping support local older people to remain active and independent. FirstBus, which has a major depot in Bramley, will supply fuel, clean the minibuses and will also give information and training to BEA’s volunteer drivers. The company will also look at other ways to support BEA.
Pop on the Metro
Following its roll out on buses in the north east, the region’s transport authority, Nexus, has rolled out its Pop ‘pay as you go’ smartcard on the Tyne and Wear Metro light rail system. The card’s smart system keeps track of journeys made and stops charging once a guaranteed daily price cap has been reached for the zones used. Outside the Nexus area, the card can be used on Arriva services in Northumberland together with some Go North East and Stanley Travel services in County Durham and some Stagecoach services in the Tees Valley. The number of these routes will continue to grow as bus companies introduce Pop alongside their own smart products.
Last of the NCT Tridents
Nottingham City Transport (NCT) has decommissioned the last of its 54 Dennis Trident double deckers. The first one arrived in March 1999 and was the first low floor double decker in the city. The majority were withdrawn by 2012, but three newer and more accessible models purchased in 2001 continued in service. The final Trident has now been sold to Transdev Blazefield.
Women in transport schools debate
TfL and engineering company, Bechtel, have organised a nationwide schools debate on the role of women in the transport industry. It forms part of the 100 Years of Women in Transport campaign, which celebrates the role of females in the industry.