World Bus services

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

BMC and IETT have signed a contract for the supply of city buses

Published: 1/1/2012
BMC and IETT (Istanbul Electricity Tramway and Tunnel Enterprises General Directorate) have signed a contract for the supply of city buses.


BMC, an indigenous company 100% owned by Turkish capital, manufactures and supplies commercial vehicles including public transport vehicles to domestic and EU country markets. BMC was awarded a contract signed on 17.08.2011 for a total of 66 million Euros against an international tender issued by IETT for supplying 279 units of 12meter Super Low Floor City Bus for the city of Istanbul.



BMC will deliver 279 units BMC PROCITY Bus to IETT within a 14-month period in batches and the value of total project is in the region of 66 million Euros which makes it one of the largest contracts, in value, in the field of public transport in Turkey.


The contract includes 5 years repair and maintenance package which will be supported by BMC. This after sales service support system creates a new model for public transportation in Turkey.


The agreement was signed by IETT Genral Manager Dr. Hayri Baracli and BMC Sanayi CEO Mr. Mehmet Demirpence.


The IETT Management expressed their delight with the speck and outstanding value for money proposition BMC PROCITY offered to the passengers.


During the ceremony Dr. Baracli said that “IETT is a 140 year old institution, there have been many pioneering initiatives during this period, this model marks another first”.

Whereas BMC’s CEO Mr. Demirpence said “ This is a milestone for the passenger transport system in Turkey, as the model includes a 5 year repair and maintenance package provided by the manufacturer and guaranteeing the vehicles’ good condition though out this period. We and the industry in general will learn a lot and benefit from this exercise “.

Also at the ceremony, BMC’s CEO Mr. Demirpence thanked to Dr.Hayri Baracli ( General Manager) for them to chose a Turkish brand that is fully produced by Turkish engineers and labour force.


PROCITY has kneeling function and walk through super low floor for easy passenger entry and exit, 285 PS Cummins common-rail engine in Euro 5, Ecolife new generation of automatic transmission, automatic fire extinguishing system, a powerful field-type air-conditioning, 5-point safety CCTV, satellite vehicle tracking system, automatic greasing system, fitted at the rear left-hand side for a more spacious interior Well laid-out and generously proportioned interior with comfortable seats and safety-grip handrails Ergonomically enhanced driver’s cabin with all instruments, switches and displays positioned within driver’s field of vision Manual foldable ramp and wheelchair space enhance easier access for disabled passengers. With the main concepts of safety, comfort and cost-efficiency, PROCITY is tailored to fulfil the requirements of bus operators in urban transport sector.


The low operation and maintenance cost makes PROCITY a durable and reliable bus with excellent life time costs. PROCITY ensures a smooth and swift flow of passengers thanks to the step-less, walk through super low floor design.


In addition to its welcoming and distinctive look, PROCITY presents a safe, comfortable and pleasant atmosphere inside the bus. Highly comfortable seats made of robust, hardwearing and easy-to-clean material add to the feel good factor for passengers. All in all, PROCITY stands out to be the perfect match for specific requirements of the sector.


BMC was the first company in Turkey to develop and supply a super low-floor buses, that is now to be used in Istanbul. Passengers in Istanbul will choose the colour of PROCITY to be used in the city which will either be in yellow or in green.


To date, BMC supplied many buses to various Turkish cities including Izmir, Bursa, Mersin, Antalya, making the company as the market leader in Turkey in this segment with a 52% market share.


Alongside the 80 export markets and 37 exclusive distributors around the world, BMC has exported the PROCITY to London, Birmingham, Bucharest, Sofia, Milan and Prague.




BMC, Procity’s hybrid model was first exhibited during the Busworld Fair in Belgium between 20-26 October. BMC’s environmental friendly and the low-emission vehicle PROCITY HYBRID aims to minimise harmful gaseous emissions.


BMC articulated bus version is also ready to challenge the competition.


The advanced technology, design and engineering of BMC’s present range of city buses powered by diesel and CNG engines, coaches and school buses starting from 7,5m up to 18m for worldwide markets.


BMC, the largest integrated Commercial Vehicle manufacturer in Turkey celebrating its 47th anniversary. BMC is situated on a 200,000 (two hundred thousand) square meters site in Izmir, Turkey, integrated BMC factory is equipped with state-of-the-art technology in the automotive industry, producing 22,000 vehicles per annum and is rapidly heading towards being a worldwide brand. 3,000 dedicated staff creates enough power for BMC to offer customer ”“ oriented products and solutions throughout the global sectors of all industry and transport tasks: from the Light, Medium and Heavy ranges to special-purpose vehicles, military vehicles, chassis, buses and coaches, spare parts, engines and cast parts.


BMC will exhibit its technologically advanced and state ”“of-art vehicles during the 3rd Comvex Istanbul 2011 (Commercial Vehicles, Buses and Components Expo ) between

24-27 November 2011 and Busworld Fair to be held in Istanbul in April 2012.

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  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Sri Lanka Transport Board has made arrangements to commence a super luxury bus service in the southern expressway from tomorrow. Secretary to the Ministry of Transport has granted approval for the programme according to a request made by the Minister Kumara Welgama from the President who is also the Minister of Highways.
 The bus service which begins from Maharagama and Galle bus stands will be implemented from 6 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the evening. A bus will be operated from both ends once in every two hours. The bus fare of the super luxury service from Maharagama to Galle is 400 rupees. The fare from Kottawa to Galle is 380 rupees. The buses are in fully road worthy condition for highway transport. Passengers are being provided with safety seat belts, television sets, automated doors and windows with digital name plates. The ceremony to declare open the service will take place at the Maharagama bus stand at 7.30 tomorrow morning. Minister Kumara Welgama, Deputy Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake and the Chairman of the SLTB M.D. Bandusena will be present at this occasion. 
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

WE refer to the letter “Consider option of driver-owned mini buses” (The Star, Dec 16).

The Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD) would like to thank the writer for his observations and concerns on the public transportation industry, particularly the stage bus.

When SPAD took over from the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) on Jan 31, 2011, the commission on several occasions had met and interacted with bus operators to get first hand input and feedback with the objective of understanding the problems faced; and improvements wherever possible.

At present there are over 9,000 stage buses throughout Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak. As a regulator, SPAD has to look at a holistic approach taking into consideration situation of the stage buses in all states.

Through the sessions that have been held with several stage bus operators, we at SPAD are exploring the possibility of allowing the operation of driver-owned mini buses.

The presence of such operations could be significant in the rural areas where buses are the only means of affordable transportation for the rakyat.

Meanwhile, SPAD has some concerns on the quality and safety aspects of this service. Hence, the effective implementation of the safety, health, environment code of practice is critically important.

In line with the Government’s recent announcement to allocate RM400mil to support stage bus operations, SPAD has recently published the eligibility criteria to disperse the fund.

This measure is a preliminary step to restructure the stage bus industry.

The RM400mil fund distribution exercise, earmarked for private-owned stage bus operators will require the following:

> MUST be competent and have the ability to operate immediately;

> MUST have a valid SPAD/LPKP licence and is an active genuine operator serving the route approved by SPAD at the time of application; 

> MUST not be receiving any direct financial assistance from the Government (Federal or State) on the route served;

> MUST be able to produce list of bus drivers EPF/SOCSO statements; and

> NOT applicable to Federal or state government-owned stage bus operators.

The buses must have:

> Valid current Puspakom discs; and

> Valid road tax and insurance.

Meanwhile, SPAD will continue to engage with the operators to ensure smooth and equitable distribution of the interim bus support fund while developing a long-term plan for the stage bus industry.

As a regulator, SPAD will continue to improve its actions and services to serve the rakyat better.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Bus Rapid Transit System project: People to have safe, speedy transport facilities: shahbaz

* CM says provision of comfortable, quality transport facilities to masses top priority of govt

Staff Report

LAHORE: People will be able to have safe and speedy transport facilities after completion of the Bus Rapid Transit System project, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Saturday.

He said this while presiding over a meeting to review the pace of progress of Bus Rapid Transit System project and the provision of transport facilities to the people.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said that provision of comfortable and quality transport facilities to the masses was the top priority of the government, and solid steps had been taken for that purpose. He said that a 27-kilometre-long track from Shahdara to Gajjumata would be laid in the first phase of the project.

He said modern transport service had been started in the metropolis, and its scope would soon be extended to other big cities of the province.

On the occasion, Lahore Development Authority Director General Abdul Jabbar Shaheen gave a detailed briefing regarding the progress of the project.

Addressing the meeting, Shahbaz Sharif said that on the pattern of developed countries, transport system was being organised on modern lines in Lahore and other big cities of the province. 

He said work on the Bus Rapid Transit System project had been started with the cooperation of Turkey, which, upon its completion, would speak volumes of the Pak-Turk friendship. 

He said that like other development projects, the Bus Rapid Transit System project would be completed speedily in a transparent manner by working round the clock. 

He said that in the first phase, track would be laid from General Hospital to Kalma Chowk; in the second phase, from Gajjumata to General Hospital; and in the third phase, from Shahdara to Kalma Chowk.

He said it was an important project, and no delay in its completion would be tolerated.

On the occasion, he formed a committee, headed by Member of the Provincial Assembly Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmad, for early completion of the project.

He said that an effective system should be evolved to ensure smooth flow of traffic during the construction of the project and people should not face any difficulty in this regard. 

He directed the officials concerned to evolve a vigorous publicity plan to create awareness among the people about the importance of bus rapid transit so that maximum citizens could benefit from it. 

Earlier, the LDA director general, while informing the meeting about the progress of the project, said that work on laying of track from General Hospital to Kalma Chowk was in progress. Members of the National Assembly Mian Marghoob Ahmad and Bilal Yasin, Lahore Transport Company Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan, the Planning and Development chairman, the transport secretary, the Lahore district coordination officer and other officers concerned were present at the meeting.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

February 13, 2012


Sydney operator Veolia Transdev - Shorelink Buses has made significant fuel consumption savings on three Iveco buses running with Allison transmissions since starting service 12 months ago.


Shorelink Buses General Manager Tony Ralph says the addition of the Ivecos early in 2011 fitted with Allison T375R fully automatic transmissions came after regular and exhaustive market analysis.


"We go through this exercise every few years, looking at all different types and brands of bus, analysing features, benefits, maintenance, fuel consumption and capacity, amongst other things," Ralph says.


"We also study the various body builders to ensure that we can source the best overall package, and the needs and wants of our mechanics who maintain the buses are considered as we research the ease of maintenance, service intervals, and cost of replacement parts for each variation."


Ralph says that while the Iveco buses equipped with Allison transmissions and Cummins engines emerged from the analysis as the best option, the company's drivers were apprehensive about the switch and were initially resistant to the change.


"The drivers offered some resistance, but since the three new Allison-equipped Iveco buses have joined the fleet, the drivers have commented that those buses are far more responsive and smoother shifting than the other buses in our fleet," he says.


"The biggest factor for Shorelink has been the 10 to 15 percent improvement in fuel consumption from the new buses, which are already recording regular fuel economy of around 42 litres per 100 km compared with an average of between 47 and 50 litres per 100 km from other newer buses in our fleet.”


He says the Ivecos are making a difference across the fleet in terms of fuel costs.


“However, we will need at least a full 12 months to assess all the factors, including maintenance and repair cost,” Ralph says.


Veolia Transdev - Shorelink Buses operates in one of the most challenging regions of Sydney, servicing the upper North Shore of Australia's largest city.


The area is marked by extremely hilly terrain with deep valleys and high traffic density.


Shorelink covers the area from the regional hub of Chatswood, north to the Hawkesbury River with additional routes taking upper north shore commuters into the Sydney CBD and to the Macquarie Shopping Centre and University precinct.



"Our regular routes are traditionally hard on engines and transmissions, with some tough climbs in what are some of the highest parts of Sydney, but the Allison-equipped Iveco buses are coping extremely well," says Ralph.


The Shorelink fleet at about 100 comprises mostly Scanias averaging ten years, while the oldest vehicle in the fleet is 23 years old.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Transport Company announced a plan to introduce its air-conditioned bus service from Udon Thani in Thailand's Northeast to Vang Vieng in Laos soon.

Tourists travelling to Vang Vieng in Laos will soon have an alternative bus service from the Transport Company to be launched from Udon Thani. PHOTO: PONGTHAI WATTANAVANITWUT

According to the company's managing director, Wuttichat Kanlayanamit, the service will be available in addition to its current service between Udon Thani and Vientiane.

Formerly an overnight stop for tourists travelling from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, today Vang Vieng is a destination for those who admire scenery and laid-back countryside.

The popular activities include kayaking, rafting and swimming in the Song River while admiring the picturesque limestone karst terrain, and for those who enjoy adventures might also like to explore the caves.

"The bus links between the two countries is proof of the success of the friendship. Our service will not only benefit the tourism industry, but also trading and logistics between Thailand and Laos," Wuttichat said.

The service will be the latest route to be available after the official launch of the Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang route in the middle of January. The company has joined hands with Naluang Company to offer the service.

The Luang Prabang route starts from Chiang Mai Bus Terminal (Arcade 2) with a second class air-conditioned buses. The 18-hour journey will make several stops including Chiang Rai and Chiang Khong then passengers need to board a ferry to cross to Bokeo where they need to switch bus to the service of Naluang Company.

The bus also makes a stop at Luang Namtha in Udom Xai province before reaching Luang Prabang.

A one-way ticket is 1,200 baht. Passengers also have options to get off any of those stops and pay by destinations.

When the fourth Thai-Laos friendship bridge is completed in 2013, the Transport Company will upgrade to a first-class air-conditioned bus, said Wuttichat, adding a one-way ticket would cost around 1,500 baht.

At present, the Transport Company provides eight routes between Thailand and Laos including Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang, Udon Thani-Vientiane, Nong Khai-Vientiane, Khon Kaen-Vientiane, Nakon Ratchasima-Vientiane, Ubon Ratchathani-Pakse, Mukdahan-Savannakhet and Nakhon Phanom-Thakhek.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

, by 
Anthony Scicluna, Victoria

Costlier public transport in Gozo

Up to last month, persons having a ID card with a Gozo address could travel on Arriva buses in Malta and Gozo using a single ticket, purchased either in Malta or Gozo.

Now Arriva have changed this and are requiring such persons, travelling from Gozo to Malta or vice versa for a day, to buy two tickets: one for buses in Gozo and the other for Malta. This means up to a 100 per cent fare increase and is likely to lead to reduced use of the buses. Can the Department of Information let the public know whether this increase has been approved by the authorities?

Passengers using the Gozo Channel ferries continue to experience delays, as the timetable of the X1, X6 and 41 are not linked to that of the Gozo ferries and also because of occasional lack of punctuality at the various stops. Moreover, when the ferry from Gozo is late, extra buses need to be made available from Ċirkewwa as soon as possible to fill the gap.

As few Gozitans complain in the newspapers, Arriva and Transport Malta may believe that the present bus service from and to Ċirkewwa is acceptable. It is suggested that they conduct a survey to find out what people want. Dissatisfied passengers may eventually have to make different choices if their difficulties are not remedied.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

$1.1 billion to increase bus capacity by 20%

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said Friday that the government will channel $1.1 billion towards increasing Singapore's bus capacity by 20 per cent over the next five years.

» Special: Budget 2012

Delivering Singapore's budget for 2012 in parliament today, Mr Tharman said the 'Bus Services Enhancement Fund' will include the purchase of buses and running costs for 10 years.

He pointed out that the country's public transport system is in the midst of being enhanced.

"When the planned Downtown Line, Tuas West Extension, Thomson Line and Eastern Regional Line are completed in a decade's time, our rail coverage will be comparable to that of cities with the most developed rail networks today such as New York.

"We will also have 400,000 housing units within 400 metres of MRT stations, double the number today."

"In the meantime, we will significantly ramp up bus capacity so as to relieve daily congestion in public transport," he added.

Pointing out that 60 per cent of all passenger trips are made on buses, he said the government will partner public transport operators (PTOs) to add 800 buses to the current bus capacity - an increase of 20 per cent.

Calling this a significant increase, Minister Tharman said: "It took the PTOs close to 20 years to grow the public bus fleet by 800 buses in the past."

He added that government will provide funding for 550 buses while the public bus operators will add another 250 buses in a bid to significantly reduce crowding and waiting times.

"It will enable almost all feeder buses to run every 10 minutes or less - for two hours during morning and evening peak periods instead of a one-hour peak currently," he said.

He added that beyond this one-time Government commitment to fund 550 buses, the viability of bus operations will have to rest on improvements in efficiency and a sustainable system.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Go-Ahead Group is pleased to announce the forthcoming acquisition of Carousel Buses Limited, based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The acquisition will take place on Saturday 3 March 2012.

Carousel currently operates around 50 buses in the Wycombe area and runs services to Heathrow Airport, Uxbridge, Chesham and Watford. The company mainly operates a mix of commercial bus services and schools bus contracts.

David Brown, Group Chief Executive said: “Carousel fits perfectly with our strategy of acquiring innovative, well-managed businesses which have a strong commercial core and can provide a solid basis for increasing passenger numbers. We are pleased to be taking on a bus company which prides itself on running a safe, reliable, affordable and customer focused service.

“In 2011 we acquired Thames Travel which was a similar size business and has been highly successful since joining the group, with significant tender wins. It has also successfully converted several services which were subsidised by local authorities into commercial services. Thames Travel has retained its own identity and prospers under our devolved business model. I am confident that we can repeat this success with the purchase of Carousel.”

The current owners of Carousel, Steve Burns and John Robinson, will step back from day-to-day operation on acquisition, and will act as advisers to the new owners. Carousel will be run by the Oxford Bus Company director team under the leadership of Managing Director Philip Kirk.The company will retain its existing brand identity.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Stagecoach Group today announced it is to invest around £60million in hundreds of new greener vehicles for local communities across the UK.

The Perth-based transport group has placed initial orders for 390 buses and coaches for the 2012-13 financial year for its regional bus networks outside London. Further orders will be placed later in the year.

It follows an annual competitive tendering process and brings Stagecoach’s total investment in new vehicles for its regional bus operations over the past five years to more than £370m.

The first of the new vehicles will be delivered from May 2012. All of the new vehicles meet the latest Euro 5 emissions standards, further driving up the quality of bus travel for local people in Scotland, England and Wales.

Included in the fleet are the UK’s first orders for new 15m state-of-the-art interdeck coaches, which will run on Stagecoach Group’s growing budget coach operations in the UK.

The new orders come only weeks after independent research again officially recognised Stagecoach as Britain’s best value major bus operator. Transport specialists TAS found weekly travel with Stagecoach was on average 17.5% cheaper than other bus operators.

Recent research by Stagecoach also found that travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers around £150 a month1

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This latest multi-million-pound investment is part of our commitment to give local communities high-quality, good value bus travel. With sky-high fuel prices and the increasing cost of running a car, it makes more sense than ever to switch to greener, smarter bus travel.”

The latest orders include:

  • 11 Volvo B11 Plaxton Interdeck coaches, a new model for the UK. The 72-seat coaches are designed to allow level access wheelchair boarding. The coaches will be introduced on Stagecoach’s services in the UK, which carry more than 3million passengers a year.

  • 8 more vehicles for the highly successful Cambridgeshire Guided Busway – the longest in the world – which has now been used by more than a million passengers since it opened in August last year. The new buses – three ADL 400 Scania double-deckers and five Wrightbbus Eclipse Scania single-deckers – will run on 100% recycled biofuel on the transport link between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge.

  • 19 hybrid-electric vehicles, as previously announced, which are due to go into service in Perth and Aberdeen this summer. The ADL Enviro E350 single deck hybrid buses, which are also a new model to the UK, have been purchased through the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund at a total cost of £5.3 million, including a grant of £1.8million from the fund.

Vehicle manufacturers ADL, Scania, Plaxton, Volvo, Optare, Wrightbus and Van Hool will supply a total of 95 double-deckers, 87 single-deckers, 141 midi-buses, 11 mini-buses, 37 coaches and 19 Hybrid vehicles. All of the new vehicles are expected to go into service by January 2013.

Details of the new orders are as follows:

  • 19 ADL Enviro 350H single-deckers (9 for Perth, 10 for Aberdeen)

  • 38 ADL Enviro 400 Dennis Chassis double-deckers

  • 57 ADL Enviro 400 Scania Chassis double-deckers

  • 54 ADL Enviro 300 Dennis Chassis single-deckers

  • 28 ADL Enviro 300 Scania Chassis single-deckers

  • 5 Wrightbus Eclipse Volvo single-deckers

  • 140 ADL Enviro 200 midi-buses

  • 1 Optare Versa midi-bus

  • 11 Optare Solo mini-buses

  • 9 Plaxton Elite Volvo B13R coaches (15m)

  • 10 Plaxton Panther Volvo B13R coaches (15m)

  • 11 Plaxton Interdeck Volvo B11 coaches

  • 7 Van Hool Astromega coaches

Stagecoach is already the UK’s biggest investor in green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard buses. In the past year, Stagecoach has purchased 123 green hybrid electric buses at a cost of £23.5million to go into service at its operations in England, with a further £11million of funding coming from the Government’s Green Bus Fund.

A total of 26 ADL Enviro E400 hybrid buses are in operation in Oxford with a further 30 already serving passengers in Manchester. In addition, 21 of the state-of-the-art vehicles are in service in Sheffield, and 26 now operate in Newcastle. An additional 20 ADL Enviro E400 buses have also been ordered for Manchester and are due to go into operation in March this year.

For further information about Stagecoach bus services, visit

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A fleet of brand new buses have been introduced in North Wales, following a multi-million pound investment by Arriva Buses Wales.

The new fleet, which include 10 double-deck buses, is set to benefit passengers who travel between Rhyl and Chester, on the popular number 11 service.

These latest additions represent an investment worth almost £2 million for the area and are all fitted with low floors for easy access, wi-fi and the latest engine technology, making them more fuel efficient and friendlier to the environment.

The new ‘Cymru Coastliners’ were officially unveiled during a special launch event on Thursday 9th February, at the Marine Lake in Rhyl. The event was attended by the Minister for Local Government, Communities & Transport, Carl Sargeant and Town Mayor for Rhyl, Councillor Win Mullen-James, who came along to help celebrate the new arrivals.

Minister for Local Government, Communities & Transport, Carl Sargeant, who was on-hand to cut the ribbon, said: “This new fleet of buses is welcome news for the area and will further improve one of the most strategically important bus routes in North Wales.

“Passengers will be able to travel in more comfort as all of the new vehicles will be equipped with coach style seats, which are also made locally in Wrexham.

“The Cymru Coastliners will set the trend for improved bus services, and we welcome the investment being made by Arriva.”

Michael Morton, area managing director for Arriva Buses Wales, said: “This is a significant investment to a vital part of our network and underlines Arriva’s commitment to providing a high quality, fully accessible bus service to our customers in Rhyl and the surrounding areas.

“As well as benefiting communities in Rhyl, Prestatyn and Flint, these marvellous new buses will also enhance the journey of thousands of holidaymakers, who flock to the North Wales Coast every year to explore the amazing scenery.”

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is steering $7.3 million towards a long promised bus rapid transit route downtown where half of commuters currently travel by bus. As we reported at the time of his election, Emanuel’s transportation plan is largely a transit plan filled with bold promises for intelligent transportation systems.

WBEZ on the latest BRT announcement:

“Emanuel’s mayoral transition plan last year promised a “full bus rapid transit pilot” within three years. The pilot, according to the plan, will include “dedicated bus lanes, signal preemption, prepaid boarding or on-board fare verification, multiple entry and exits points on the buses, limited stops, and street-level boarding.”

“The Chicago Department of Transportation is keeping lips tight about its design of the downtown line, known as both the “East-West Transit Corridor” and “Central Loop BRT.” It’s not clear the design will include many of the timesavers listed in Emanuel’s plan. A CDOT plan announced in 2010 would remove cars from some traffic lanes, rig key stoplights to favor the buses, improve sidewalks, install bicycle lanes and build specially branded bus stops equipped with GPS-powered “next bus” arrival signs.

Chicago is also slated to get $24.6 million in federal money for the BRT plan. For details on the route and other bus upgrades, go to WBEZ.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

» A series of bus lanes will link commuter rail stations, downtown, and the Navy Pier. It’s not quite a transitway — despite the branding — but it will speed movement for thousands of passengers.

A year and a half after Chicago won $24.6 million in federal funds for the construction of an urban circulator downtown, the city announced this week that it will contribute $7.3 million in tax increment financing to improve the state of bus service in the urban center and link commuter rail stations to office buildings. Together, the money will provide for painting dedicated bus lanes on the Madison/Washington and Clinton/Canal Street pairs for a total of two miles, offer signal priority, improve bus shelters, and add bike lanes. New buses and a small bus transit center at Union Station are also part of the plan.

Though the improvements will be most visible to customers using the new dedicated “Central Area Transitway” connecting Union Station and the Navy Pier northeast of the loop, the new lanes will also be used by seven existing Chicago Transit Authority bus routes which already collectively carry 32,000 riders a day on 1,700 buses.

There is nothing new about the idea of improved circulator service in Chicago’s downtown core. Following the failed efforts of planners in the 1960s and 1970s to expand the city’s subway system, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced in his first year of office (1989) that he wanted to construct a center-city light rail line linking major tourist attractions, commuter rail stations, and the business center. By 1993, the plan had morphed into a $775 million proposal that would include eight miles of median-running track designed to carry four routes — the first running east-west along Madison and/or Monroe Streets between Oglivie Transportation Center and Michigan Avenue; the second heading north-south along the river to Navy Pier; the third running south to McCormick Place Convention Center; and the fourth heading north to the Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue.

The plan came surprisingly close to being realized. The federal and state governments each agreed to chip in $250 million, and local businesses in the Loop — concerned about their ability to compete with retailers on North Michigan Avenue and convinced of the importance of linking commuter rail passengers to the center — agreed to a special tax district that would also raise $250 million. The project would have reshaped the image of and mobility in Chicago’s inner core.

Yet in fall 1993, the U.S. Congress cut off most funding for the project. In 1995, the state pulled out of its share. Business leaders suggested they might double or triple their contribution to the project through neighborhood taxes, but North Michigan Avenue leaders pushed back, suggesting the project gave an unfair advantage to retailers in the Loop. The project died. By 2006, hoping to dosomething, the city had settled on the idea of a Navy Pier-Union Station busway.

Unlike these previous plans, the new proposal for Chicago will offer only minimal improvements to circulation in the downtown core: Customers will save an estimated 1.1 minutes on travel between Union Station and Michigan Avenue. The priority lanes will be beneficial, but buses will continue to stop at almost every cross street on Madison and Washington, limiting the amount of travel time that can actually be reduced. And the focus on serving the Navy Pier — a tourist trap that is scheduled for a major renovation – speaks to the limited degree to which this route will serve actual commuters.

Nevertheless, the connection between the commuter rail stations west of the Loop and the central business core provided by the bus link will offer the potential for improved circulation downtown. Improved service to Union Station must be a priority, since it is not linked to the L rail rapid transit network (the nearest station is about half a mile away) and it is the focus of the region’s commuter rail and intercity rail improvement efforts. The seven bus lines that will share parts of the route will split off and continue to other parts of the city, meaning that customers who are arriving on the #14 from Jeffery in the South Side, for instance, will have a quicker trip once they reach downtown.

If the CTA designs signage well enough, customers attempting to make the trip from Oglivie Transportation Center — another commuter rail station — to Millennium Park would have six services to choose from, offering fantastic headways of one minute at peak and two minutes off-peak. But the city will have to be careful not to place too much emphasis on the “Central Area Transitway” brand that it will give to the bus that runs the full route from Union Station to Navy Pier, because the most important element of this improvement project is its provision of minor improvements to many bus lines, not just a single one. It should be clear to customers that if they want to take a certain trip, they have several options.

Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s leadership, Chicago is taking an incremental approach to the improvement of public transportation in the city, steering away from the mega-fantasies of the Daley era. The CTA is already planning to invest in similar bus priority improvements on Jeffery Boulevard in the South Side for the #14 bus and along the north-south spine of Western Avenue as part of a citywide BRT plan that would fill in the gaps missing from inadequate rail service in certain areas. Slowly but surely, the city’s bus lines are scheduled for improvement.

Yet the city’s bigger ambitions remain apparent. In the application for the federal urban circulator grant in 2010, the city included the following map, documenting potential new transit routes for the center city along dedicated rights-of-way, clearly modeled after the improvements suggested by the 2009 Central Area Action Plan, which proposed light rail lines on the Carroll, Clinton, Monroe, and Lakefront Corridors. They would either be placed underground or along dedicated transit routes, like the McCormick Center busway (for the Lakefront route).

For lack of funding, it will be a long time before any such routes see the light of day. In the meantime, painting a few bus lanes and offering existing lines priority at signals represent a reasonable step forward.

Images above: Chicago downtown circulator routes, from City of Chicago, via Grid Chicago

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a loan for $105 million to Colombia to continue a program to modernize public transport in the city of Cali.

The funding will support investments in the municipal transport company Metro Vancouver to expand Masivo Integrado de Occidente (MIO), a public transport system based on the use of buses in dedicated and preferential lanes. The Bank helped finance the program’s initial stage with a loan for $200 million approved in 2005.

The program aims to continue improving the quality of service for MIO and extending access to 100 percent of the population. The improvements will help reduce travel times, traffic accidents, and traffic congestion.

As part of the program, main corridors will be completed and paved, and MIO feeder corridors, stations, bridges, crossings, bike paths, and signage will be improved.

In addition, 10 hectares of public space will be rehabilitated and pollution will be reduced, which will eliminate annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 270,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

SINGAPORE - The Government's plan to spend $1.1 billion to purchase 550 buses was one of the keenly discussed topics at yesterday evening's Budget 2012 dialogue.

Some of the 180 participants who attended the session at the Suntec City Convention Centre voiced concerns that the public transport operators would profit from this injection by the Government and were being "rewarded", The Straits Times reported.

Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said the Government aimed to increase Singapore's bus capacity by 20 per cent, or 800 buses, over the next five years.The question of whether public transportation should be privatised or nationalised was also raised during the dialogue organised by the government's feedback unit, Reach. 

This would be achieved by partnering the public transport operators, with the Government providing funding for 550 buses and the operators adding 250.

Minister of State for Finance and Transport, Mrs Josephine Teo, who chaired yesterday's dialogue with Reach chairman, Dr Amy Koh, said that increasing the bus capacity would raise costs for transport operators, which may lead to higher fares.

"Between funding this through a big increase in fares and the Government coming in to inject into the system the resources to purchase these additional 550 buses, we thought it is a better thing to do (the latter)," Mrs Teo was quoted as saying in The Straits Times.

With regard to nationalising public transport, Mrs Teo said that this would require a detailed study, and in the meantime, improvement to bus services should not be held back.

Yesterday, Reach also published a report of the 400 inputs of public feedback it has received so far through various channels.

Amongst the Budget initiatives unveiled, the enhancements to the transport system were "less well received", compared to other measures rolled out to boost healthcare and support the aging population.

"Contributors feel that the plan to boost bus capacity should be fully funded by operators, not the government," Reach said.

"Contributors also expressed concerns that the increased bus fleets will add to more congestion on the road, as well as the difficulty of recruiting more bus drivers. Some are also concerned that the cost of additional bus fleets will be passed on to commuters in the form of fare increases."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

AMMAN — The Land Transport Regulatory Commission (LTRC) board has decided to increase public transport fares by 6 per cent as of March, LTRC Director General Jamil Mujahid said on Monday.

The decision will cover all means of transport, he added, noting that the move reflects growing transport costs in 2010 and 2011, especially as the government has kept fuel prices unchanged since 2011.
Transport charges were last amended in January 2010.
The LTRC will publish the new tariffs on its website.




  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Andrew Gilligan

I'm the Telegraph's London Editor. This is where I blog about London politics and particularly this year's London election. If you don't approve, other listings magazines are available... Look on the main Telegraph site for my day job, my work for our newspapers. Got a tip or a story? Email me at


Boris Johnson's new bus: first ride of many

By   Last updated: February 24th, 2012


From Monday, for the first time in years on a proper route, Londoners can hop on a bus again. I took a preview ride on the new Borismaster on Thursday – and it was great.

As regular readers may know, I have reservations about the design. Some of those reservations remain. But the more I see it, the more I like it. Nor am I the only one. As we drove through the streets of central London, along the first route (the 38) that it will serve, heads turned. Small crowds of people gathered wherever it stopped, snapping pictures on their phones and having to be gently dissuaded from climbing on to the open platform.

It is quiet. It arrived at the stop with an electric hum. The ride is smooth, and it has more headroom than I remembered from the mockup. A long stripe of glass snakes all the way down the back, lighting up the curly rear staircase. The old Routemaster’s half-cab is no more (boo!) But its slatted, wood-effect floors, its classic dark-red interior, its conductors – and, above all, its platform at the back – return. Once more, from Monday, you can hop off between stops if the traffic is slow. Once more, you can run after the bus and haul yourself aboard. The authorities are treating us like adults again.

Now those reservations. I predict (justified) complaints about the lower-deck seating: very little of it is step-free, and quite a few seats face backwards. Bumping your head might still be a problem when you get up from some of the seats.

Although the buses will have conductors for most of the day, the conductor’s role has deliberately been made close to pointless. He or she will not take your money or swipe your Oyster card – which you must still tap in, a la bendy bus, on a reader by the doors. This is likely to restore to the network bendy-bus levels of fare evasion, one of the very reasons for getting rid of the old junction-blockers. The conductors’ main duty will be to supervise passenger security – but they will not be on duty after about 7pm, when the need for security is greatest.

All this feels like TfL’s sneaky bureaucracy (which never really wanted this bus) in action. By giving the conductors no real work to do, TfL is setting them up to be axed at the earliest possible moment. The rear platform will then be almost permanently closed, and the bus operated nearly all the time as a conventional one-person double-decker. Boris should put a stop to this transparent ploy. The conductors should sell tickets, and swipe Oyster cards, at people’s seats. They would easily pay for themselves in extra fare revenue gained.

No doubt, too, there will be teething problems with the new bus – as there are with everything new. There is only one of them at the moment, so in the first weeks even a minor problem will bring the entire Borismaster service to a juddering halt. London traffic and London passenger loads are demanding, and the sole bus will be battling them for 18 hours a day. The Borismaster has a small but committed chorus of joyless haters who will inflate every flat tyre into a new humiliation for the mayor. (If Ken Livingstone had done this, they would of course love it. The new bus, however, is possibly the only thing on earth that Ken has promised not to spend money on.)

But you know what, I think most people will love this thing. It feels surprisingly modern: “sleek,” “forward-looking” and “classy” were the kinds of words that came from the passers-by I grabbed.

According to David Hampson-Ghani, TfL's project manager for the new bus, there are "no firm plans" to order any more than the initial eight. But there is, he says, a "high possibility" that TfL will place an order for a further 30 to 50 – enough to convert a complete route – in July, and "the intention is to order hundreds."

Most of all, this vehicle is a giant red smack in the face for the cheap, nasty and degraded new PFI hospitals, schools – and buses – with which this country has been splattered. Right down to its chunky bell-pushes, the Borismaster is thrillingly evocative of an age when form and function mattered in the public sector, when things were designed to please, to work, and to last. At £1 for each person in London, who can complain about that?

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW
February 24, 2012 
Fiji's capital city Suva is to get bus schedule billboards.

The bus schedule billboard will display the bus timetable, bus fares and buses operating to various areas.

Four billboards will be erected at the Suva bus stand this week.

Land Transport Authority chief executive Naisa Tuinaceva said yesterday they will look at doing the same in other areas.

Tuinaceva said the billboards will help people who are new to Suva.
  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Dark red walls, gold coloured handles and a creamy ceiling - if Farrow and Ball did public transportation it might look a bit like this. It comes as something of a surprise that the upper level doesn't have a homely AGA tucked away at the back, and the statutory blue labels indicating the wheelchair zone and a fine for standing on the upper level look like they were added on years after the bus was built by a careless owner.

Boris Buses - as the Mayor may or may not want us to call them depending on how these first eight prototypes fare on their Number 38 beat from Hackney to Victoria - have officially begun their trial and City Hall officials await the feedback of north London commuters.

The bus I rode on didn't have a conductor, which made it difficult to assess one of the key questions about Routemaster 2.0 - will the guys at the back be big enough to dissuade me from perpetrating the low-level yobbery that I had scheduled in for my evening commute? The question doesn't apply to the drunken weekend journeys I make on the night bus because - under current plans - conductors won't work after 9pm.

The materials look solid and reassuring - a few jabs at a vulnerable looking CCTV globule didn't result in any damage. The seats are fine, but not especially comfortable. The project's head honcho David Hampson-Ghani boasts that the whole rear end of the bus is made from an innovative lightweight material used in racing yahts and Formula One cars, although when I ask what it's called so I can buy some of my own, he says "I can't tell you the name, because it's embargoed" - by the Northern Irish manufacturers Wrightbus apparently.

He says "It's the most environmentally friendly bus in the UK, if not the world", although he slightly mumbled the world claim so something tells me it might be based on a quick Google search on his phone and there might have been a less polluting one built in Denmark in the sixties. "Compared to that bus there" Hampson-Ghani says, pointing accusingly at a double-decker that is overtaking us, "it is twice as fuel efficient". 

They have tested it out for months with various transport groups and members of the public. "We've had overwhelmingly positive comments" says Hampson-Ghani "People have made small criticisms but no-one has said it is overwhelmingly rubbish". 

Bringing these eight buses to the good people of Route 38 has cost the London taxpayer £7.8 million. "Don't divide £8 million by 8 and say they are one million each - it's the wrong maths" Hampson-Ghani instructs me impatiently, although if the public hate them and no big order is made or Ken wins and scuttles the project, it will be the correct maths. If big orders are made and the bus goes into commercial production, they say it will end up costing the same as the ones we have now - about £300,000 each. When the public have tried out the eight prototypes for four months, TfL hope to populate a whole route with them, which is 30-50 buses. Full roll-out comes later.

This is legacy-making, glacier style.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


Pioneer Easy Bus has made headline news in recent weeks, after the company delivered the first consignment of its fleet of over 500 buses, ready to start operations in Kampala.

However, Parliament's Public Service and Local Government committee asked Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) last week to suspend the bus company's planned launch after learning that their contract had expired.

Shifa Mwesigye spoke to one of Pioneer Easy Bus' directors, David Baingana, about the controversy surrounding the business, which is owned by various shareholders, including former minister Matthew Rukikaire.

It's been alleged that PEB has the backing of the First Family and that's why they do business in an unconventional way -- that the tender was not advertised and you didn't bid.

First of all, everybody who says that the contract was unfairly awarded has not done any research and does not know what they are talking about. It was advertised in the newspapers and in international media, including The East African. Seven companies expressed interest.

We went through a three-stage tender process, which started with [submission of an] expression of interest. Four companies were dropped and three remained. We went through a request for proposals, from which stage we were the only ones that remained.

There was room for other companies to emerge, because they divided Kampala into four zones and everybody was only eligible to apply for two. So, there are still two zones -- the northern and the southern zones of the greater Kampala metropolitan area -- that have not been allocated up to today because they didn't get a suitable bidder. We are only doing roughly half of this picture: east and west.

Basically, the routes are Jinja road, Masaka road, Luzira route, Ntinda circular route and the Northern Bypass. In a nutshell, the roads we are not going to cover -- which we were not awarded -- are Bombo, Entebbe, Gayaza and Ggaba roads, Makindye and others. Now, the issue of the first family; I think almost every business in this country that attracts controversy is 'supposed' to be owned by the First Family.

This company was started on Mach 1, 2005. At inception, it actually had two shareholders. This thing is a brainchild of a gentleman called Fred Ssenoga, the executive director of the company.

It's as simple as that. You can look at the memorandum and articles of the company. Take it from me, if you ever find [that the First Family is involved], you can cut off my right hand. Nothing whatsoever!

When will you start operations?

We're scheduled to start on March 1. The buses have arrived; the ones that haven't are in transit from Mombasa. They are coming in 20s. These buses are only going to service three routes: the Luzira route, the Bweyogerere route and the Ntinda route, which goes along Kiira road and back to Constitution Square. All of them will start from Constitution Square.

How will you begin operating when your contract expired?

The tender process ended in December 2010 and that's when the contract came out. As part of the conditions we set for ourselves, we were supposed to import and have 100 buses operating within four months of signing this agreement.

There are things we were supposed to do and others the Council (KCCA) was supposed to do. Among the things [KCCA] needed to do was to ensure that there was a statutory instrument -- a legal government document that gives effect to the concession.

The statutory instrument was not gazetted until April or May; so, we could not get involved in the contract when the statutory instrument was not yet there. We didn't even physically have the documents.

There's a second document that is a direct agreement between the ministry of Finance, KCCA, the bus suppliers and ourselves. Up to today, we have not received that document.

Everybody concedes that they have not delivered those things; so, how can a contract expire?

Do you have a contract?

Of course we have a contract. Who claims that it expired? It's actually politicians, not KCCA. Have you seen the bus shelters in town? Who built them, and with whose permission? Pioneer built them with the permission of KCCA. We paid taxes for those shelters; we have paid for bus rails.

Is that the way you behave when somebody's contract has expired? And we did that last month. Some of the payments were two weeks ago. Is that an expired contract? No, it's not.

A contract is between two parties; it's between KCCA and us. KCCA is not complaining about the contract, and neither are we.

Why, then, did you delay to execute the contract?

We went for private financing for the first 100 buses. The financing model was different for the first one, because [KCCA] didn't come up with all the documents we were supposed to have. If we had not done what we did, we would still be sitting here waiting for the direct agreement to come from government; it hasn't yet come.

People were impatient; they wanted buses. We took the initiative and went through private financing with a local bank. That took about two to three months. If [KCCA] had delivered the document at the time, we would have been able to start, perhaps in October.

Why are politicians fighting you, yet everybody else wants the buses to start working?

The crux of the matter is partly because [Kampala Lord Mayor Erias] Lukwago does not want any project brought around under [KCCA executive director] Jennifer Musisi's dispensation to succeed.

Unfortunately, people are just very unreasonable -- it's like fighting you and I am prepared to harm everybody around, regardless of whether or not you have done anything wrong.

It's simple politicking. Lukwago held a [KCCA] Council meeting one day and said he has seen all the documents and that the project is perfectly okay. I can show you the minutes; he said it in front of the Council. [On Monday] I heard him say on radio that he saw the documents for the first time in Parliament!

So, it's not genuine and sincere. He was also in Parliament telling [MPs] that Pioneer's contract doesn't exist!

How will the buses work alongside the city taxis, numbering about 10,000?

We're going to operate a pick-and-drop system. It means we come from satellite locations outside town, picking and dropping people along bus stages and stops. We don't terminate at any point in the city. We're not going to use the taxi park or any other places.

The buses actually just spend the whole day driving, and park somewhere at the end of the day. We're going to do this running alongside taxis, but we won't make the taxi parks [more congested], because we're not going there.

Secondly, we have a better value proposition in terms of fares, because we're utilising economies of scale. Carrying 60 people is more efficient and cheaper than carrying 14. For example, our fare will start at Shs 800 on routes for which these people (taxis) are charging Shs 2,000. We expect that it's going to be a natural process of demand and supply.

We shall run alongside them without having any acrimony over anybody. These are people who are entitled to run their business, just like we are.

So, how different are your services from the current public transport system?

We're going to run a scheduled service. For instance, take the Luzira route; we'll have buses probably three or four minutes apart. We'll not stop at bus stops where there are no waiting passengers. We'll only stop to pick when they're there.

I think it's a more time conscious and better organised service. We're safer, because we have trained all our drivers to a very high standard. We're going to run an electronic ticketing system. We're trying to improve the city.

How will you handle resistance from taxi operators?

First and foremost, I want you to know that we started operating alongside these people in 2007. We didn't kill each other, so they're used to us.

Initially, there was serious resistance from them, but I think you learn to live alongside people when you discover that they're here to stay. So, we have to find a way of coexisting. We all have to be mature; it's about developing a sense of maturity and being able to move on.

Why haven't you planned the infrastructure for bus lanes -- seeing how congested the city is?

This should really be the responsibility of KCCA and government. Nonetheless, parts of our contract stipulate how this infrastructure will be developed. There will be special designated bus lanes.

When we were going through the tender process, we had to synchronise with the ministry of Works and Transport, because there is a planned bus rapid transit system in the future. We had to ensure that this project fits seamlessly within the planned system.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?

The whole endeavour has been a big challenge, the greatest being lack of support from politicians. One would expect that when somebody is trying to do something like this, there is a certain amount of empathy and understanding.

Are you going forward regardless of the challenges?

We have to go forward. There are so many ways of going forward with the project, but it would be good if we could move forward the way we had envisaged. I am sure that when this matter is resolved, it will be a big eye-opener for everybody.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Aberdeen-based transport giant First Group and the council-owned Lothian Buses claimed changes to the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) from April will penalise urban bus services used by the vast majority of passengers in favour of rural services.

Bus firms are already reeling from a 20% cut to BSOG, which accounts for around one-tenth of running costs, announced in last November's Budget. However, senior figures in the industry believe firms operating in urban areas could, in effect, see cuts of up to 40% to BSOG, pushing up fares and leading to more marginal routes being cut.

The cuts have been seized on by Labour, who have claimed that despite the SNP's support for free bus travel its policies are having a devastating impact on bus networks already squeezed by falling passenger numbers and soaring fuel costs.

Lothian Buses last week announced it was putting up the cost of an adult single by 10p, to £1.40, while First Glasgow, which carries more than 115 million passengers a year, will today announce a series of cuts to services and frequencies in its network.

Until now, BSOG has been used to subsidise the diesel used by buses but will be changed from April to subsidise bus mileage. However, bus companies say this will penalise urban operators who spend more "dead time" travelling from the depot to the start of the bus service and tend to be less fuel-efficient as their routes involve driving at slower speeds with more braking and acceleration.

Neil Barker, First Bus Regional Managing Director (Scotland), said: "The Scottish Government's decision to change the way it calculates BSOG is bad news for hundreds of thousands of Scottish bus passengers. Urban operators, in particular, will be adversely affected and we are already seeing fare and service reviews."

Ian Craig, managing director of Lothian Buses, said: "Lothian Buses has been disproportionately affected by the changes to be introduced. This is as a result of the Scottish Government revising funding arrangements that favour rural operations. This is over and above the very significant cut to the budget for BSOG."

Industry sources say dozens of small firms operating in cities will also lose out due to the changes, and fear many will be put out of business.

The changes have also been criticised by Stagecoach, the Perth-based transport giant, which said it would be worse off. A spokesman said: "The new system was devised and decided by Transport Scotland. Along with other operators, we have expressed our concern at the significant cut in public funding support for bus passengers, which will put pressure on fares and bus networks."

Alistair Watson, a Labour councillor and former chairman of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, said the impact of cuts to bus services was one of the biggest issues raised to candidates and would feature in this May's council elections. "We're now very close to a situation where there will be virtually no off-peak services," he said.

Richard Baker MSP, Labour's transport spokesman, added: "This will put up the cost of travel for thousands of people in our cities at a time when they can least afford it."

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "The Bus Service Operating Grant calculation currently means payments reward fuel inefficiency.

"The changes we are making will encourage operators to move to cleaner, greener, and more fuel-efficient vehicles and help us meet our ambitious climate change targets.

"To support the industry in making this transition, we are providing £3million this year for those operators most affected – with Lothian Buses and First Glasgow among those benefiting. The changes to BSOG will also lead to a redistribution of funding to longer and more rural services."

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Experts warn of a short life for the company stuck in the middle of a chaotic city administration

The arrival of Pioneer East Buses in Kampala was touted as the end of the nightmare that is public transportation in the Central Business District. It is reported that 100 buses have arrived in Kampala, and will start ferrying passengers on March 1.

But it may be too early to celebrate. There does not appear to be clear arrangements under which commuter taxis will be phased off the routes the buses operate, a recipe for future conflict. Parliament has questioned the legality of the Memorandum of Understanding – with no contract - under which Pioneer Easy Bus (PEB) is operating. And urban experts have warned that starting a new business in the chaotic environment that defines Kampala’s infrastructure and administration is poor business.

Established in 2005, PEB was granted a 5-year concession by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to run a passenger bus service, with buses expected since April last year.

The company has reportedly invested US$10 million (about Shs 23 billion) import buses from China. Of the total 522 buses under the agreement with KCC, 100 are reported to be either in Kampala, or en-route from Mombasa Port.

The first batch of buses will operate between Kampala and Mukono, Luzira, Bweyogerere, Ntinda, Mulago, Nakawa and Namugongo, as well as Nateete and Rubaga.

“One bus will carry 60 passengers, equivalent to the load of four commuter taxis,” said PEB’s Head of Marketing Herbert Odankie Mucunguzi. “The number of taxis will reduce and we shall have no traffic congestion at all.”

“We have recruited 600 drivers and put up 138 bus shelters on the routes,” Mucunguzi said. “Altogether we will put up 876 shelters.”

Mucunguuzi said the company will charge a uniform yet-to-be-stated fare on all routes, which will be ticketed. Electronic cards are also being planned for passengers to pay weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, six monthly or yearly.

“A passenger with a card will just present it to any of our buses and board,” Mucunguzi said.

Mucunguzi said they would deploy buses depending on passenger demand, withdrawing some on routes with fewer passengers and releasing them during busy hours.

“We will succeed with the helping hand of KCCA and other authorities,” he said.

Predictably, taxi operators are anxious. Robert Ntege, a driver on the Old Taxi Park-Kisasi route, is scared the buses may kick him out of business.

“Most people will be excited to see buses and abandon our Kamunyes (14-seat commuter taxis),” said Ntege, looking disappointed.

Indeed it is expected that commuter taxis will be gradually eliminated from Kampala.

The buses come on the streets soon after KCCA’s take-over of control of taxi parks from the Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers’ Association. The take-over was followed with a reduction of monthly fees paid by city taxi operators from Shs 150,000 to Shs 120, 000. Taxi operators have protested that this is still too high, especially as they will soon lose business to buses. Moreover, buses will only pay Shs 300,000 - meaning income of Shs 157million from 522 buses per month for KCCA - despite their superior passenger capacity. Taxi operators want their fee further reduced to Shs 70,000.

Risky business

But urban experts warn that taxi operators may not be the only losers. They says Kampala is too risky an environment for PEB to start such a business, especially as city authorities do not appear to be working on any major operational or regulatory reforms.

Dr. Amini Tamale Kigundu, an urban expert and lecturer at Makerere University, says it is good to move from a low capacity system to a higher one but is concerned about the poor quality of the infrastructure expected to support a sophisticated bus network.

Kiggundu said an efficient public transport system needs proper bus terminals, shelters, lanes, fully trained staff, and powerful institutions to monitor it. The roads also need to be smoother and wider to allow public buses to co-exist with ordinary traffic.

“We do not have that infrastructure in our city and that is a big risk for the company,” Kigundu told The Independent.

He said Kampala’s infrastructure being largely informal and unplanned, whoever has money can and has bought a commuter taxi, increasing their number and defeating the city’s haphazard regulation arrangements.

In such an environment, commuter taxis are in a good position to compete with the buses. Unlike buses, taxis have no schedules, no strict regulation, flexible fares, and can easily adapt and retain enough passengers to make running the buses unviable.

“Pioneer can only survive if proper infrastructure is in place and public transport is left for them,” Kigundu said.

He added that putting 20 buses on a single route in the city some of the buses moving around empty, increasing operational costs without matching revenue.

“It is a big question whether PEB will survive,” Kigundu said.

Experiences of other bus services that have previously plied Kampala streets may be informative. City Link, owned by businessman Gordon Wavamunno, recently suspended services citing stiff competition with taxis as unfavourable.

A few other small buses/Coasters operating in the city have had a similar experience.

The driver of a bus that plies Entebbe road told The Independent that business was not consistent and some days they waited long hours for passengers.

“There are times when we have many passengers and drive many routes. But other days are not good,” he said. “Our bosses were planning to bring in many other buses but they say even the ones we have are doing well.”

A 2005 study of institutional, financial and regulatory frameworks of Urban Transport in Large Sub-Saharan Cities recommends that public transport buses have to be affordable, safe and offer high quality services.

The study says big buses are, in principle, more efficient because they carry a large number of passengers at a time, meaning uncongested routes and high productivity.

But the study also warns.

“Any investment in mass transit systems has to be very carefully evaluated, to ensure that the system is both economically and financially viable,” the study reads in part.

KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi, told journalists on Feb. 15 that her efforts to fix the roads and other infrastructure were failing.

“Yesterday I was at the Ministry of Finance pleading for more money to fix roads but they were not positive. I want to fix all the roads in the city,” Musisi said.

In the 2011/12 budget KCCA was allocated only Shs 145.728bn, of which the Authority can only raise 30%, the rest to come from the central government. Comparatively, Nairobi was allocated US$160million (Shs 368 billion), with 72% funded by the Nairobi city authority.

KCCA ready

KCCA’s Acting Director of Physical Planning Joseph Semambo says plans to have a running city bus service by 2014 were laid in the Greater Kampala Master Plan, and the long-term goal is to get rid of commuter taxis altogether.

“In developed cities people don’t use matatus. We have to change if we are to decongest the city and transform the Central Business District,” Semambo said. “I know many will not be happy now but they will be happy in the future.”

In future, even city centre parking will be abolished.

“Even if vehicles belong to Police or MPs, we shall not allow them there,” Semambo said.

While KCCA and Pioneer have previously said the previous pilot had been successful, Semambo said they are still testing the system.

“We want to see how the system works. But we are convinced it can work since it has worked in other cities,” Semambo said.


As it prepares to wave off its first bus on March 1, PEB needs to reflect on the concerns of experts. Money may not be a problem as the company is perceived to have strong economic and political backing, with shareholders including Kenlloyd Logistics Uganda Limited (owned by Albert Muganga, a son-in-law of Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa’s daughter); Matthew Rukikaire, former minister for Privatization; Atlantic Holdings Ltd; Urban Public Transport Company Ltd and Delux Solutions Ltd.

But lessons from elsewhere may help.

In cities like HongKongo, Tokyo, Curitiba, Bogota, Zurich (Switzerland), Brazil, London, Berlin, Stockholm, etc, public transport has been successful due to sound infrastructure and planned development.

Condominium settlements (flats of over 50 floors), with most residences clustered on the outskirts of the city, instead of the centre, have made it easy to design bus routes and stops for easy access to commuters.

In Hong Kong for instance urban density is 301 persons per hectare compared to Uganda that has 48 per hectare, meaning demand for public transport will be lower in Uganda.

Hong Kong city authorities have also discouraged use of private vehicles in the city centre by charging steep parking and congestion fees. That is not to mention boda bodas and cyclists.

Aware of risks like drunk driving, overloading and uncertified drivers, authorities ensure that bus operators are well trained and monitored.

It is vital to adopt an efficient transport system in Kampala, but without a strong authority to oversee it, such a company will soon collapse, then it will be back to chaos.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The new bus driver in a fatal bus crash in Burlington County inched past a stop sign because of bad sight lines at the intersection, the National Transportation Safety Board said this morning.

Friday's collision with a dump truck in Chesterfield killed an 11-year-old triplet, Isabelle Tezsla, and seriously injured her two sisters and a boy.

Natalie Tezsla was discharged Wednesday afternoon from Cooper University Hospital in Camden, but Sophie and 11-year-old Jonathan Zdybel remained in critical condition.


The 2004 Mack truck was loaded with asphalt at the time of the crash, and its weight was 5 percent over its 80,000-pound limit, investigators said at a news conference in Chesterfield.

A final determination of what caused the crash could take a year or more, officials said.

Fourteen other elementary-school students and both drivers received minor injuries. The triplets are the daughters of State Police Sgt. Anthony Tezsla.

"The school bus driver stated to investigators that he never saw the approaching Mack truck, which was approaching the intersection from the west," NTSB Chief Investigator Peter Kotowski said.

"The line of sight evaluation determined that at some locations the line of sight was obstructed due to environmental features of the intersection," Kotowski said.

The obstructions, such as poles, fences and trees, were not specified, but investigators have observed other drivers creeping past stop signs to see clearly at the intersection of County Route 528 and Old York Road where the crash occurred, Kotowski said.

Possible improvements at the intersection, such as additional warning signs, were being studied, he added.

Neither vehicle appeared to have defects, according to an initial examination. But officials were still examining the performance of the truck's anti-lock brakes during the crash.

The 2012 school bus was equipped with seatbelts. Unclear was which children were wearing them.

Results of toxicology tests done on the bloodwork of the two drivers might be available next week.

The Mack truck was driven by Michael Caporale, 38, of New Egypt, N.J., and belonged to Herman's Trucking of Wrightstown.

It was traveling on Bordentown-Chesterfield Road (County Route 528) and hit the bus on the driver's side while it was on Old York Road.

The impact sent the bus into a utility pole.

The bus was driven by John Tieman, 66, of Beverly. He had just started driving the bus in January, and had been driving the route for only nine days when the crash occurred.

No charges have been filed against either driver.

  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW



Modernising public transport

Punjab importing 350 modern buses from China: CM

* Shahbaz Sharif says student card scheme to be introduced 

* New bus stops having clean drinking water facility to be constructed

LAHORE: The Punjab government is importing 350 modern buses from China to provide the best travelling facilities to the masses Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Sunday.
He was presiding over a meeting held to modernise public transport system in the province. Speaking on the occasion, he said the step was part of the modern public transport system being introduced in the province to providing quality and comfortable travelling facilities to the masses. The CM said the new buses would ply on the roads of Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala and Bahawalpur under the new project. He said that besides making public transport system at par with international standards, the staff of those buses would be educated, courteous and dressed in clean uniform.
Shahbaz said the length of each bus would be 12 metres, and 80 passengers would easily travel in it at a time. He said that the buses would be comfortable, in which special facilities would be available to women passengers. 
He directed the staff concerned to evolve a strategy for introducing a student card scheme for concession in fares in order to facilitate the students.
He disclosed that bus stops of modern design for waiting passengers would be constructed where the facility of clean drinking water would be available.
He termed pink bus service for women, especially students, a new public culture and directed the officials concerned to ply more coaster buses for women passengers so that comfortable travelling facility could be available to them. Shahbaz Sharif said that experience and expertise of the brotherly Islamic country, Turkey, should be benefited for launching the new public transport system. 
“These buses will run on CNG, which will help in environmental protection,” he said, adding that the project of public transport was of great importance, which would leave far-reaching impacts. He said the provision of best and comfortable travelling facilities was the top priority of the Punjab government, and the private sector was being encouraged in this regard so that it should benefit from the government incentives for promotion of the sector. 
He said that comfortable and respectable public transport was a sign of a civilised society, and the Punjab government was making efforts to provide the best transport facilities to the people. 
Earlier, Lahore Transport Company Chairman Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan gave a detailed briefing regarding the new public transport system. Khawaja Hasaan informed the meeting that 100 buses had reached Karachi from China, which would arrive in Lahore within a few days. 
He said that the Lahore Transport Company had designed concessionary e-card for students. 
The planning and development chairman, finance secretary, transport secretary, commissioners and district coordination officers attended the meeting.






  Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

CDA directed to improve public transport facility

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister's Task Force on Islamabad has directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to launch a decent public transport facility for residents of the federal capital at the earliest. 
Prime Minister's Task Force on Islamabad Chairman Faisal Sakhi Butt in a meeting held with CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal said that the provision of transport facility for the residents is a priority of the task force, which would help overcome the ever-increasing complexity of civic and development problems. He called for some viable solution to resolve the chronic issues of transport facilities, which is the need of the hour to facilitate the residents. 
Faisal Sakhi Butt said that development projects worth billions of rupees had been executed without having any consultation with the residents of the city and other relevant stakeholders. The authority must take the residents of the city on board while executing any development project, he said. The government is committed to promoting the concept of public-private partnership to make the city the hub of economic activities. He said that the prime minister had taken keen interest in development of the federal capital on modern lines and for this purpose the issues neglected during successive regimes had to be resolved. On the occasion, CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal said the authority was already working on the plan to launch a decent transport facility, providing the best travelling facility to the residents at nominal charges. 
The CDA has decided to increase commercial centres in Islamabad and for this purpose, the extension of Blue Area had already been approved by the CDA Board, which will have state-of-the-art plazas in line with the future requirements, he added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister's Task Force for Islamabad Chairman Faisal Sakhi Butt said that on the directives of the government, a proper mechanism would be formulated to address the problems of land affectees in the federal capital. In a meeting with a group of affectees, Butt said that on the instructions of the government, outstanding payment would be made to affectees of land acquisition, adding that early compensation would be paid to built-up property."We want to remove hurdles in getting possession of land in different parts of Islamabad so as to expedite development process in the delayed sectors," Faisal Sakhi Butt said. agencies

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