Month: April 2021

Prax Petroleum wins more fuel deals

first_imgPrax Petroleum has won a contract to increase its supply into more First UK Bus regions.As a result it will now supply 27 million litres of diesel to its Hants & Dorset and East England operations.Both will be supplied from Prax Petroleum’s recently upgraded fuel terminal in Dagenham.Prax Petroleum says it has a “proven record for reliability of supply along with competitive pricing.”These factors played a “major part in maintaining and securing this new business.”This news follows contracts won in 2013 to supply 33m litres of diesel fuel to Arriva UK Bus in London and Yorkshire, from its Dagenham and Immingham terminals.Last year it also won a contract to supply further Stagecoach operations in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, taking the annual volume supplied to the Stagecoach to 100m litres.last_img read more

Appeal for London commuter route lost

first_imgIn the first case of its kind, Centaur Overland Travel has lost its appeal to the First Tribunal against a decision of Transport for London (TfL) refusing to alter the route of a Kent commuter service operated under a London Service Permit (LSP).Centaur applied to TfL for permission to run its coaches along Abbott Road, so as to be able to join the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel further north, thereby avoiding congestion. The application was opposed by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on the grounds that its Local Implementation Plan (LIP) included banning heavy lorries from using the road and to introduce traffic calming.TfL refused Centaur’s application, saying that should the application be granted it would be contrary to the measures already undertaken in Abbott Road.Dismissing the appeal, the Tribunal said that even the passage of five or seven coaches during rush hour would have a materially adverse effect upon the residents.Full report in a forthcoming issue of routeonelast_img read more

EVM’s cost-effective 16-seat Trend mini debuts

first_imgA new venture for EVM is its 16-seat Trend ‘crossover’, which gives a cost-effective Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based minicoach that is suitable for many tasks at a very low weight. We put it to the testBuyers looking for a cost-effective yet nicely-finished 16-seat minicoach have a new option in EVM’s Trend conversion based on a 4,100kg GVW Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.The converter describes it as a crossover vehicle when in long wheelbase, semi-high roof form. With a price tag from well below £50,000, various options can be specified that make it suitable for use as a school minibus, an airport transfer vehicle and a longer-distance minicoach where luggage capacity is not paramount.As the Trend is based on the new Sprinter, it comes with a wide variety of technology that benefits safety and improves the driving experience.The 4,100kg GVW Trend is a new venture for EVM. It complements both a similar yet 3,500kg GVW example and the converter’s established range that is based on 5,000 and 5,500kg GVW Sprinters.“The firstof this model Trend arrived three weeks ago. We have already taken six orders and received lots of positive feedback,” says Southern Sales Manager Guy Billings.On all Sprinters, EVM provides three years’ warranty of the conversion. That matches the period of coverage from Mercedes-Benz, which is additionally given on an unlimited mileage basis. The Sprinter also offers strong residuals.EVM holds vans in stock at its Kilbeggan plant. That will allow it to fulfil Trend orders rapidly, and up to six units are available for immediate delivery in a range of colours. At its UK premises at Three Bridges, it expects to usually have one such minibus available. Currently there is a demonstrator, which miniplus was able to put through its paces last week.Nuts and boltsWith the 4,100kg GVW Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz supplies the base vehicle with the side and rear glazing already fitted. Those in the back doors are genuine windows and not merely glass bonded to metal. On the test vehicle, the side and rear glazing is heavily tinted to the extent that it is not possible to see in from the outside. In the other direction there is no such difficulty and the view is good.OEM door retained, but options for an ‘electric hinge’ or Masats plug unitOne window on each side constitutes an emergency exit and a small hammer is adjacent on the underside of the luggage rack. The driver’s door and a glazed roof hatch are also marked as emergency exits.As tested, the Trend comes with a body kit. Like the bumpers and the grille, it is colour-coded in silver, creating a pleasing effect. EVM can add its trademark chrome pack if required; the demonstrator has steel wheels with plastic trims.Retained is the OEM passenger door, although if preferred a Masats powered plug example or an Autocool ‘electric hinge’ model can be specified. At the rear, a large external step is fitted, which is also colour-coded. At the roof line is a reversing camera.The OEM rear doors on the new Sprinter lack the previous model’s magnetic bump-stops that prevent them from contacting the side of the vehicle when opened to 270o. Instead, rubber grommets are fitted to the external hinges to serve the same purpose.They work well, but a downside is that they do not restrain the door leaves, which can be caught and slammed by a gust of wind.On the insideAlthough the passenger door is manually operated, behind it lies a three-step entrance with LED strips in the edges. EVM believes that the front entrance is a key aspect of the Trend.Vertical rails are on both sides of the door, and they are positioned well while not intruding into the opening. Naturally, taller passengers need to mind their head when boarding or alighting, but the pathway to or from the seating area is easily followed.The suggested crossover aspect of this minibus becomes obvious when the saloon is examined. It has 16 high-quality seats that are finished partly in synthetic leather, and they also come with aisle-side armrests and three-point belts.The seats are luxurious; good leg room, armrests and adjacent USB portsLeg room is excellent, and better than in many full-size coaches. Twin USB charging points are fitted to each windowsill in every row, and passengers also benefit from overhead racks. Within the edge of each of them is an LED strip; it can illuminate in blue or white light.Luggage space at the rear is modest, but some does exist. It is more suited to smaller bags, and as all seats are fixed, it cannot be augmented at the expense of passenger capacity.Also at the rear, wheel arch intrusion is minimal because of the 4,100kg GVW Sprinter’s single tyres.Notably, a saloon air-conditioning unit is fitted. It is mounted at the extreme rear and its operation is entirely incorporated into the OEM buttons that otherwise govern the cab climate control.Saloon heat is from floor-level vents and a booster is fitted. Although the drive was undertaken on a warm day and it was thus not easy to make a judgment, a brief blast of the heater produced hot air very quickly.In the cabAs part of its revisions to develop the new Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz made the cab aspects similar to its car range. The steering wheel is small, gears in models with an automatic transmission are selected via the right-hand stalk and there is an overall impression of quality.The 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic will be specified in stock vehicles ordered by EVM at this weight, although the six-speed manual will be available to order. Access via the cab door is good and the driver very quickly becomes at home in the Sprinter. The mirrors are adjusted manually.Fitted is a 7in colour touch screen multimedia unit in the centre of the dash. It gives access to various functions and allows a phone or an iPod to be synced via Bluetooth; the rear camera also feeds to it when reverse is engaged.Touch-screen, full-colour multimedia unit includes reverse camera displayAs is the case with any Sprinter, visibility from the cab is good. Gears are selected almost instantaneously, and the steering wheel comes with a number of buttons that govern the cruise control and variable speed limiter settings, radio volume and the Bluetooth phone function.Storage space around the cab is OK, but finding a place for a large bag is not easy. A double USB charging point is present. The speedometer displays MPH only in a very clear manner.Once understood, the heating and air-conditioning controls are simple to use. In particular, the latter is exceptionally powerful, and it rapidly delivered very cold air when tried.A tachograph is integrated above the windscreen, while in a similar location is an SOS button. If pressed, it sends a message to Mercedes-Benz’s control centre to allow steps for repair or recovery to be taken.On the roadThe demonstrator is a 414 model and thus it has the four-cylinder OM 651 engine rated at 143bhp and 330Nm of torque. Starting is keyless as standard. All that is required is for the fob to be nearby.With an unladen weight of just 2,750kg, those figures are more than ample for the task at hand. Pick-up from stationary is rapid and there is more than enough power to keep pace with other traffic. Spring suspension is fitted all round, and it gives a good ride along with excellent road holding. While the engine makes itself known in the cab, there are no rattles, crashes or squeaks from within the body.The overall driving experience is very car-like. When cruising at the limited 62mph speed the engine is turning at 2,100rpm, which when combined with a very low unladen weight gives the likelihood of excellent fuel returns.New Sprinter gives a car-like driving experience, helped by a small wheelAlthough the Trend has only single rear wheels, that has no impact on how it holds the road when compared to those with twin rims. It can be pushed hard, and it will take a rather less-refined driving style to impact upon the passenger experience.A genuine challengerA 16-seat Sprinter at this weight is competing largely with minibuses built on base vehicles from other marques, and it is thus important that the 4,100kg GVW Trend is priced competitively.As tested, it certainly is; everything noted comes in at a £49,500 retail figure. That can be reduced to as little as £42,500 by deletion of various fittings while still retaining 16-seat capacity.That means the Trend is substantially cheaper than EVM’s established heavier Sprinter conversions. Those vehicles offer more scope for passenger amenities and boot space, and they will continue to form the backbone of the converter’s range.But for operators who want a relatively simple 16-seat Sprinter-based minicoach that can do a lot and deliver an attractive passenger environment, the Trend is a definite contender.While it is not able to compare outright with some other marques on price, the Sprinter gives an excellent residual value. It also comes with the prestige of the three-pointed star. Couple that to extensive warranty coverage, good availability from EVM and this is a product that will find its niche quickly.Facts and figuresRetail price: Starts at £42,500; as tested, £49,500Engine: 2.1-litre, four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz OM 651Power: 100kW (143bhp) @3,800rpmTorque: 243 lb ft (330Nm) @1,200-2,400rpmEmissions: Euro 6 using EGR and SCRTyres: 235/65 R16Fuel economy: Up to 27mpg (expected)Length: 6.97mHeight: 2.62mWidth: 2.02mWheelbase: 4.33mGross weight: 4,100kgUnladen weight: 2,750kglast_img read more

Four-figure fines for idling

first_imgDrivers of company vehicles could face “four-figure fines” if they leave their engines running while parked, under new calls from a council leader.The fine is £20 or £80 depending on which regulations the authority uses to enforce the law.Local authorities are currently unable to impose penalties unless drivers ignore an initial warning and remain stationary for at least another minute.Westminster City Council leader Nickie Aiken told The Times: “Fines are our last resort but when we establish a pattern of persistent idling, we need to be able to send a message.”last_img

Go North East places order for nine Yutong electric buses

first_imgGo North East (GNE) has ordered nine Yutong E10 battery-electric buses with the Chinese manufacturer’s UK agent Pelican Bus and Coach. They will enter service in 2020.The deal takes to 24 the number of Yutong electric buses ordered in recent weeks and preceded Newport Transport’s order for 15 of the longer E12 models.The buses will be used on services between Newcastle and Gateshead. Go North East chose Yutong after trials of various electric buses models, including an E12 (pictured). The E10s form part of GNE’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint that will also see members of its diesel fleet upgraded to reduce emissions.Says Managing Director Martijn Gilbert: “We were delighted to have secured support from the government to help boost our investment in the introduction of full-electric, zero-emission vehicles that will make travelling in the north-east even greener.”The 10.8m E10s will also provide “valuable operating experience for future electric vehicles,” says the operator. They will be based at Gateshead Riverside depot and be supported by overnight charging infrastructure supplied by Yutong.Adds GNE Engineering Director Colin Barnes: “We undertook extensive trials and analysis of the electric buses currently available. Range, battery life, seating capacity, build quality and warranty were important considerations and Yutong came top in all of those areas.”The order is the first placed by a UK operator for Yutong e-buses. The E10 has  a range of over 300km on one charge, says Head of Yutong Bus Ian Downie. “The E10 is fully zero-emission with electric heating and air-conditioning. The market analysis that GNE undertook was rigorous and we are delighted that our product and support resulted in this award.”last_img read more

Scania to introduce 12.9m, two-axle Irizar i6S option

first_imgScania is to introduce a 12.9m, two-axle version of its Irizar i6S-bodied coach. It will be powered by a nine-litre, 360bhp DC09 engine and come with 53 seats and a centre sunken toilet, the chassis manufacturer has announced.The standard specification for the model will include Irizar i6S passenger seats with three-point belts, synthetic leather head-pads and drop-down tables, Bosch Smart Series audio equipment, a DVD player with two monitors and a hot drinks dispenser on top of the toilet compartment. The exterior finish will be complemented by Alcoa Dura-Bright alloy wheels.Lee Wale, UK Retail Sales Manager for Scania, says: “With the development work carried out between Irizar and ourselves, we are delighted to announce this new longer length two-axle i6S coach.“We have been able to move the position of the centre continental door to enable an excellent seat pitch for all passengers which will ensure the utmost comfort wherever they are seated. That can be a challenge on this layout of executive coach.”The first vehicle built to the longer length will arrive into the UK in early January 2020. It has been purchased by Dudley-based coach and tour operator Dunwood Travel.Dunwood Director Phil Westwood says: “We currently operate a 100% Scania fleet, of which all but one vehicle is the Scania Irizar combination. We approached Scania to see if it could build a 12.9m two-axle Irizar coach with 53 seats for added passenger comfort. I am extremely pleased that it has been able to offer this option.”last_img read more

Football Shirt Friday: Help raise money for cancer research with Go North East

first_imgGo North East staff are switching their regular uniforms for football shirts to help raise money for cancer research as part of Football Shirt Friday today (20 November).The event is arranged by the Bobby Moore Fund and Cancer Research UK and asks football fans across the UK to don their favourite shirt, send a selfie and donate to pioneering bowel cancer research.The event is in its eighth year and has already recruited England striker Harry Kane and midfielder Jordan Nobbs to take part.“It’s amazing how our team have pulled together throughout the pandemic to fundraise for charities, and this is just the latest of our activities.” Says Go North East Managing Director Martijn Gilbert. “Last week, colleagues dressed up and took part in challenges for Children in Need, raising hundreds of pounds. Time and again, our colleagues impress us with their enthusiasm for getting involved with charity fundraising, like Football Shirt Friday.“So, this Friday, please join us in donning your colours and helping to raise money for the Bobby Moore Fund’s bowel cancer research.”Head to Go North East’s funding page in order to donate.last_img read more

Niles, South Bend Chambers of Commerce merging

first_imgIndianaLocalMichiganNewsSouth Bend Market Niles, South Bend Chambers of Commerce merging Twitter WhatsApp Twitter Google+ Pinterest WhatsApp Previous articleSouth Bend Police looking into a reported shootingNext articlePolice Looking for Missing Woman in Benton Township Tommie Lee (Photo supplied/ABC 57) The Chambers of Commerce in Niles and South Bend are combining their efforts.Jeff Rea will serve as president and CEO of both chambers, and told WSBT that the partnership could be a huge benefit to businesses in Niles.The chamber in the City of Four Flags has historically had a small staff, and now gains the people, resources, and other important benefits of the larger chamber in South Bend.Rea says all business in the area should benefit from the new cooperation, and a new face with vast regional experience will be joining the board soon. Facebook By Tommie Lee – December 3, 2019 1 465 Pinterest Facebook Google+last_img read more

Brussels to Donald Trump: This ain’t no hellhole

first_imgBrussels residents have taken to Twitter to slam Donald Trump for calling the city a “hellhole.”They posted pictures of parks, famous landmarks such as the Atomium and the Grand Place, and local delicacies like chocolates and waffles, using the hashtag #hellhole.The American tycoon lashed out at Brussels in an interview with Fox Business Network Tuesday. “I was in Brussels a long time ago, 20 years ago, so beautiful, everything is so beautiful — it’s like living in a hellhole right now,” he said. The city’s reputation has suffered in the wake of the Paris attacks in November, with many of those involved linked to the city and especially the trouble neighborhood of Molenbeek.The tourist board launched a campaign to improve the city’s image, and the Belgian government is leading a charge to boost the country’s reputation abroad.Here are some of our favorite responses to Trump on social media:How can I stand to live in such a hell-ish place? #hellhole— Emily Barker (@EFBarker) January 27, 2016 I love my #hellhole @realDonaldTrump greetings from hell. We have lots of waffles. Hell is nice. #hellhole— Lauren Donovan (@LaurenDTV) January 27, 2016 #hellhole— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) January 27, 2016 #hellhole indeed, Mr. #Trump: #Brussels is ‘like a hellhole’ via @POLITICOEurope Yeah, guess any place with history before 1492 looks like a #hellhole. Right, @realDonaldTrump? #Brussels— Livia Văduva (@shamrockraver) January 27, 2016 Sometimes it snows here in Brussels too #hellhole— Marianne F-H (@Aunty_Marianne) January 27, 2016 Trump #ButtHole calls Brussels a #HellHole. Really?— Mark Johnston (@mark_johnston) January 27, 2016 We don’t take #Hellhole questions today. Thank you for your understanding. #MiddayFollies— Minion Andreva (@MinionAndreva) January 27, 2016 You could always #callbrussels to see it’s not a #hellhole …— Felix Leinemann (@EUmoveDC) January 27, 2016 Some of my favourite places in Brussels, aka #hellhole, as Trump calls it. Lived there for four years, had a blast.— Claire Barthelemy (@cbtly) January 27, 2016 — Mihaela Popa (@pmichaela89) January 27, 2016 Also On POLITICO Donald Trump: Brussels is ‘like a hellhole’ By Cynthia Kroetlast_img read more

Ukraine’s political suicide

first_imgWhen the current government came to power in 2014, it faced a tall order. Ushered in by the popular Euromaidan protests, its mandate was nothing less than to end years of semi-autocracy and corruption under ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.Ukrainians hoped their country, under new leadership, would adopt democracy, market economy and the rule of law, and associate more closely with the European Union. Added to this reform agenda, two immediate threats had to be addressed. First, economic collapse loomed: State reserves and assets had been looted by the previous government, debt was skyrocketing and the economy was in free fall. Second, Russia had attacked Ukraine, annexed Crimea, stoked separatism in Donbas, and terrorized the rest of the country.* * *The Ukrainian government faced up to these challenges with some success. Reforms started in a number of areas, from public procurement to taxes, from the police to state companies. The government stabilized the economy and public finances; rebooted the military and contained Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine; curtailed energy and economic dependency on Russia; and signed a comprehensive association and trade pact with the EU. Under the circumstances, this is no mean feat.But this partial progress has come at a price. It was made possible by a broadest-possible coalition of pro-European forces, which placed a minority of reformers, civic leaders and committed democrats alongside a majority of old political hands that clung to their influence and vested interests.The latter grudgingly agreed to some changes, mostly those called for as a condition for financial aid or visa liberalization by Western partners. But the former mostly hit a wall when it came to pursuing structural reforms geared toward fixing Ukraine’s deeply corrupt political economy. As a result, the country’s rotten prosecution and judiciary systems have remained untouched, as has the pervasive influence of Ukrainian oligarchs. KIEV — Ukraine’s fledgling democracy edged closer to dismembering itself this week, as one of the most reform-minded members of the government stepped down.In his resignation letter, Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavičius accused old political elites of systematically blocking much-needed reforms and paralyzing the fight against rampant corruption; and singled out a close confidant of President Petro Poroshenko as one of the main culprits.With his announcement, it appears that the long-simmering conflict between the forces of change and those of preservation has come to a head. The outcome will determine whether Ukraine retains a chance of becoming a stable, democratic and European country, or sinks into political, economic and social chaos. Hopes for swift improvement have been shattered and confidence in the government, and its political elite, has reached all-time lows.New anti-corruption bureaus are yet to become functional as are serious efforts to recover stolen assets. Privatizing Ukraine’s bloated and costly state companies has proven as elusive as decentralizing its public administration. This means any reform progress Ukraine has made thus far is not irreversible.Ukraine’s uneasy political coalition is coming apart at the seams. Reformers are exhausted and feeling desperate in the face of the seeming futility of their efforts. Those stalling change have become emboldened and want to end their political hibernation.Hopes for swift improvement have been shattered and confidence in the government, and its political elite, has reached all-time lows. The international pressure that once held the governing alliance together has receded: Bankruptcy is no longer imminent, Russian aggression has somewhat calmed, and Western interest in Ukraine is fading. As a consequence, political infighting has been on the rise for months.* * *The situation eerily resembles the failure of the “Orange Revolution” a decade ago. But the collapse of the current government — and a likely succession by a less reform-oriented one — would be far more disastrous. It would mark the ultimate betrayal of Ukrainian citizens by their political class. The sacrifices Ukrainians made, in defending themselves against Russian aggression and pushing for reform, will have been in vain. Predictably, they will not remain apathetic and will mobilize in protest — deepening conflict in the country and dashing hopes for peace.center_img If the government fails in Kiev, it will have a direct effect on political and economic support from the West. Ukraine’s many skeptics will gain the upper hand, and its few friends will face a steep uphill struggle. Reduced assistance — whether political, financial, administrative or military — will eventually forfeit the modest gains Ukraine has made, and expose the country’s many vulnerabilities. Such a loss of faith in, and support for, Ukraine’s ability to change would almost certainly spill over to other countries and reinforce Western views of an incorrigible post-Soviet space that is best kept at arm’s length.Reduced assistance will eventually forfeit the modest gains Ukraine has made, and expose the country’s many vulnerabilities.Russia, by contrast, would triumph. No one fears a democratic and European Ukraine more than Vladimir Putin, and weakened commitment to change in Kiev, new rounds of infighting, and a stalled rapprochement with the West could help achieve Moscow’s objectives. Russia could return to manipulating Ukraine’s corrupt elite, wind down its operation in Donbas, consider Crimea a safe acquisition, expect Western sanctions to expire, and return to business as usual with Europe and the United States.Ukraine can still escape this political suicide and its predictable consequences. To do so, decision-makers in Kiev have to, for once, place their country’s interest above their own petty concerns. Time is running out.Joerg Forbrig is transatlantic fellow for Central and Eastern Europe at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin. Also On POLITICO Ukraine’s economy minister quits, blaming Poroshenko ally By Cynthia Kroetlast_img read more