Monthly Archives: March 2014

Swansea Bus Museum to Lose Home?

From the South Wales Evening Post, 26 March 2014.

Brakes put on Swansea Bus Museum’s plans to move

  • A South Wales Transport AEC Renown single decker bus turns into High Street from Alexandra Road in 1950.
  • Swansea Bus Museum was hoping to move its premises to Clarence Street, but the council is proposing to demolish the building.
  • The old and the new in Oxford Street, mid-1950s. The buildings behind this United Welsh double decker bus represent post-war Swansea rising from the ashes of wartime bombardment.
  • A South Wales Transport AEC Renown single decker bus turns into High Street from Alexandra Road in 1950.
  • Swansea Bus Museum was hoping to move its premises to Clarence Street, but the council is proposing to demolish the building.

MEMBERS of Swansea’s historic bus museum say they are upset after being told they cannot relocate to a former bus garage in the city.

The Swansea Bus Museum said the unit they are currently leasing is costly and too big.

So they sent an email to Swansea Council asking to purchase the old bus garage on Clarence Street, but this was rejected by the council.

Alan West, chairman of the museum, said: “The old bus garage is of great historical value to us and we thought it would be the perfect place to move the museum to.

“At the moment the current unit we lease in the SA1 Business Park is costing us a lot in rent and rates.

“We only have three years left on the lease, so are looking for somewhere smaller and cheaper to move to.

“The place where we are now is far too big for us. So when we found the old bus garage we thought it would be perfect.”

However the museum group was told by Swansea Council that the building, close to the former Vetch football ground, is structurally unsafe and needs to be demolished. Mr West said: “That bus garage has been there since the 1950s and was custom made for United Bus Wales.

“It is a piece of heritage and we would be so upset if it was demolished. It was in use right up until last year when the electrics were condemned, but I think the building itself is sound.

“We are really interested in taking it on and think it would be a perfect place for the museum.

“The location is great and there is lots of parking nearby. As it is very near to the Quadrant I think it would be the perfect place because there would be plenty of footfall.”

A Swansea Council spokesman said: “We couldn’t agree for the Swansea Bus Museum to relocate to Clarence Street, because the building there is structurally unsafe and needs to be demolished.

“The plan is to put a temporary car park on site once the building has been demolished, pending redevelopment in the long term.”

Swansea Bus Museum is run by the South Wales Transport Preservation Trust and restores, preserves and displays buses from former public transport companies of South and West Wales.

At the museum there is currently a large fleet of buses including a 1959 Bridgemaster double decker.

The bus is one of only four surviving vehicles and the museum is looking to restore it so it looks back to its best in time for the 100 years celebration of South Wales Transport later this year.

South Wales Transport began shortly before the outbreak of the First World War and, at its height, it was responsible for 92 million passenger journeys a year. This year South Wales Transport is taking steps to celebrate the history of buses in order to mark its centenary.

Iconic bus companies from South Wales will be recalled in a new book, to be launched as part of the Roads and Road Transport Associations’s event Wales on Wheels, at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, on Saturday, May 17.

The weekend of events will mark Swansea Bus Museum’s centenary year, and Return Ticket — the Story of South Wales Transport, by former Evening Post News Editor Jonathan Isaacs, will detail the troubles and triumphs of ‘The Transport’, as it was affectionately known.



Brecon Beacons Bus Service Axed

From the BBC News web site, 31 March 2014.

Brecon Beacons Sunday and Bank Holiday bus to be axed

Brecon Beacons

A bus service used by thousands of visitors to the Brecon Beacons is being axed as part of budget savings of £650,000 over the next two years.

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority faces a budget cut of 8.9% from the Welsh government from April.

It follows a public consultation over the bus, which brings passengers from Cardiff, Newport and Swansea on Sundays and summer Bank Holidays.

But a bike bus service will still run on Sundays and summer Bank Holidays.

The authority had said it needs to make savings of more than 13% over the next two years, which prompted a review of its services.

It has 130 staff and has responsibility for planning issues and managing the national park, which attracts 4.15m visitors a year.


Earlier this year the authority also decided to cut seven posts as part of its savings plan.

The authority said it had decided to stop the service as a result of falling income from partners and concessionary fares, and a significant rise in tendered prices for the coming year.

Beacons bike bus The bike bus will still run during the summer

It added that the Cardiff to Brecon bike bus using a 24 bike trailer will continue to run from 25 May to 28 September on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The service will interchange with the Hereford 39A service in Brecon and then shuttle between Brecon and Abergavenny twice during the day.

Martin Buckle, Vice Chair of the National Park Authority’s Planning Committee said: “We understand how very disappointed many of our regular passengers will be at the withdrawal of the service.

“We hope they will still be able to travel to the National Park by making use of the Monday to Saturday bus services, and we will continue to work hard to promote these.

“The bike bus has been very popular with cyclists wanting to explore the National Park and to ride the Taff Trail back to Cardiff, and we are very pleased that we have been able to negotiate this new arrangement to allow the bike bus to run.”

The Beacons Bus bought passengers into the area on Sundays and bank holidays between May and September.

Axing the service – which was used by 5,552 people last year – will save the authority £26,000.


Older People: Making sense of the costs and benefits of travel – April 1, London, FREE

Chartered Institute of Logisitics and Transport

FREE EVENT – full details here.

Date: Tuesday April 1st 2014
Time: 10:00 (for 10:30) – 16:45
Venue: Transport for London, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ

A CILT Accessibility and Inclusion Forum Event

Many of the UK’s large and growing population of older people are making a significant contribution to the country’s economy but the size of the ageing population also creates both economic and social challenges – not least to the transport industries.

The purpose of this seminar is to take an in-depth and balanced look at the reality of enabling older people to remain independently mobile – in both urban and rural communities.

Topics for discussion will include the key part that free bus travel places in enabling many older people to support working age families, and undertake voluntary work among other activities.

Speakers include:

  • Louise Ellman MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee
  • Peter Rayner, Vice President, National Pensioners Convention, and Chair of the CILT Accessibility and Inclusion Forum
  • Ann Frye, Ann Frye Ltd and Vice Chair of the CILT Accessibility and Inclusion Forum
  • Karl Demian, Assistant Director of Strategy & Impact, Royal Volunteer Service
  • Professor Roger Mackett, University College London
  • Rodd Bond, Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Alice Woudhuysen, Age UK
  • Phil Southall, Operations Director, Oxford Bus Company
  • Philip Oxley, Oxley Research
  • Pauline Reeves, Deputy Director, Sustainable Accessible Travel, DfT

Speakers will also focus on what needs to be done to create environments within which older people can live without support and at how to make sense of the costs of mobility – who pays and who benefits. The perspective of the bus operator will play an important part in this discussion.

The seminar will bring together speakers with a wealth of experience and expertise both academic and practical and will focus on the issues that face the UK in the coming years and how best to address the needs of or ageing populations in a way that makes economic sense for all of us.


To book, contact Membership Services 01536 74010401536 740104 or email quoting Event Code: AIF0305.

Further information:

For the day’s agenda please click here.

Refreshments and a light buffet lunch will be provided.


Gasping for Air

The Times leader, March 13 2014

The capital is playing catch-up in the race to curb traffic pollution

London’s effort to persuade drivers to switch to electric cars with an £8 million network of charging stations has been a miserable failure. Almost no one uses them. Even so, Vincent Bolloré, a French billionaire, wants to invest £100 million in expanding the system and setting up a fleet of 3,000 electric rental cars to run on it.

Good luck to him. It is Mr Bolloré’s money and if one result of his investment is that more of those who already drive in London do so in zero-polluting vehicles it will help to improve the city’s air quality. There is, however, a more effective way of tackling this extremely urgent problem, both in the capital and the rest of the country. This is to speed up the electrification of two of the biggest polluters in Britain’s cities — taxis and buses.

Particulate pollutants, better known as fumes, cause cancer and respiratory illness on a scale that dwarfs the public health impact of traffic accidents and disproportionately affects the very young. A World Health Organisation study last year blamed air pollution for 29,000 premature deaths in Britain each year. It singled out London as one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Adding insult to injury, the European Commission threatened the capital last month with fines of up to £300 million for persistently failing to tackle its dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant blamed mainly on road traffic and linked to still births and poor cognitive development.

Boris Johnson’s efforts to cut London’s air pollution are in the right direction, but so far they are trifling compared with what is needed and what is being done elsewhere.

The technology exists to replace heavy duty, heavily polluting diesel engines with all-electric and hybrid propulsion systems, and other countries are seizing it. Over the past five years Britain’s Green Bus Fund has dispersed £88 million to help pay for 1,250 hybrid and battery-powered buses nationwide. Last week an order for 1,200 all-electric buses was placed by a single Chinese city.

The scale of the response in China is partly a result of its acute emergency, fuelled by a reliance on low-quality coal for power generation that is forcing millions to wear masks outdoors and keep children indoors. However, China’s rush to electric buses reflects an awareness of what can be achieved by focusing on transport fleets whose movements are predictable.

Fleet managers know how far and over which routes their vehicles need to travel each day, and where they will be every morning and evening. This vastly improves the feasibility of relying on batteries and hybrids. China’s own leading maker of electric buses, backed heavily by the American investor Warren Buffett, produces a single-decker vehicle sold worldwide with a 150-mile range between charges.

Transport for London maintains that this is not enough for most routes in the capital. It is relying instead on new hybrid Routemasters to make a reality of a central “ultra-low emission zone” by 2020. New London taxis are also required to be capable of running only on batteries by 2018, and five manufacturers are bidding for licences. The deadlines are unambitious and other cities and towns, including Coventry, Milton Keynes and Nottingham, are innovating faster with new charging methods. London claims to be leading the way to cleaner air. It is actually playing catch-up, and must speed up.

Green cars to rival Boris bikes

Philip Pank, The Times, March 13 2014

The “Boris bike” is morphing into the Bluecar as an electric hire vehicle that has opened up affordable green motoring to Parisians makes its way across the Channel.

Vincent Bolloré, the French billionaire, announced plans yesterday to let up to 3,000 of the compact vehicles loose on the streets of London, drawing power from 6,000 charge points.

Drivers will pay a monthly subscription fee of £5 plus £10 for each hour of motoring, which, Mr Bolloré says, is far cheaper than owning, insuring, maintaining and running a private car.

On a test drive yesterday, the vehicle proved adequate for London driving. Acceleration was more like that of a milk float than other low-emission vehicles, but for businessmen travelling to meetings or couples on an evening out, the four-seater car with a theoretical top speed of 68mph will certainly be cheaper than a black cab and more appealing than bicycle hire in the rain.

Mr Bolloré acknowledged that it might not be the best electric car on the market, but it was the cheapest and the most resilient, able to cope with 30 drivers a day.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, hopes that the car-sharing club will kick-start an electric car revolution. Drivers will be able to reserve a car at a specific location using a mobile phone app or a call centre.

Paris has 45,000 active users who between them take up to 13,000 journeys a day.

London air quality remains worse than in most other European cities, and since 2010 has been in breach of EU limits for nitrogen dioxide.

Councils get £146m to fix potholes created by floods

Philip Pank (Transport Correspondent), The Times, March 10 2014.

Councils are being given an extra £146 million to fix roads damaged by the winter floods, the Government announced yesterday. Local authorities welcomed the help, but warned that they were already facing a £10 billion backlog in repairs to the local roads network and large compensation claims from drivers who hit potholes last year.

A fund covering the areas worst hit by the flooding is being raised to £80 million from £36.5 million while £103 million is being made available from the Department for Transport.It is hoped that repairs can be completed in time for the school summer holidays.

Councils are required to publish details of where the money has been spent by the end of August. The money has come from departmental savings.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said: “This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”

Mike Jones, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment and housing board, said: “We do not yet know what the full bill for the cost of this winter’s devastating floods will be, but we expect it to be more than £140 million. Nevertheless, we are pleased the Government has recognised the need to provide funding.”

The widow of a charity cyclist who died after hitting a pothole says she has been left no option but to sue a council. Martyn Uzzell, 51, of Clevedon, Somerset, was killed in 2011 while on a fund-raising ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He hit a ditch on the A65 in North Yorkshire and was thrown into the path of a car. An inquest into his death was told that North Yorkshire Council had missed opportunities to repair the road. Kate Uzzell told the BBC: “[Suing] is not what I wanted to do. But I wanted there to be a prosecution and for them to stand up and be counted.”

Journal 75

The latest Journal was posted today, Thursday. If you have not yet renewed your membership, a membership form is included. Also included are details for the AGM, Wales on Wheels, and the Summer and Autumn Conferences – also see the Events page.

Journal 75 Contents

Glass – Handle with Care! Paul Lacey.
Role Country Carriers in the Lancaster Area, James Bowen.
Association Matters.
Obituary: Christopher Taylor.
Book Review: England’s Motoring Heritage from the Air by John Minnis.
Kent in World War Two: Transport in Doodelbug Alley, Robert McCloy.
Buffalo Bill’s Trasnport Legacy, Paul Lacey.
Teaching Grandchildren to Use Buses, Roger Atkinson.