CROYDON GETS FIRST ELECTRIC BUSES / CROYDON BUS SCULPTURE TRAIL UNVEILED / IT’S FREEDOM PASS RENEWAL TIME – LOOK OUT FOR YOUR LETTER / PETROL PRICE SIGNS ON MOTORWAYS / TUBE STATION TICKET OFFICE CLOSURES / RECORD PASSENGER NUMBERS / EXTRA BUSES? / CYCLING QUIETWAYS
CROYDON GETS FIRST ELECTRIC BUSES
Croydon has its first electric buses.
The two Optare MetroCity buses are now in service on route 312, which is operated by Arriva, between South Croydon and Norwood Junction.
The bus route is used by around 4,700 passengers a day. Passengers travelling on these buses will benefit from much lower noise and vibration levels compared to regular buses with diesel engines, say TfL (Transport for London).
“These new electric buses are the latest addition to Europe’s greenest bus fleet and will increase TfL’s experience and understanding of this relatively new technology.
“The use of these electric buses will establish whether the technology can stand up to the rigours of operating in an intense urban environment such as London.
“The manufacturer’s tests demonstrate that while the initial capital cost of these vehicles is more than that of standard diesel, the significantly lower running and maintenance costs would offset this within the typical lifetime of the vehicle.
“The buses take around five hours to fully charge overnight, or two hours using fast charge technology, and have a range of up to 100 miles depending on operating conditions.”
The buses were built by UK bus manufacturer Optare, which is part of the Hinduja Group, based in Sherburn in Elmet, North Yorkshire. TfL say they have zero tail pipe emissions at point of use, resulting in lower overall carbon emissions.
Mike Weston, TfL’s Director of Buses, said: `We now have a total of eight pure electric buses in the capital’s fleet which will help increase our experience and understanding of this technology.”
Cllr Kathy Bee, Croydon’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: `Croydon is a borough that aspires to be clean and green, so it is great news that we are to get our first electric buses.
“We are London’s regeneration borough, and equally we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality.
“I’m sure passengers on the route 312 will join me in welcoming the fact that their journeys will now be more environmentally-friendly.’ (Source: Transport for London press release.)
CROYDON BUS SCULPTURE TRAIL UNVEILED
New Routemaster bus sculptures, painted and adorned by London and UK based artists, have been unveiled in Croydon.
The Croydon trail is the fourth to be unveiled in the capital, with 58 sculptures now on display across London until the New Year.
The sculptures will be auctioned early next year with the proceeds shared between Kids Company, Transaid and London Transport Museum
A total of 17 new Routemaster bus sculptures, painted and adorned by well known and aspiring artists,have been unveiled around Croydon – with six of the sculptures designed by artists living or working in the Croydon area.
Leon Daniels, managing director for surface transport, Transport for London, said: “These bus sculptures will provide a stunning addition to the Croydon area in the run up to Christmas and beyond, adding an extra sparkle to the experience of those visiting the town.
“The best way to see them is on foot and we have arranged them in an accessible trail that everyone can enjoy”
The sculptures form a collection of 58 bus sculptures, commissioned by Transport for London (TfL), which have been placed across London on four walking trails as part of the Year of the Bus. The first three trails were installed for the public to enjoy in October with the fourth and final trail in Croydon now completing the set.
The four walking trails – which are “Around Westminster”, “Around the River”, “Around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park” and “Around Croydon” – are being delivered with creative events company Wild in Art.
They are part of TfL’s celebrations to mark the Year of the Bus and aim to promote walking, to highlight the vital role the bus plays in the capital and to raise money for charity.
The sculptures, which are 2.5m long, 1m high and 0.5m wide, have been sponsored by various organisations and will remain on public display until early January.
They will then be brought together in a final display at the end of the project at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 24 and 25 January before being auctioned to raise invaluable funds for three charities: Kids Company, Transaid and London Transport Museum.
Cllr Timothy Godfrey, Croydon council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “From music venues to markets, Croydon already has lots to shout about and we’re ambitious about making our cultural scene bigger and better, and I hope these locally-inspired sculptures prove an exciting extra draw for the borough’s residents.’
Events and activities have been held throughout 2014 to celebrate TfL’s Year of the Bus, in partnership with London Transport Museum and the capital’s bus operators – specifically the role that London buses, bus drivers and the staff who support them play in keeping the capital moving.
The Year of the Bus also marks a number of important anniversaries including 60 years since the creation of the original and iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.
For some of the images please go to: www.wildinart.co.uk/the-launch-of-the-croydon-bus-trail (Source: Transport for London press release.)
IT’S FREEDOM PASS RENEWAL TIME – LOOK OUT FOR YOUR LETTER
Holders of the older person’s Freedom Pass are being urged to ensure they remember to renew their pass so that they can continue to enjoy free travel across the capital.
Letters explaining the renewal process are being sent to older people in Croydon whose Freedom Pass expires on 31 March next year.
In addition to free cross-London travel on public transport, the Freedom Pass allows older adults, of national pension age, to travel on local bus services throughout England, at certain times, and is Europe’s most comprehensive free travel scheme.
Pass holders are being encouraged to renew online, a straightforward process taking only a few minutes, and helping to reduce costs to the council, which contributes to funding for the Freedom Pass.
Libraries staff, and advisers with Age UK and Advice Services Croydon will support older residents who would like to renew online but do not have access to their own computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Anybody unable to renew online can return the form enclosed with their letter by post. Please note that Freedom Passes cannot be renewed at post office branches.
Cllr Louisa Woodley, Croydon’s cabinet member for people and communities, said: “Anyone whose older person’s pass expires on 31 March next year is entitled to a new one, provided they still live in London – it’s just a matter of waiting until your letter arrives and following the instructions.
“New passes can be used as soon as they arrive, there’s no need to wait for the old ones to expire. “You should destroy the old pass when your new one arrives.
“Anyone who has not yet received their letter but knows someone who has shouldn’t panic – it’s on its way and will be with you by the end of December.” For more information, visit www.freedompass.org (Source: Croydon council press release.)
PETROL PRICE SIGNS ON MOTORWAYS
The government is to press ahead with plans to introduce signs on motorways that display the price of fuel at service stations, to help promote competition and lower fuel prices.
The announcement was made as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. The Department for Transport will begin work early next year on trialling a new fuel comparison sign at five service stations on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter, with a view to introducing the signs by the end of 2015.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “For too long drivers have been ripped off by petrol prices on motorways. “This government wants to support the hardworking people of Britain and build a fairer society.
“This announcement will ensure people can see the cheapest places to fill up, encouraging greater competition between service stations.”
The trial follows a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in January 2013 which called for more public information on UK petrol and diesel prices.
The OFT found fuel sold at motorway stations was on average 7.5 pence per litre more expensive for petrol, and 8.3 pence per litre for diesel, than across the rest of the country.
Over the past six months the Department for Transport (DfT) has been examining the cost and planning implications of introducing the signs. The aim of the trial will be to determine whether traffic signs are effective in providing information to road users, and successful in bringing down prices, say the DfT. (Source: DfT press release.)
TUBE STATION TICKET OFFICE CLOSURES / RECORD PASSENGER NUMBERS / EXTRA BUSES? / CYCLING QUIETWAYS
TUBE STATION TICKET OFFICE CLOSURES: Responding to TfL’s announcement that tube station ticket offices will begin to close from February next year, London Assembly Labour group leader Len Duvall said: “More people than ever are using the tube network yet Boris Johnson’s cuts will mean hundreds fewer staff there to help passengers.
“It is outrageous that just a month after Londoners face another round of fare rises, Boris Johnson plans to cut the service they are offered. “It’s a real case of the Mayor asking Londoners to pay more and get less in return.
“This fight isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or on platforms, it’s about whether there are enough staff overall to provide customers with a good service, particularly the elderly and disabled.
“Before he was elected Boris Johnson promised voters that he would not close any of the capital’s ticket offices, now he is set to axe them all. “Londoners will have to ask how much the Mayor’s word is really worth.”
RECORD PASSENGER NUMBERS: Commenting on news that London Underground has broken its record for the highest number of passengers for the second time in three weeks, London Assembly Labour group transport spokesperson Val Shawcross, said:
“If the Chancellor needed a good reason to invest in London’s transport infrastructure then he got it last Friday when we saw record breaking passenger numbers on London Underground for the second time in three weeks.
“With the capital’s population soaring and London continuing to drive the UK’s economic growth we need to see the investment which will keep London moving.
“We also have to ask if, with record passenger numbers, now is really the right time for the Mayor to be cutting hundreds of tube station staff and closing all the network’s ticket offices.”
EXTRA BUSES?: Responding to the announcement that TfL is to consider buying an extra 500 buses, Val Shawcross said: “For years the Mayor has treated the bus service as the poor relation in London’s transport system.
“Despite fares for bus users rising 47 per cent since Boris Johnson came to power we’ve seen six years of flat lining growth in the bus network at the same time as soaring demand and massive issues of overcrowding.
“Under the previous Mayor the number of bus kilometres operated by TfL increased by 38pc to 490 million. “Until this announcement it was planned that between 2012 and 2020 that number would go up by just four per cent despite London’s rocketing population.
“More people travel on London’s buses than any other type of transport, yet for six years the Mayor has neglected the bus service and subjected passengers to ever increasing overcrowding.
“Whilst I welcome this announcement, for many overcrowded bus users it will come as too little too late.”
QUIETWAYS: Commenting on the TfL announcement that the first ‘Quietway’ cycling route will open next May, Val Shawcross said: “The Quietways will provide an excellent alternative for less confident cyclists as well as those who just want to avoid London’s incredibly busy main routes.
“Cycling the in capital can feel daunting, that is why these Quietways are so welcome.
“It is disappointing though that it has taken seven years for Boris Johnson to start putting in the quality cycling infrastructure we so badly need. “Whilst cycling projects are now starting to come to fruition, too much of the cycling revolution we need to see will be left to the next mayor.” (Sources: Various GLA Labour party press releases).