Page 1


Volume 15. No. 1. Spring 2019

Yutong GT12 -


Setting new standards of value and luxury FIRST DRIVE: Mercedes-Benz eCitaro REPORT: CTTC AGM 2019 PROFILE: Halpenny Travel NEW FLEET: MY2019 Handovers Plus: Bus Lane • Product • Fleeting Shots • Global • Conductors' Stand



With Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), you benefit from much more than access to the market’s widest range of low and zero emission buses and coaches. You benefit from our collaborative approach, working with you to provide world-leading technology, outstanding reliability and safety, low total cost of ownership and a passenger experience second-to-none. We take the same approach to our extensive line up of Plaxton coaches, all British-built with stainless steel body structures, delivering best-in-class whole life costs with outstanding versatility and resale performance. All our products are backed by unrivalled Aftermarket support including AD24, which enables online parts ordering and more - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To find out more, contact your dedicated Sales Manager for Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland:

Lee Gibson: +44 (0)7741 656915 Email: | 3

2019 into 2020

Dónal / Chairman/M.D. Sandra / Exec Director

WINNER Excellence in Transport Services Public Sector Awards 2018 2019 looks like a positive year for tourism transport. Connecting with us, you will have an extra Sales Distribution line with our Cloud Computing for your Private Hire Tourism vehicles in 2019 and 2020.

Results to date for 32CC Network CO-OP  €7m+ in new, additional revenue business to Investor and Sub Hire companies over the years from all markets, North America, Britain, Europe Middle, the Far East and Local Irish  Marketing wholly owned 2 International brands (Irish Coaches & Hello Ireland Tours)  Local domestic ads. promoting Members/Associates (e.g. Active Retirement Ireland/Members Annual 2019 )

No.210047249 IRPTOL No.2

Contents Spring 2019 4 News • BYD marks two decades in Europe • Aircoach buys new Volvo Plaxtons • Major bus conference in Brussels • JJ Kavanagh increases services Plus Bus Lane

17 First Drive With Mercedes-Benz eCitaro

8 Product • VDL extends Citea EV range • Go-Ahead works with Michelin • Volvo Euro 6 Step D launched

19 Launch Pad Mentioning Volvo, Translink/ Ulsterbus, SkyLite GT & Mobility Networks

10 Cover Feature on Pelican Bus & Coach and Yutong GT 12

20 Global Covering Volvo, Irizar, Iveco Bus, Wrightbus & VDL

13 Awards Details on the Fleet Bus & Coach Awards 2020

22 Report CTTC AGM 2019

18 New Fleet I Recent EVM sales and Leinster Rugby travels in style

14 Profile Halpenny Travel

24 New Fleet II • Dublin hotel to provide electric commuter bus • Aircoach invests in Volvo

16 Fleeting Shots 50,000th electric BYD bus built Volvo 9000 range with Spanish title

26 Conductors’ Stand Being Coach Friendly


Fleet Bus & Coach Magazine D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Tel: +353 (0)94 9372819/ 9372826 Fax: +353 (0)94 9373571 Email: ISSN: 1649-9433 Managing Editor: Jarlath Sweeney


Editor: Sean Murtagh

FINALIST Passenger Transport Company of the Year Irish Logistics & Transport Awards 2018/2019

“Filling Gaps for Network Members” 12+ Years Success On-the-Road

Thirty Two Counties Coaches Designated Activity Company T/A Irish Coaches Ulster Bank Chambers, Dublin 1 01 - 8788894/98 E-mail: or

Talk with Dónal, Sandra, Lilly or Holly

Contributors: Rob Van Dieten, Paul White, Busworld Photography: Jarlath Sweeney, Sean Murtagh, Warren Matthews Dundalk Sport, CTTC Administration: Denise Owens, Paula Mullarkey Advertising: Mary Morrissey, Orla Sweeney Design: Eamon Wynne Printed in Ireland


Fleet Transport/ Fleet Car/ Green Fleet Management/ Fleet Van & Utility/ Fleet Bus & Coach/ Fleet Trailer & Body Builder/ Fleet Maritime & Caravan Cruise Ireland are published by JJDS Publications Ltd. Registered Office: D’Alton Street, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Co. Reg. 368767 Directors: Jarlath Sweeney, Sean Murtagh. Disclaimer: Fleet Bus & Coach Magazine management can accept no responsibility for the accuracy of contributed articles or statements appearing in this magazine and any views or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Fleet Bus & Coach management, save where otherwise indicated. No responsibility for loss or distress occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the authors, contributors, Editors or publishers. The Editor reserves the right to make publishing decisions on any advertisements or editorial article submitted to the magazine and to refuse publication or to edit any editorial material as seems appropriate to him. Professional legal advice should always be sought in relation to any specific matter.

Fleet Bus & Coach - the official Irish journal of the International Bus/Coach of the Year Awards.

4 | NEWS 1

BUS LANE Translink’s Urby service – an instant success Translink’s new Urby service is attracting record passenger numbers since its introduction last September. The high spec Double Deck buses were first introduced to Newtownards and Ballyclare and have also been rolled out across Park and Ride services in the Greater Belfast area – Blacks Road, Cairnshill and Sprucefield. The Urby vehicles, manufactured by Wrightbus, have a modern and striking livery and come with a range of enhanced on board customer features for an even better journey experience. Commenting on the initial success, Translink’s Bus Services Manager David Curry said: “We are very pleased at the initial response to Urby with 8% passenger growth since September. We have also received very positive feedback from our customers who use these services regarding the look and feel of the buses. These buses offer the highest levels of passenger comfort with features including a new seating layout with leather seats, offering more space; USB charging points and free WiFi. The buses are state of the art in terms of specification, technology, performance and environmental features.”

BYD celebrates 20 years in Europe


special ceremony was held in Schiedam, part of the greater Rotterdam region in the Netherlands to celebrate BYD E u r o p e ’s 20th anniversar y. The Chinese automotive, electronics and new energy technology manufacturer’s European HQ has been based there si nce December 1998.

Pictured at the ceremony (from left to right): Cor Lamers, Mayor of Schiedam; Isbrand Ho, Managing Director at BYD Europe; Guosheng Zhang, Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands, and Barbara Kathmann, Vice Mayor of Economic Affairs for the Municipality of Rotterdam in front of the 8.7m electric Midibus.

“We look forward to welcoming more ‘smarter’ travellers on board who are looking for a better way to commute and connect with Belfast, to get more ‘me time’ and enjoy a more active and healthier travel option compared to the car,” he concluded.

Isbrand Ho, Managing Director at BY D Europe, said: “It is all part of the bright future for BYD’s “new energy solutions” across Europe, driven by the battery technology and the need to clean up the air we breathe – something in which you, BYD and our customers have a crucial role to play. In the Netherlands we were the fi rst to introduce our proven full-size emissions free buses five years ago. We will continue to be an industry innovator, working in close co-operation with academia, our customers and the relevant government and nongovernment bodies. We have the ability to remain a leader even in the face of intensifying competition.”

2018 EU Bus & Coach registrations rise

In December 1998, BYD Europe was the fi rst overseas subsidiary of the Shenzhen-based BYD Company and started importing BYD batteries. A few years later it expanded business with solar panels and from 2012 it added electric buses, forklifts and taxis to its key businesses. Today it also has a growing energy storage business and very soon electric trucks will be included in its portfolio.

Overall during 2018, 41,992 new buses and coaches were registered across the European Union (EU), an increase of 1.3% compared to the year before. This growth was largely driven by the buoyancy of the Central European markets (+18.6%), giving the full-year EU results an important boost. On the other hand, all major Western European markets contracted in 2018 − with the exception of Italy, which recorded strong growth (+36.7%). The Irish market showed a strong increase in new registrations with 446 units purchased, up 107 units from 2017 (+31.56%). This marks a significant turnaround following the 6.35% decline during 2016. For the past two years Volvo Bus was the leading brand, commanding almost 48% market share for the past two years running. FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

Following the success in the pure electric bus business, BYD is the number one supplier of electric buses in Europe with over 650 ebuses sold. It decided two years ago to move its bus production for Europe from China to two plants in Europe: Hungary and France. The Komarom, Hungary-based factory has since then delivered ebuses to Dutch clients Connexxion and Syntus, and to the Swedish operator Nobina. It is also producing the 12m specialised airport ebuses for Brussels Airport Company and chassis for customers in the UK. The plant in Beauvais, France, serves mainly as an assembly plant for the French market and has, since its opening in November last year, delivered ebuses to three cities in France. The co-operation between BYD and Alexander Dennis, Britain’s largest coach and bus builder, has led to 60% market share in the UK market. It has also won Transport for London’s and the UK’s first ever electric double deck bus order. 37 BYD ADL buses will be delivered later this year.

TCO at a glance: Find out more about the cost factors involved when operating a bus or coach

Bus of the Year 2019. The new Citaro hybrid. The benchmark. With remarkable fuel savings of up to 8.5%, the Citaro hybrid gives urban centres a real boost in sustainability. Thanks to its forward-looking drive concept, you’ll be taking the next step towards a greener future. Urban transport will not only be more economical, but also much more eco-friendly. Discover the many advantages of the Citaro hybrid. For more information go to:

Supplier: EvoBus (UK) Ltd, Cross Point Business Park, Ashcroft Way, Coventry CV2 2TU


Aircoach announces big investment in Cork-Dublin Route


ircoach, Ireland’s leading private bus and coach operator, is investing €2.4 million in its Cork-Dublin route, with the imminent introduction of seven new Plaxton Panthers on Volvo B11 platforms. It demonstrates the company’s strong commitment to Cork, providing a 24/7, transport service between these two major urban centres and Dublin Airport. This announcement, which is on the back of sustained growth across the Aircoach business, brings total investment in new vehicles in the past 12 months to over €4.5 million. Commenting on the investment Dervla McKay, Managing Director of Aircoach, commented: “The Cork Dublin route is a very important one for us, connecting our two main cities and Dublin Airport, 24 hours a day. We are delighted to be able to invest in this route and it is a strong indicator of how our services are being utilised by a wide

in comfort at an affordable price are key deliverables, but the modern passenger also wants great WiFi and easy, flexible online booking and payment options.”

range of passengers from business people to students, leisure travellers to those travelling for one off events in Cork or Dublin. Investing in new coaches and technology has enabled us to grow over the last number of years, improve the customer experience and we are looking forward to introducing more innovations in 2019. “ Commenting on trends and the changing needs of passengers she added: “We cater for a wide mix of passengers, all with varying needs. Reliability of service and travelling

Founded in 1999, Aircoach employs 250 people across the island of Ireland and provides a range of high frequency, quality, great value scheduled coach services to and from Cork and Belfast cities to Dublin City Centre and Dublin Airport. It is the only bus company in Ireland providing 24-hour service across its routes, with over 2.6 million passenger journeys, covering 5.5 million miles in 2018. This commitment from Aircoach to Cork is in addition to a substantial investment in technology leading to even more frequent departure times to their schedule as well as introducing online real time coach tracker and contactless payments, making journeys even easier and hassle free for customers.

International Bus Conference 2019 - Brussels


located near the Hysel Stadium. Th is is the biggest bus and coach exhibition in the world to showcase the latest developments in the bus industry.

• • • •

The International Bus conference has a dedicated website www.busconference. com.

Those with a ticket to attend the Conference can walk into the Busworld exhibition in the adjacent halls of the Brussels Expo,

The following topics to be discussed at the International Bus Conference 2019 include: Business Opportunities Beyond Traditional Operations • Entering the new energy market • Smart bus systems of the future • Station development • Funding and financing Everyday Operational Excellence in 5 Main Areas: • Comfort and Safety

fter the success of the initial conference in 2017 at Kortrijk, Belgium - Busworld and UITP have once again joined forces to organise the International Bus Conference 2019, where participants can discover the major trends and developments in the bus and coach sector from a global perspective. To be held at the Brussels Expo from 21-23 October next, attendees will come away with fresh and innovative ideas, best practices, case studies and advice for implementation.

Electrification and New Energy Innovative Technologies Service Contracting and Tendering Happy Customers and Staff

JJ Kavanagh introduces 25 new daily services


ontinuing a pattern of growth, JJ Kavanagh & Sons, Urlingford, County Kilkenny, which celebrates its centenary this year, has introduced a new service route to Dublin City and Dublin Airport from Naas Town. N7 commuters can now avail of the new return service which departs from Naas twenty-five times per day. The introduction of this service to Naas Town further enhances the JJ Kavanagh FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

& Sons network considerably and offers passengers greater connectivity between the towns and cities. “Commuters in the area can look forward to direct services to Dublin City and Dublin Airport. What’s more, third level students from the locality attending UCD, Trinity College, DCU, and the City Centre based ITs will all now have a frequent bus timetable which will make commuting even easier and more affordable for students,”

said a spokesperson for JJ Kavanagh & Sons. High standard coaches are provided on the service which are Wi-Fi enabled. Commuters can save up to 52% with JJ Kavanagh & Sons TaxSaver Monthly, Quarterly or Annual Gold Cards and Department of Social Protection Travel Pass will be accepted. Book the ticket online and save 10% on travel.

A DREAM TO DRIVE The new Volvo 9900

The ultimate coach driver experience has arrived. Appreciate the elegant trim, take control of the leather steering wheel and experience a truly premium driving experience thanks to the perfectly suspended seat. Stable and highly manoeuvrable thanks to its low centre of gravity, the 9900 comes with Volvo’s powerful 10.8-litre engine and 12-speed I-Shift transmission. Class-leading safety features include advanced driver support systems such as the unique Volvo Dynamic Steering (VDS), which delivers advanced stability at higher speeds. Take your seat in the all-new driver’s environment and begin the best journey that you’ll ever make. Drive the dream now. To discover the new Volvo 9900, call the Volvo Sales Team or visit

VOLVO 9900

For your ultimate journey Wedgnock Lane, Warwick CV34 5YA Tel: 01926 401777,


VDL Bus & Coach introduces a new length variant of the Citea LLE Electric


DL Bus & Coach has expanded its Citea Electric product range with a 11.5 metres Light Low Entry length version. For over 2 years, the Citea LLE-99 Electric with a length of 9.9 metres has been operating successfully in various operations. With the introduction of the 11.5 metre length variant, VDL offers operators the opportunity to transport larger numbers of passengers electrically in regional areas. The Citea LLE-115 Electric can be equipped with various charging options, door configurations and flexible interior solutions. The expansion of the VDL Citea Electric range with the 11.5-metre Light Low

any interim recharging. Thanks to the high-quality batteries and smart charging solutions, it is possible to achieve an action radius of up to 500 kilometres per day with interim recharging. In addition to the standard CCS plug, a pantograph can be used for quick charging at up to 270 kW. Entry Electric is a logical step in making public transport in regional areas more sustainable. The Citea LLE-115 Electric has a higher passenger capacity, with a maximum seating arrangement of 35+4+1. The new length variant is equipped as standard with the 180 kWh battery pack. This makes it possible to achieve an action radius of 100-150 kilometres without

The VDL electric product range consists of 3 models, namely the Low Floor (also available as the Low Floor Articulated), Low Entry and Light Low Entry. The lengths vary from 9.9 metres to 18.7 metres. Th is gives the operator a high degree of flexibility and the ability to perfectly match deployment needs and operational preferences.

Go-Ahead continues with Michelin tyre maintenance contract


rominent passenger transport group Go-Ahead has extended its 21-year relationship with Michelin, thanks in part to the manufacturer’s continuing development of sustainable products. Michelin were highly placed in GoAhead’s latest Sustainability Award which grades more than 20 of its largest suppliers on how they can support the group in reducing its carbon footprint, energy consumption, particulate emissions and improving recycling. The price-per-mile/kilometre deal will cover around 95 percent of Go-Ahead’s expanding bus fleet – 4,800 vehicles – operating from more than 50 depots

our suppliers are expected to meet certain requirements on environmental issues and sustainability – and these factors were key to us renewing our tyre policy with Michelin. We regularly test the market place to see if we are gett ing the best deal possible for our business. Michelin continues to prove it is competitive on price and we have never had any doubts about the quality of its tyres,” he added. around the UK & Ireland with the Effitires (Michelin’s tyre management programme) contract offering a combination of outsourced tyre procurement and expert management solutions.

Founded in 1987, Go-Ahead provides more than a billion journeys every year in its bus and rail services. Its bus division has over 5,000 buses serving customers internationally.

Commenting, Jim Collins, Go-Ahead’s Group Chief Engineer (Bus), said: “All

Volvo upgrades Euro 6 Diesel engines to Step D


or Model Year 2019, Volvo has upgraded the D11 and D13 diesel engines for its 9700 and 9900 coach ranges, meeting the latest Euro 6 Step D regulation. The upgrades contain a number of improvements that enable operators to reduce fuel costs. The new Euro 6 Step D regulation focuses on ensuring that vehicles conform with the emissions standards in normal operation of FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

use. Volvo fulfils these stringent emissions standards by new engine soft ware and improved coating in the exhaust after-

treatment system. The map-based I-See soft ware uses map data to preview the topography of the route, and takes care of gear selection, acceleration and engine braking. It is designed to utilise the vehicles moving energy in the best possible way and has been improved with a number of upgrades, such as a new gear selection strategy and selective coasting which enables more efficient use of the freewheel function I-Roll. Busworld

pow ere

EUR d by DAF O6

Extremely efficient. The entirely new, modern and streamlined interior and exterior design of the EX reflects the characteristics of the vehicle: functional and efficient. Created with the values of the Van Hool range in mind: great reliability, combined with a high level of finishing.

welcome to the world of Van Hool elegance and efficiency in transport Van Hool NV • Bernard Van Hoolstraat 58, BE-2500 Lier (Koningshooikt), Belgium • tel. +32 3 420 20 20 • •

10 | COVER

Yutong enters Irish market with Pelican Bus & Coach and Central Bus & Coach


elican Bus & Coach, based in Yorkshire in the North of England, is the sole importer for Chinese manufacturer, Yutong, for both Irish and UK markets. This year the company celebrates a century of trading in bus, coach and truck sales. Recently, Pelican appointed Central Bus & Coach Sales in Longford as its sole sales agents in Ireland for Yutong coaches. Since taking the Yutong agency around five years ago, Pelican has sold almost five hundred vehicles in these markets. Commenting on the ongoing sales success and customer acceptance, Bob Elliott, Sales Manager at Pelican Bus & Coach said: “While some people were a litt le

FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

concerned about the product in the early days, we turned that concern into curiosity and then the curious became customers.” Over the years, Pelican has built a solid customer base for the Yutong product line, with some operators on a third cycle of vehicles. When asked about residual values, Bob replied that while only a handful have come back as trade-ins, up to 15 or so, like-for-like, the used Yutong is holding its value with competitors in the market. Relating to today’s product range Yutong has a major presence in the electric bus market, with potential that Pelican sees

growing as Governments become more concerned with the environment, leading to political pressure for change. Th rough an association with the OHM Group, a field test with an electric bus is underway around the streets of Dublin with three operators. Pelican is well aware that customer care and good back up service is something real and not aspirational. Bob concurred by saying: “If a customer has a vehicle off the road and we need to take a part from a stock vehicle to repair it urgently, then that is what we will do.”

COVER | 11 Yutong GT12 Test Drive Newly appointed Irish agents for Pelican and Yutong, Central Bus & Coach undertook a Roadshow type nationwide tour around the country to promote the newly launched Yutong GT12, which made its debut at the CTTC Coach & Bus Show at the RDS last November. Fleet Bus & Coach went to Galway to try out the new vehicle, taking it to Cork for the second leg of the tour. Powered by the PACCAR (DAF) MX-11 Euro 6 450hp diesel, with a ZF EcoLife auto box, Yutong in association with Pelican has “Europeanised” the GT12 in design terms, giving it a very stylish look by softening some of its eastern features. In addition, most of the components fitted are from well known European suppliers. First Impressions An operator investing in a new coach will want it to stand out, in other words, have a presence about it, to bear the fi rm’s colour scheme and any livery in a distinctive way. Being slightly higher than most of its competitors, the GT12 certainly does carry an imposing look. It has a distinctive design style and the higher windscreen allows for additional signage, if desired. On the side of the coach the body lines are smooth and the locker doors are flush with the side body panels. The rear of the coach also stands out, allowing for plenty sign writing space. Interior On stepping into the coach there is plenty of space around the door and passengers will not fi nd the steps too steep. A well-designed courier seat with

the foot rest sunken in under the dash removes some of the clutter that is often a feature on other manufacturer’s vehicles. While interior design is often down to personal preference, the sunken centre aisle is effective. Seats designed by Yutong are comfortable and have a three point belt system with a fold away tray on the back. Plug-in charging points are suitably placed at every seat. Overhead, the lighting cluster and air conditioning controls are within easy reach. Also up there, the luggage racks are spacious and secure. While a litt le higher than most of its competitors, this positioning allows passengers a better view of their surroundings, while on the move. On the Road It does not matter how good a coach looks on paper, or what the price is, the acid test is how it drives. Is it lively? Comfortable? And pleasing to drive? From the start, the driver’s seat is easy to adjust, and

once comfortably seated the exterior mirrors are well positioned.While the sloping back A-pillar gives clear vision, the window panel in the lower half of the door removes another blind-spot area. The dash area is well laid out and the instruments are easy to hand and simple to operate. Incidentally, there are two display options for the centre cluster, which can be changed from a sett ing on the dash. Another feature that tour drivers especially will be impressed with is the extra luggage space. As mentioned previously that there is some extra height in the coach, and this goes straight to the luggage area and in practical terms it will allow extra bags or cases on top of the normal load. The comprehensive exterior camera system with good side lighting will prove to be very helpful in all manoeuvres. Both the DAF engine and the EcoLife box are well renowned for their compatibility

12 | COVER

and both are well matched to the Yutong. At the rear, the engine compartment door is easily opened and one will fi nd a fi re suppression system fitted. When driving there is litt le or no wind noise. All of the stalk controls are within easy reach and the angle of the dash makes it easy to make adjustments to the heating, lighting, or any of the other controls. The driver is almost looking down on the switches. The collision avoidance system and the vehicle proximity warning display is easily changed to suit driving or road conditions. In some coaches the transmission is not always smooth, sometimes giving a heavy shunt as it changes up and down, but this was not the case with this test vehicle. In traffic, and while on the motorway all changes were smooth. As a matter of fact, when going through a tight spot in Oranmore, County Galway, Ian Dennehy from Central Bus & Coach Sales Department informed me that a full replacement mirror unit for the GT12 costs about €250. Good to know, as it’s significantly cheaper than most of its competitors. Another thing noticeable was that the driver will defi nitely step out of this coach as fresh as when fi rst

FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

gett ing in.

Spec Sheet

Overall Verdict For any manufacturer to break into a new market a strong dealer presence with credibility is required. Pelican and Central Bus & Coach fulfi ll this criteria in abundance. Of course, the DAF engine along with the other European components will help to boost operator confidence. Spare part availability and the speed of delivery is important to reduce any downtime. Pelican guarantees that any part ordered from their stores before 15.00hrs will be delivered in Ireland next day. As an example, in advance of our test drive, Central Bus & Coach placed an order with the Pelican stores in the UK at 14.45 on Monday, and the part arrived at Kenagh in Longford at 10.30 on Tuesday morning. That’s impressive. A twenty-four hour help line is available to operators whereever they might be located. Having achieved the sales success to date, it is interesting to note that some operators have been back for a second and third round of replacements. Yutong has a promising future in this country.


Yutong GT12


10.7 litre PACCAR (DAF) MX-11






ZF EcoLife (6-speed automated)








13.6 tonnes


19.5 tonnes

Luggage capacity



ZF (front/rear)


53 + 1 + 1 + Toilet


2 years unlimited

Yutong TC9 As a more compact coach, the Yutong TC9 will certainly be of interest to Irish operators. At 9.3m in overall length it can carry up to 35 passengers, or 32 with a toilet. No doubt, passengers will avail of coach comfort, even if they are part of a smaller group, in this high spec vehicle. Spec Sheet Engine

Cummins ISB6 6.7litre






ZF EcoLife (6-speed automated)




10.550 tonnes


3.250 tonnes

Luggage capacity



35/37 +1 + 1 (32/34 with toilet)


2 years unlimited

Text & Photos: Sean Murtagh -

Celebrating excellence in the Irish Passenger Transport Industry

Gala Evening Event The Fleet Bus & Coach Awards, in association with JF Dunne Insurances, will once again recognise and honour operators working within the Irish Passenger transport industry. There are 12 categories to choose from, so now is your chance to show you can be among the best in your particular field. • Coach Operator of the Year 2020 – Commuter • Coach Operator of the Year 2020 – Inter City • Coach Operator of the Year 2020 – Tours • Coach Operator of the Year 2020 – Airport Services • Bus Operator of the Year 2020 – Less than 10 Vehicles • Bus Operator of the Year 2020 – More than 10 Vehicles

• School Bus Operator of the Year 2020 • Best Safety Practice Award 2020 • Best Livery & Corporate Identity 2020 • Care for the Environment Award 2020 • Investment in Innovation Award 2020 • Services to the Passenger Transport Industry Award

Date: Thursday 14 November 2019 Venue: Johnstown Estate Hotel, Enfield, County Meath Time: Pre-Awards Drinks Reception 6 p.m. For Further Information please contact: Sponsorship: Orla Sweeney | | +353 86 2439239 | +353 949372819 Mary Morrissey | | +353 87 2178495 | +353 949372819 Entries: Anne Marie Grant | | +353 86 1451330 | +353 94 9372826


Halpenny Travel, Blackrock, County Louth

“Through the (new) Chair at the CTTC”


he quaint and picturesque coastal town of Blackrock County Louth, feels more like a tour destination for a coach company, rather than the headquarters of one. Yet, this prett y seaside town is home to the family run business of Halpenny Travel. Fleet Bus & Coach went to meet the husband and wife team of John and Cheryl Halpenny to learn more about the company, and to find out what plans John has in mind as the new installed Chairman of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) during his term in office. With regard to the CTTC’s new Chairman we can rest assured that he knows about the passenger transport business. John

Halpenny of Halpenny Travel, is the third generation of the family to run that particular business, which was established almost 100 years ago in 1920 by John’s Grandfather Joe Halpenny. At the time the family ran the service from the Violet Hotel in Blackrock, and came up with the idea of providing a transport service to and from Dundalk, which at that time was some distance away, whereas today the two towns have almost merged. So the ‘Violet Bus’ Service was born. The transport link proved very popular with holiday makers and for day trips from Dundalk to the seaside town. In the typical fashion of so many bus and coach operators - from these simple beginnings the services expanded, and a lifelong

Cooley Kickhams Ladies GAA Senior team, sponsored by Halpenny Travel, won the County title in 2018. Pictured is team captain Claire Donnelly holding the County cup aloft , fl anked by Dermot Woods of the Louth County Board (left) and John Halpenny. MD., Halpenny Travel. Photo: Warren Matt hews as featured in Dundalk Sport. FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

dedication to the passenger transport industry was born. Today, Halpenny Travel offers a full range of services with a particular emphasis on serving the local community by continuing with the original regular services to Dundalk and additional services onto Newry. In addition to the regular school transport provision, Halpenny can provide a full corporate and tour service as requested, and much of the company’s business is on a repeat basis arising from customers who have travelled with the company previously and choose to stay. Another interesting niche Halpenny Travel has created focuses on travel to and from major music concerts and events, which chiefly interests the younger members of the community, and having Dundalk IT close by this, can be a ready made market. Promoting a transport service to these events is primarily done through social media. While we are told promoting your business on social media is the way forward, it is something Cheryl is slightly hesitant about - and with good reason. Like many in this industry she would prefer to deal with people face to face, or at least on the phone, where if there is a problem, experience shows it can be resolved personally, quickly and simply to the satisfaction of all concerned. In contrast, on social media any problems no matter how small can run away in

PROFILE | 15 an uncontrollable manner and unfairly damage a company’s reputation and leave them with little no access to redress. While Cheryl is positive about the benefits social media can bring, she also feels operators need to be cautious. John, Cheryl and the near 20 staff members at Halpenny’s operate a mixed fleet of 14 vehicles which includes 54-seat touring and private hire coaches, double and single deckers for town services and school bus work, with 19 and 29-seat mini and midi coach bus units for smaller groups. The Halpenny f leet is dominated by Volvo Bus using a mixture of Jonckheere and Sunsundegui bodywork, with the 29-seaters from Mercedes-Benz. Overall, the average age of the fleet is around 5 to 8 years old, which is commendable as the older double-deckers can dramatically lower that average. Nevertheless, Cheryl appreciates that good maintenance is a vital part of running a successful passenger transport business. So to meet this need Halpenny’s combine in-house servicing schedules with full main dealer support from Dennison Volvo in Newry to remain compliant with all regulations. In addition, many compliance issues such as vehicle records, tachograph monitoring, and driver training are overseen by an independent third party, the TCTS Group. The company has always had good working relationship with the National Transport Authority (NTA), aka Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and fi nds the people there quite supportive. Nevertheless, they feel it is important the Authority does not lose sight of the work done by the many smaller operators who provide important local and regional transport services. Policies made to suit the needs of Dublin commuters and other large cities do not necessarily take account of local conditions and the valuable social services they deliver. There is a sense that Halpenny Travel is a solid company and one that arguably gained from the downturn that began in 2008. That period was difficult for all passenger transport companies and Cheryl mentioned that there were times when “it was very bleak, there was a lot less Text: Paul White -

work around, with less people travelling”. For all at Halpenny Travel there were no alternatives as they knew nothing other than passenger transport, “and we just had to make it work – and we did,” she added. The Halpennys did make it work and their efforts were duly recognised when the company was presented with the Fleet Bus & Coach Operator of the Year (Commuter) Award for 2011. Making it work for all members of the CTTC will be a priority for John Halpenny as the newly installed Chairman. As with previous representatives who have tried hard to explain the operator’s viewpoint to the powers that determine how the industry is run, this can be an endless uphill struggle against bureaucracy and intransigence. Without doubt the list of items to be resolved is as long as ever, and issues such as suitable coach parking, young driver recruitment and insurance, PSV Certification and privatisation are all on his agenda. However, it must be remembered that the Departments who govern many of these issues move slowly, and change will not come overnight.

Council must at all times reflect the professionalism of the membership.” He also feels the CTTC would benefit from some younger members becoming more involved, by exploring some new ideas with new thinking, and for example, promoting the Council with an improved online presence. In addition to running the business the Halpenny’s have a young family to raise, so where do they get their energy and enthusiasm from to keep it all going? “Like anything, it can get a bit much at times. Though if you weren’t personally involved you wouldn’t offer the same level of service. It’s a way of life for us and you can get a buzz from it - but it you didn’t care, you wouldn’t do it.” It is now almost a century since the Halpenny family ran their fi rst Blackrock to Dundalk service. Unfortunately, the Violet Hotel is no longer trading. However, it would appear that Halpenny Travel is in good hands and looks set to continue providing important local and national transport services to many of the descendants who travelled on the Violet Bus all those years ago.

Arguably there is a need to heighten the profi le of the organisation, possibly through social media or possibly by being more vocal. However, John strikes a note of caution on this matter: “The


BYD rolls out its 50,000th Pure Electric Bus


019 is a significant year for BYD as the Chinese automotive manufacturer and new energy technology company celebrates twenty years in Europe. On 18 January, BYD proudly announced the production of its 50,000th pure electric bus, a K9UB 12-metre model, nine years after initial production began. The milestone electric bus was destined for a customer in Spain after testing in BYD’s Hangzhou testing facility, adjacent to the assembly line. Spanish operator TUBASA is expected to enter it into service in Badajoz, in the Southwestern region. The vehicle features all-new styling, with a capacity of 80 passengers. Build Your Dreams (BYD) boasts the world’s largest selection of battery electric buses, with a client list that spans across 300 cities around the world. BYD entered Spain’s electric bus sector in 2017, and currently has orders from various cities

such as Valencia, Saint Cugat, Badalona and Badajoz. Ever since the fi rst K9 pure electric bus was produced in Changsha in 2010, BYD has actively advocated for the adoption of new energy vehicles. Today, BYD's pure electric buses have not only become commonplace in major Chinese cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Changsha and Xian,

but have also spread to other mediumto small-sized cities in the country. In addition, BYD has also gradually grown its international customer base for pure electric buses since the fi rst batch of 35 electric buses was exported to Amsterdam Schiphol airport in 2013. These include Transport for London, Los Angeles Public Transport Co., Sydney Airport, Stanford University and Facebook.

Volvo wins Coach of the Year 2019 in Spain in the Spanish passenger transport sector.


he new range of Volvo 9000 coaches has received its fi rst accolade in winning the prestigious Coach of the Year 2019 award in Spain.

Honoured by the Spanish travelling magazine Revista Viajeros, the new Volvo coach range was recognised for its comfort, safety, driveability and productivity.

“We are very proud of this achievement. It’s always an honour to receive a prize of this calibre and for us it is translated into recognition of all the efforts of a team involved to achieve all the advancements introduced in the Volvo 9000 range,” stated Jaime Verdú, Commercial Director of Volvo Buses in Spain. Volvo Bus’ new premium-class coach platform marks the company’s biggest investment in this segment in more than 20 years. The new coach range is based on a comprehensive concept for tourism operations and incorporates a multitude of advances ranging from the structure and driving properties and new safety features to its exclusive fi rst class design. The Volvo 9000 range was launched in 2018. The fi rst coaches will begin to circulate on Spanish roads in the coming months.

The award is part of the national prize programme recognising the best industrial vehicles within the Spanish market and is granted by a jury composed of a broad representation of operators and professionals in the sector, consisting of experts, operators, associations, authorities, manufacturers and travel agents. The award is seen as one of the most prestigious accolades FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

Text: Jarlath Sweeney -



from Mercedes-Benz


f t he com mercia l vehicle manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz was later than most to bring a fully electric bus to the market. One of the statements from the German brand when asked about progress in having an electric bus was that “we do not want to be the fi rst, rather the best.” Well, at last it has arrived, as the MercedesBenz eCitaro is now available for delivery (with right-hand drive versions available mid-2019). At the end of last year, the City of Hamburg took delivery of two electric Citaros, the fi rst of an order of twenty. The operator, Hamburger Hochbahn, runs 1,000 buses with a commitment that by 2020 it will only purchase emission free buses. Furthermore, it plans to have no diesel engine buses in its fleet by 2027. From an Irish perspective, some commitments have been made by the Irish Government on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in terms of more environmentally friendly buses, so let us hope sensible and cost effective decisions are made here. Going to alternative power is not as simple as buying vehicles. Daimler Bus CEO Gustav Tuschen stated recently that system design and consultancy are just some of the services the company provides to cities and companies considering introducing improvements for their public transport system. Irish cities need to make decisions around sustainable transport and should take all advice that

Text: Sean Murtagh -

is available. In putt ing plans together the decision makers should be mindful of Mr. Tuschen’s statement:“electric power does not mean the end of the internal combustion engine, bio-gas engines are almost at zero emission, the goal is to reduce CO2 emissions overall.” eCitaro from a driver’s point of view Up to the end of last year, over 55,000 Citaros have been delivered to customers all-over the world. It is a bus that has seen many improvements in design and quality since its debut. The driver’s area is similar to previous models, while storage areas are generous and handy, and all of the regular controls within easy reach. Noise levels in the Citaro have always been at a low level and therefore any reductions in the new bus are not as immediately noticeable. Some developments in the steering are positive and an improved curvature on the windscreen improves visibility. One noticeable feature is how the bus can “coast”. When one takes the foot off the accelerator, it freewheels rather than going into retard mode. Of course, one can set it to retard, allowing the unit to regenerate energy from the braking action. As a driver, some experience is required to decide which is the more economical method. Some training will help here. Something else that adds to the simplicity of driving is the instrument display cluster. Over the years, I have driven electric buses where the functions of various gauges for battery consumption and regeneration were difficult to make sense of, even when explained. eCitaro has replaced the revcounter from the diesel bus with a power

meter. Remaining battery life is displayed in a similar fashion to a fuel gauge. Safety Mercedes-Benz is offering “Side Assist” on the new eCitaro, offering a new level of protection to pedestrians and cyclists. Th is radar type function picks up a cyclist or pedestrian on the driver's offside. It will also detect a traffic bollard. A warning indication will appear on the dash while a small icon on the exterior mirror illuminates. If the driver does something that causes the system to think a collision is imminent - such as making a steering movement to the left, it will intervene. Battery Management Successful operation of electric buses requires careful management in advance of use. The trade-off is between range distance and weight. Charging is also a consideration, most will rely on plug-in charging in the depot at night time but for some it may be necessary to have “opportunity charging” during the day at the depot or at locations along the services route. Standard equipment on the Citaro is two battery packs containing 8 cells in all, two at the front and six at the rear. The number can increase to ten, but the extra weight will reduce the number of passengers carried. In normal, circumstances, the range distance is estimated at 250km. However, in extreme weather this can be reduced to 150km. One thing that all manufacturers are saying is that with the improvements taking place in battery development, more efficiency is to come in the near future. Something cities and operators should keep in mind when making decisions.


New EVM midi-coaches head West and East!


selection of new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter based midicoaches produced by EVM Ltd., Kilbeggan, County Westmeath have entered service along the Western

BF Mini-coaches (Ashbourne, County Meath) EVM Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 516 CDI, ExLWB, 7-speed G-Tronic, 19-seater Elegance.

and Eastern seaboards. All EVM buses come with European Type Approval and full 3-year Mercedes-Benz/EVM warranty. In alphabetical order, the following deals were done.

Fahy Coaches (Galway) EVM Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 516 CDI, ExLWB, 7-speed G-Tronic, 19-seater Grand Tourer.

Galway Tour Company EVM Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 516 CDI, ExLWB, 7-speed G-Tronic, 19-seater Grand Tourer.

Aircoach & Volvo powers Leinster Rugby!

Tom Forde Mini Coach Hire (Glenamaddy, County Galway) EVM Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 519 CDI, EXLWB, 7-speed G-Tronic, 19-seater Avantgarde.

Pictured is PJ Keoghan, Sales Executive, EVM Ltd and Mike Hynan.

Mike Hynan Travel (Cappamore, County Limerick) EVM Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 516 CDI, EXLWB, 7-speed G-Tronic, 16-seater XClusive. FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

Aircoach has renewed its partnership with Leinster Rugby as it’s official transport carrier for the team squad. Pictured are representatives from Aircoach and Leinster Rugby in front of the new Volvo Plaxton Panther B11R which features luxury seating and other passenger comforts that the players will no doubt enjoy.

Text: Jarlath Sweeney -


Four new Volvos for Translink/Ulsterbus


orthern Ireland transport operator Translink has taken delivery of two new integral Volvo B11R 9700s as well as two B11R JHV2 coaches as the latest additions to its 1,400 strong fleet. The Belfast headquartered company is a long established Volvo customer and has once again turned to the Swedish brand for a fleet expansion following the purchase of 23 B5TL buses in 2017 and 45 B5TL vehicles in 2014. Kay Sharkey, Translink Travel Centre Manager, said: “We are pleased to once again work in partnership with Volvo for the supply of these new state-of-theart coaches, which provide the latest standards in comfort and quality.”

“The new Volvo 9700 coaches will be used for international touring work to Europe while the B11R Jonckheere coaches will primarily be used for private hire, local tours and sports fi xtures. “Volvo were able to offer vehicles to meet our specifications. As we already operate a sizeable number of Volvos in our fleet, we were already familiar with the build quality, dependability and impressive

fuel economy.” The B11R 9700s are tri-axle 13 metre coaches and the B11R JHV2s are 12.57 metre two axle vehicles. All have 53 seats and come with onboard toilets. Translink is Northern Ireland’s main public transport provider, but these coaches will operate under its Ulsterbus Tours brand, which focuses on UK and European tours and private hire.

Purely Panoramic – Views from SkyLite GT


ee the world from the luxury of your passenger mini-bus seat - that is what the SkyLite GT from Caleche Europe is offering. Equipped with the best possible climate control and full sun protected double glazing, this unique 17-seater minibus offers the best panoramic view in its class. Whether it is for business or leisure, the SkyLite will make a real difference in passenger transport, in the broadest sense and for all

seasons. Even in the standard version, passenger comfort is at a high level with leather seats, tables, Alcantara interior, LED lighting, audio system throughout and USB chargers. The SkyLite GT is available on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit and Iveco Daily bus platforms. During 2019, there will also be a 9-seater, class M1 minibus on the 3.5 tonne GVW MercedesBenz Sprinter chassis.

Mobility Networks Group enters the Japanese market


rom 2019, Mobility Networks Group will supply pply on of Hato Bus Company with lifts for a selection pan, its bus fleet used for inbound tourists to Japan, ll be including Rugby World Cup supporters. The lifts will ring used for transporting luggage efficiently while adhering to Japanese health and safety requirements. tion Design of the lift model chosen was a collaboration es, a Mobility Mobility between the engineers at PLS (Passenger Lift Services, ool and andd Hato Hato Networks company) and their counterparts at Van Hool Bus based on designs used by wheelchair passengers. “We are extremely proud to work with such a prestigious client as Hato Bus on this project for the upcoming Rugby World Cup. We have been involved from the outset with the customer and have provided a unique product to satisfy both the customer and requirements of the tournament; demonstrating our flexibility

Text: Jarlath Sweeney -

to provide the exact solution to meet market requirements requirements,”” said Paul Hemingway, Commercial Director, Mobility Networks Group. Hato Bus Company was established in 1948 with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as its major shareholder. The fi rst lift will be installed by Van Hool on its double decker bus in Q2 2019.


Volvo electric buses running in Malmö, Sweden


ate last year thirteen electric Volvo buses entered service on route 7 in Malmö, as part of one of the biggest investments ever in all-electric bus traffic in Sweden. Increasing numbers of Swedish cities are now switching over to electrically powered city bus traffic and Malmö is one of the cities at the forefront, (switching to electric buses on the main city bus routes). The fi rst route to be electrified by Skånetrafiken, provider of public transport in the Skåne region, is number 7 between Svågertorp and Ön via Malmö Centre, a distance of just under 15 km, with the 13 fully electric buses delivered by Volvo. “It’s really gratifying that one of Malmö’s

The Volvo 7900 Electric buses are far quieter than diesel buses, have no exhaust emissions whatsoever, and consume about 80 percent less energy than corresponding diesel buses. They are powered by green electricity to minimise their environmental and climate impact. The bus batteries are charged at the end stations, a process that takes between two and six minutes. main lines has now been fully electrified with our quiet and emission-free electric buses. Electrically powered bus traffic helps considerably improve the everyday environment of everyone who lives, travels and spends time in our cities, and this is a development to which we naturally want to contribute,” explained Martin Spjern, Key Account Director at Volvo Buses Sweden.

Volvo has also sold all-electric buses to Gothenburg, and electric hybrids to Värnamo in Sweden. On the company’s overseas markets, Volvo has sold allelectric buses to the United Kingdom, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. All told the company has sold more than 4,000 electrified Volvo buses globally.

Luxembourg orders 6 new Irizar Electric Buses


uxembourg operator ‘Voyages Simon’ has placed its trust in Irizar e-mobility, with the purchase of six 100% electric, zero emissions, 12-metre long Irizar ie buses, along with their charging infrastructures. The Irizar ie bus model is a product equipped with Irizar Group technology, both in terms of electronics and communication facilities, as well as in the vehicle’s main systems: powertrain, battery modules and charging systems.

The vehicles will be incorporated into different lines in Luxembourg and will be delivered in June 2019. Th is purchase also includes maintenance and repair contracts.

plus 1 driver’s seat, 2 folding seats and 1 wheelchair area. With a range distance of between 200-220km, the units are charged overnight with 6 interoperable chargers with Combo – CCS2 connectors, also developed and manufactured by the Irizar Group.

The new buses with a total capacity for up to 72 passengers have 2 doors and 40 seats,

Record order of 37 Iveco Bus Crossway Natural Power coaches for Dracénie Region, France FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019


hirty seven new Iveco Bus Crossway Natural Power (NP) Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) coaches will be operated by Beltrame Group destined for the Dracénie Regional Council (Dracénie Provence Verdon agglomeration (DPVA) by the end of 2019. “We chose to renew our fleet with natural gas vehicles to protect the environment and to meet energy transition legislation. These vehicles will be used in the 23 towns that make up the Region,” said Frédéric

With this new order, Irizar is becoming a leader in this e-mobility segment in Luxembourg, and this year the city of Luxembourg will have 27 Irizar 100% electric, zero emissions buses. The group Voyages Emilie Weber has already purchased 21 Irizar electric buses, 7 of which are already fully in operation throughout Luxembourg, and now 6 new units purchased by Voyages Simon will be added to that.

Decompte, DPVA’s Transport Director. The DPVA will put 11 of these eco-friendly coaches into service while the balance are run by Beltrame Group. “We now have more than 270 coaches and buses, of which 60 are for the sole use of the region. With this order, more than 80% of Dracénie’s fleet will be powered by natural gas,” added Anthony Beltrame, the Group’s CEO. Dracénie Provence Verdon also constantly renews its fleet of buses with low-emissions


50 Wrightbus StreetDecks order for Hong Kong


rightbus International, the global division of the Ballymena headquartered Wrights Group, has announced two further orders from Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) in Hong Kong. A quantity of 50 StreetDecks are destined for Asia, the first time these Wrightbus integral vehicles have been ordered by this long standing customer, with an order for a further 50 Double Decks with a Volvo chassis.

more seated passengers than standing. Air conditioning is fitted in accordance with Asia Pacific specification.

Due to be delivered and deployed on Hong Kong routes during the second half of 2019, the buses all feature twin doors and are 10.65m in length. The twin axle StreetDecks feature a Euro 6, six-cylinder Daimler engine, and a Voith D854.6 gearbox with an integral retarder included. All seats will be fitted with seatbelts due to the fact that Hong Kong buses operate with

The second order for the additional 50 double deck buses are of the same triaxle model and specification as the 150 announced in October 2018, featuring Wrightbus bodywork and a Volvo chassis. This latest order will be delivered in early Autumn 2019 and brings the total number of units sold by the Northern Ireland manufacturer to Hong Kong in

the last two years to 584. Speaking about the major order, John McLeister, Group Business & Product Development Director, said: “The Asia Pacific market, in particular Hong Kong, is currently proving to be extremely buoyant for us. These latest orders follow business concluded with KMB’s sister company, LongWin Bus, as well as City Bus and Japanese tour bus operator, Hatobus. In recent years we’ve worked hard to establish the Wrightbus name and vehicles in the region and it is exciting to see this bearing fruit and our buses going into service in places like Hong Kong and Tokyo. We’re confident that operators, drivers and passengers alike will be enjoying the many benefits these buses bring in terms of operational efficiency, reduced emissions and comfort.”

31 electric VDL Citeas for streets of Amsterdam


rban transport is getting cleaner in Amsterdam as the Dutch city’s public transport company GVB and VDL Bus & Coach signed a contract for delivery of 31 electric Citeas, with the option for 69 extra electric buses. VDL Bus & Coach is also responsible for implementation of the charging infrastructure. From 2020 the electric Citeas will be in service on lines 15, 22 and 36, all with start and end points at Sloterdijk station. They will replace part of the current diesel fleet. The series of 31 electric buses consists of 9 Citeas SLF-120 Electric and 22 articulated Citeas SLFA-180 Electric. Both types of

vehicle have a similar design and meet the requirements set by GVB for efficient bus operation in the city centre. The electric Citeas for GVB are equipped with a roof pantograph and the latest battery technology. Operational availability of the electric buses has been maximised through an optimised rapid charging concept. The These will be the first Crossway LE CNG buses to operate in France. In total, Beltrame Group will be adding 80 vehicles to its fleet, including four Daily Blue Power NPs which will be assigned for use in towns and to “transport-ondemand”.

natural gas vehicles and adopts a threeyear fleet renewal investment plan with the acquisition of two buses every year. A further six Crossway Low Entry Natural Power buses will be delivered next month. Text: Jarlath Sweeney -

The Crossway NP with 360hp Cursor 9 NP gas engine has a total methane capacity of 1,260 litres (4 x 315-litre tanks), with a range distance of up to 600 km. It includes a clever design which integrates the compressed gas tanks in the roof. This

articulated vehicles, the Citeas SLFA-180, will be equipped with a 288 kWh battery system, and the Citeas SLF-120 will get a 216 kWh battery pack. When in scheduled service, the buses will be recharged with seven rapid chargers at Sloterdijk station. During the night the batteries will be fully recharged with 31 slow chargers at GVB’s Garage West location. GVB is the public transport company for Amsterdam. Every day about 843,000 people travel by GVB, in the metro, tram and bus and on the ferries across the IJ and the North Sea Canal.

feature optimises the vehicle’s centre of gravity for greater on-road stability and increased comfort for the driver and passengers. The design also makes it the lowest vehicle on the market in terms of overall height (3455 mm). “We are particularly proud of this order of 37 Crossway NPs, the fi rst of its size in France. It proves once again IVECO BUS’ leadership in the field of alternative-energy vehicles that will meet energy transition legislation,” commented Brice Bonavia, General Manager for IVECO France.


John Halpenny elected new CTTC Chairman headquarters in Swords, County Dublin is quite pleased with the organisation’s achievement in recent times but is well aware of an ongoing busy agenda that need attention and action: "As an industry, we face significant challenges, particularly in relation to Brexit. Never has it been so important to have a unified voice to act as an advocate for the concerns of our members to the various Government Departments, agencies and authorities."

Pictured at the CTTC AGM in Ennis were L to R: Kevin Traynor, National Director CTTC: William Cahir, Promote Ennis; Ann Norton, Deputy Mayor Ennis Town and John Halpenny, incoming Chairman CTTC.


undalk based coach operator John Halpenny was elected as the incoming Chairman of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland (CTTC) at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ennis early last month. John takes over from Joe Donoghue (Donoghues of Galway), who served the organisation with distinction over the past number of years and will remain on the Management Committee. John is the third generation of his family to run the family business, Halpenny Travel, and takes over at the helm of the CTTC at a very challenging time. As an experienced operator, John has a very real sense of the issues that Brexit may present for his colleagues and fellow members in the business. "Th is is a priority for the CTTC and its membership, one way or another Brexit is creating a lot of uncertainty," said John. Having been a member of the CTTC for over 15 years and serving on the Management

Board for four years, John knows that difficult times are ahead, particularly in the Tourism sector. During outgoing Chairman Joe Donoghue’s tenure the CTTC was successful in getting a pilot programme in place for training with Solus which has now been rolled out in Galway and Kilkenny through the Enterprise Training Boards. By spring this year it will be available in Dublin & Dun Laoghaire. CTTC members operate in all sectors of the Irish Bus & Coach Transport sectors, nationally and internationally, in addition to school services, scheduled services, extended tours and private hire/specialist travel. With 68 members operating over 1,500 vehicles, CTTC affiliated companies employ almost 5,000 people directly, working closely with Fáilte Ireland to ensure a minimum code of standards for member companies, their staff and coaches. The tenth running of the bi-ennial Coach & Bus Show 2018 at the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion, Dublin was hosted last November by the CTTC. Members and exhibition attendees had the opportunity to see the latest developments in new products and services that improves efficiency and to enhance service. The recent event was also used as a platform by many manufacturers to launch new coaches into the Irish market.

Outgoing CTTC Chairman Joe Donoghue (right) presenting the Thomas Brady RIP Memorial Cup to James McGinley FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

CTTC National Director, Kevin Traynor, who is based at the Association’s

At the AGM, immediate issues and challenges requiring representation and facing Kevin and the new Chairman and his committee were outlined, such as: • Traffic congestion and coach parking (particularly in Dublin) • Improved Bus Lane infrastructure • Reducing insurance premiums • Duplication of regulation by some State agencies (RSA, PSV Officers) John Halpenney is facing his term of office with enthusiasm and along with all the issues they face he sees increasing the membership as key to achieving success. "New blood and fresh ideas working alongside the experience of our long standing members could be hugely beneficial," he stated. Special guest Deputy Mayor of Ennis, Ann Norton said when addressing CTTC members and guests at the Gala Dinner at the West County Hotel that her town really valued visitors that come by coaches and would always be welcome in the County Clare capital. New Board of the CTTC for 2019 Chairman: John Halpenny: Halpenny Travel, Dundalk Vice-Chairman: Willie Martin: Martins Coaches, Limerick Treasurers: Jeff Clarke: Eirebus, Dublin & Dara Burke: Go Bus, Galway James McGinley: McGinley Coach Travel, Gortahork Joe Donoghue: Donoghues of Galway Mike Buckley: Kerry Coaches, Killarney Kenny Brady: Streamline Coaches, Cavan Philip O Callaghan: O’Callaghan Coaches, Killarney Caoimhe Moloney: Pierce Kavanagh Coaches, Urlingford Text: Sean Murtagh -


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Volvo Bus to supply the first electric bus in Ireland for Crowne Plaza, Dublin Airport


he Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport Hotel will put into service the fi rst electric bus in Ireland. Volvo Bus has been awarded the contract to supply a new 7900e single deck, fully electric bus to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly service for passenger transfers at Dublin Airport. Set to come into operation later this year, the high powered charging solution is being delivered by ESB’s Smart Energy Services. In addition to being the fi rst commercial electric bus to enter service in Ireland, it uses high power CCS combo 2 150kW plug-in charging. The bus is a single door 12m Generation II 7900e with 200kW battery capacity which will be recharged at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Commenting on the initiative, Tom Coleman, Group Procurement Manager for the Tifco Hotel Group, said: “Our decision to invest in a complete electric solution for the Crowne Plaza shuttle service at Dublin Airport is an important step for us as opposed to going for the more conventional diesel engine option. As a group we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. We are fully committed to doing what we can to reduce air pollution and improve the air quality and health for those who live, work and visit the areas in which we operate, now and also for the future. Tackling climate change and carbon emissions is very much at the forefront of everything we do and choosing a zero emissions bus forms part of this ethos and approach.” Nick Page, Managing Director for Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, added: “We’re really pleased that the 7900e has been chosen to provide services for these hotels in and around Dublin Airport and that it will be the first electric bus to enter operation anywhere in Ireland. We’ve seen from experience with the 7900e the kind of contribution that can be made to improving air quality. In

addition to the UK trials, it has been successfully tried and tested across Europe in countries including Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. We have already sold more than 150 7900e buses and many are already in service throughout Europe. In the UK it has been adopted for use in a town service situation in Harrogate. Our vision at Volvo Bus is to develop a range of vehicles, which include hybrids, electric hybrids and full electric, to deliver improved air quality in the surroundings in which they operate. We believe that working together they will significantly improve the environment for those who visit work and live in towns and cities.” “As a company we have always looked towards to the future and adopted facilities and services that will improve our guests’ experiences and benefit our local community and environment. Over the past few years we have taken a number of significant measures to reduce the hotels’ carbon footprint. While the purchase of the new Volvo 7900e electric bus is a significant fi nancial investment for the hotel, we believe it will deliver long term benefits for both the customer and the local environment,” stated Garret O’Neill, General Manager for the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport & Holiday Inn Express Dublin Airport.

Volvo continues on the right road with Aircoach


ircoach, a wholly owned subsidiary of FirstGroup has returned to Volvo Bus for the sixth time in four years, adding eight 12.6 metre, B11R 49-seater coaches with Plaxton Panther bodywork to its majority Volvo fleet. The new executive spec passenger transport vehicles are earmarked for its non-stop express service to Cork. Dervla McKay, Managing Director of Aircoach, said: “We purchased our first B11R in 2014 and have since added a further 40 Volvo vehicles to our fleet which is 70 percent Volvo. The coaches are popular with our drivers, and the reliability we know we can expect from Volvo and Plaxton helps us provide a quality service to our customers. We have had a very good experience with our previous vehicles, so when the time came to expand our fleet, we had no hesitation FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019

in repeating the order. The B11R also comes out on top when considering the highly efficient Euro VI engine, which really has a positive impact on our fuel costs and was a big deciding factor with this order. These coaches are certainly more fuel efficient than the vehicles they have replaced.” Text: Rob Van Dieten -


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Being Coach Friendly

Back Seat Driver by Sean Murtagh


subject that is seriously exercising members of the CTTC (Coach Tourism & Transport Council) is coach parking. Coaches play as important a role as aircraft in bringing visitors, tourists, call them what you want, that spend money throughout Ireland. For the time they visit an attraction or town, these vehicles need someplace to safely park. Unfortunately, some places don’t see this as their problem and worse than that, some see and turn it into a revenue stream by charging for stopping off there. As a way to address this problem the CTTC in 2016 launched an initiative inviting towns to become “Coach Friendly”. For any town or tourist att raction to receive certification there are clear but simple criteria to follow. In return the town, city or att raction will have a link to their website from the CTTC and their member’s websites. Quite clearly if an operator is asked by a school, tour agent or any group for suggestions as to where they might travel, a Coach Friendly destination would trump other locations. Sligo (pictured) was the first venue to get approval and Dungarvan and Ennis are now certified. CTTC National Director, Kevin Traynor stated that while uptake is slow there is a lot of interest and is confident that there will be some more announcements in time for the coming season. At the CTTC AGM in Ennis held recently, its Town Deputy Mayor, Ann Norton, when speaking to delegates, thanked them for bringing visitors and tourists to the town: ”You are always welcome here and we are delighted to see you, and please keep on coming,” she said. In other parts of the country the situation is somewhat different. The big danger is that these venues think that the only benefit to providing parking is to pacify drivers and keep coaches off the footpaths. As I mentioned earlier in some cases it is seen as a source of revenue, which in turn is a way of further gouging visitors and tourists. For a minute let us address the issue of “Paid Parking” - if there is a cost associated with parking, then fair enough, this is a separate issue and it is for the att raction, hotel or town to consider. A coach operator needs a premises, yard space and maintenance facilities to trade. They don’t ask anybody else to pay for these facilities. In the same way parking is an expense for the venue provider, or put differently, their customers. Let that be the starting point and work back from there.

and that a “polluter pays” approach should be taken instead, in terms of if your business att racts people you must provide parking. City Councillors should ask those developing stadiums and music venues for an efficient and effective transport plan that includes parking. Of course, Dublin could follow the route that other European cities have taken and impose a visitor’s tax. Fáilte Ireland might fi nd it hard to balance that beside one of its well known slogans - ‘Ireland of the thousand welcomes’. I will leave the last word to the Deputy Mayor of Ennis, Ann Norton, (Ennis provides free coach parking within walking distance of the town centre) who commented when addressing members of the CTTC: “We thank you as coach operators for bringing so many visitors to our town, please keep coming”. Unfortunately the same warm welcome is not available everywhere. It seems there is ‘No room at the Inn’ in some places?

ANNOUNCEMENT Fleet Bus & Coach Awards 2020 … Gala Evening Event Date: Thursday 14 November 2019 Venue: Johnstown Estate Hotel, Enfield, County Meath.

Parking in Dublin has become a problem and it looks like the situation will only get worse. The former National Transport Authority, now known as Transport Infrastructure Ireland, has arranged parking for coaches close to the City Centre, which is not really a solution. Operators say that to book via this system is tedious and the opening hours are not flexible enough. Indications from Dublin City Council are that parking could be charged at €9 per hour. Hardly a good tourist or visitor initiative.

Please contact: Mary Morrissey | | +353 87 2178495 or Orla Sweeney | | +353 86 2439239

I think the authorities are looking at this the wrong way around,

More details on shortly.

FLEETBUS&COACH | Spring 2019


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