Scotland's Buses 2019

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A landmark investment in Scotland’s buses Michael Matheson msp answers our questions Richard Hall: “We will halt the decline” INCORPORATING

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Welcome to Scotland’s Buses 2019, a publication devoted to Scotland’s main mode of public transport. Buses make an enormous contribution to Scotland, carrying 388 million passengers annually, providing the vital links that enable communities to function. This publication from Passenger Transport puts the spotlight on Scotland’s bus industry and its partners, celebrates their achievements and considers the challenges they face. Published in association with CPT for a fifth successive year, this year’s edition again incorporates the official Conference Workbook for the 44th annual CPT Conference 2019, which takes place at The Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews, on November 4-5. We hope you find it an interesting read and we welcome all feedback.







The Cabinet Secretary for Transport answers our questions about bus policy

CPT Scotland Chair says: ‘We will halt the decline - but we can’t do it alone’

A look back a key events for Scotland’s buses over the past 12 months








Scottish Transport Studies Group on competition and integration

Reflecting on an historic year for the business, and a notable one too

McGill’s boss Ralph Roberts is pleased that buses are in the spotlight








Andrew Jarvis, MD for First Bus in Scotland, on driving change

West Scotland MD Fiona Doherty is focusing on better engagement

Providing a strong user-voice, informing bus operators and government

Account Based Ticketing signals ‘tap & go’ revolution







Company is delivering on its commitment to help bus operators

Joe Tuohy on fuel prices and a decade of backing Scotland’s bus industry

The official Workbook for the 44th annual CPT Conference


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A seat at the top table: Michael Matheson MSP was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in June 2018

‘The case for increasing bus use is clear’ Michael Matheson, Transport Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, answers our questions Thank you for agreeing to answer our questions, Cabinet Secretary. It’s encouraging to see the Scottish Government put public transport at the heart of its agenda to tackle climate change in this year’s Programme for Government. Why are you backing public transport and especially buses? How can you ensure that local authorities share the political will to prioritise sustainable and active travel? is the largest A Transport contributor to Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions and technology alone is not going to


system. Travelling by bus is not only inherently greener than single occupancy car but it also reduces congestion. A full double decker bus is able to take up to 75 cars off the road and increased bus use can unlock wider socioeconomic benefits. Buses deliver across a vast range of Government outcomes. We know that people from more disadvantaged backgrounds and on low incomes tend to be more regular bus users, so we talk about a just transition to our net zero future. Beyond these environmental, economic and

provide the answer to the climate emergency. Transitioning away from single-occupancy car travel to more sustainable forms of travel is essential if we are to meet our emission targets, which are the most ambitious statutory emission targets in the world. It is no coincidence that bus was at the forefront of our immediate set of actions in response to the climate emergency as detailed in this years’ Programme for Government. Bus accounts for almost three quarters of all journeys on our public transport

social equality outcomes, bus delivers for health and wellbeing as a form of active travel, with passengers walking or even cycling at either end of their bus journey. So whilst the case for increasing bus use is clear, and whilst we can work to improve the bus offer, we also need to encourage people to travel by bus. That behaviour change will only come through partnership working at all levels of national government, local government and the industry. We already support local authorities on this shift in


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behaviour on active and sustainable travel, through increased levels of funding which local authorities can bid for on walking and cycling infrastructure and behaviour change programmes. We are pleased to see ambitious proposals from local authorities and we are working in partnership with them and COSLA [Convention of Scottish Local Authorities] to provide better support to enable them to do more. As we move forward with transformational investment in bus priority infrastructure, this will be key to realising the sustainable travel offer that we need to encourage people to leave their car at home. The Scottish Government has pledged “a landmark investment” of more than £500m to improve bus infrastructure this year’s Programme for Government. What kind of schemes would you like to see and over what time frame? And what kind of outcomes are you looking for? step change in long A This term investment was right at the heart of our Programme for Government. This investment of over £500m will take the form of a Bus Partnership Fund for local authorities and the roll out of priority infrastructure for the trunk road network. The Bus Partnership Fund will support local authorities to be ambitious and work in partnership with bus operators to develop and deliver bold schemes that tackle the negative impacts of congestion in our towns and cities, resulting in more reliable, faster, and greener services. Congestion is a key contributor to a vicious cycle of bus patronage decline, as it gets in the way of the punctual, reliable services that passengers deserve. Bus priority infrastructure can include bus lanes, rapid transit systems, or a package of measures along road corridors that give priority to the bus. Our main objective is to get more people on buses as part of the sustainable travel mix. Addressing the impacts of congestion through bus priority measures is an important part of that, but as the 2017 KPMG study detailed, there are many factors at play in order


to reverse bus patronage decline. I see partnership working as key to delivering that broader package of measures. The Transport Bill provides a range of new tools for local authorities. At its heart is a new statutory partnership model: the Bus Service Improvement Partnership, which enables local authorities to work with bus operators and others to improve bus services in their area. The Bus Partnership Fund will support implementation of the Bill measures. So whilst the Fund is targeted at congestion, in that partnership context I expect reciprocal investment and action from bus operators to improve the whole bus offer.

transport infrastructure and associated routes. The study is being undertaken in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance and is considering a wide range of options, including Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), bus hard shoulder running and high occupancy vehicle lanes (HOVs). As part of this study, we will be assessing the impact of running buses on the outside lane. Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, SPT and bus operators, we will begin to design a scheme next year to reallocate road space to high occupancy vehicles, such as buses, on parts of the motorway around Glasgow. Combating these issues on the motorway network will encourage the use of bus services, reducing the proportion of single occupancy vehicles using Glasgow’s motorway corridor. We are also taking forward the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), which will provide a strategic investment plan for transport in Scotland

The Programme for Government commits to “beginning plans to relocate road space on parts of the motorway network around Glasgow to high occupancy vehicles such as buses”. How are these plans progressing and how soon might this reallocation start? And will you consider allowing buses to have exclusive use of the outside lane? are currently A We undertaking a study to consider how managed motorway solutions can help to improve the performance of the motorway network around Glasgow and make best use of the existing


“The bus sector, like other sectors, has an important journey ahead to contribute to the net zero emissions target”

Michael Matheson wants to help the bus industry decarbonise as quickly as possible

for the next 20 years. STPR2 will look to identify other locations on the strategic transport network where there is a case for a similar approach. The Scottish Government is proposing to work with the Scottish National Investment Bank, the bus sector and potential investors to explore new forms of financing “to radically accelerate the deployment of zero emission buses across Scotland”. What options do you think will be available? work is at an early A This stage, but its inclusion in the Programme for Government is a clear signal of our commitment to working creatively to support Scotland’s bus sector to adapt, and wherever possible lead, on the transition to emission free travel. The Scottish National Investment Bank will act to catalyse a step change in growth for the Scottish economy by powering innovation and accelerating the move to a low carbon, high-tech, connected, globally competitive and inclusive Scotland. Harnessing the opportunities of a carbon neutral economy will be an central part of the Bank’s mission. In this arena, where we are often dealing with new or emergent technologies and business models, it can take time before returns on investment can materialise, and this is where long-term, patient finance comes into play. As an example, leasing schemes are used across the transport sector, from rail, to aerospace and of course for personal vehicles. We now want to explore how instruments such as patient finance can bring commercial partners to the table to leverage investment in fleets at scale and pace, potentially under leasing arrangements with the bus sector. In doing that, there may be opportunities to release virtuous investment cycles in areas such as renewable energy and hydrogen production to support the new markets and demands that electric vehicles stimulate. Of course, supporting our manufacturing sector and supply chains is another consideration, and again scaling-up demand for new



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vehicles can help pull through demand for new products and skills, while creating efficiencies in manufacturing processes. The First Minister has announced plans to decarbonise Scotland’s railways by 2035. When do you think the same aspiration should be achieved by Scotland’s bus fleet? want this to be as soon A We as possible as I think the Scottish bus industry does. Not just because we face a climate emergency. Scotland is a small, industrious and innovative nation. I want to help capture this spirit of innovation to help stimulate new markets, exportable products, and new skills and workforce opportunities. We have done it before - take the oil and gas industry - and we will do it again. Buses are used all around the world, and we have an opportunity to demonstrate and then export the skills, technologies and understanding of how to transform not just the fleets of vehicles, but how these new fleets integrate into the wider energy and transport system.


Given that a bus purchased today might reasonably be expected to last for up to 16 years, what advice would you give to bus operators purchasing vehicles today? Climate Change Bill A The has committed the Scottish Government to achieving net zero emissions by 2045. That is one of the biggest challenges of our time and one that will need business and government to work closely together across all parts of the economy and society to identify the pathways towards achieving the necessary step changes in the way we do things. The bus sector, like other sectors, has an important journey ahead to contribute to the net zero emissions target. We will work in partnership with operators and the supply chain to make sure that the transition happens in an organised and smart way, making the most of emerging technology and new forms of investment, while placing support for the bus sector at the heart of the transport system. We intend to work with bus operators and the supply chain


“I expect councils to work with bus operators and other key stakeholders to develop ambitious but practicable schemes that work for their cities”

the sector in the months and years ahead to design how best to meet the scale of ambition on climate change, while also supporting vibrant, efficient and environmentally focused bus services. Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone set a four year lead-in time to allow operators to plan for and achieve Euro 6 compliance through commercial investment and with the help of the government’s BEAR fund. Edinburgh plans to give bus operators one year to comply. Dundee and Aberdeen have yet to make clear their plans despite the deadline for introduction being only a year away. Are you concerned about the divergence between the schemes and whether there is an element of oneupmanship in targets that will make compliance unaffordable or practically unachievable? Programme for A The Government commitment is to put in place low emission zones (LEZs) into Scotland’s four biggest cities by the end of 2020.


to find a way to increase the proportion of ultra-low and zero emission buses in Scotland as soon and as quickly as possible. That does not mean that there should be any slowdown in investment decisions that need to be made now to meet our air quality targets, as reducing emissions that are harmful to public health is vitally important. I understand that decisions about investments with a long lifespan require careful thought and consideration and want the sector to have confidence in the choices they make today. The Scottish Government is committed to working with

This is a challenging time line but by the end of this year we should see the majority of LEZ designs being finalised and scheme plans being published. The Transport Bill provides provisions for ‘grace periods’ of no less than one and no more than four years. As such, local authorities have the autonomy to choose a grace period for their LEZ schemes, so rather than there being a divergence between the schemes, local authorities are utilising the powers provided by the Bill to inform their own LEZ plans. Glasgow City Council have chosen to use a two-year grace period from the point in time when LEZs come into effect (at the end of 2020) and prior to this date are using a Traffic Regulation Condition to underpin annual compliance targets for their LEZ. City of Edinburgh Council have adopted a one-year grace period from the end of 2020 for operator compliance. Dundee and Aberdeen City Councils are in the process of developing their LEZ plans with


Michael Matheson joined representatives of Alexander Dennis, Lothian and Volvo last year at the launch of the Enviro400XLB 6

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Dundee recently publishing their proposals and will choose grace periods appropriate for the individual circumstances of their city. I expect councils to work with bus operators and other key stakeholders to develop ambitious but practicable schemes that work for their cities. Bus operators have welcomed the new capital investment in bus infrastructure, but what assurances can you offer them on the future of vital revenue streams, such as reimbursement for concessionary travel and the Bus Service Operators Grant? I have said to the bus A What industry is that, in setting this ambitious capital investment in bus infrastructure, I also expect bus operators to step up and invest in improving services overall. If services are more financially sustainable across a broader range of bus networks, there will be scope to maintain, sustain and introduce new services in areas where that has been challenging.

Despite the importance of buses to so many government objectives, such as access to employment, healthier communities, social inclusion, air quality and climate change, bus use continues to fall in Scotland. We are about to enter a new decade - how confident are you that more people will be using buses at the end of it? am confident more people A Iwill be using buses by the end of the next decade but it is going to take partnership working to get there. There is a range of measures that the Scottish Government are already taking to encourage people to make better use of public transport. We are putting in place measures that encourage behaviour shift, such as Low Emission Zones, workplace parking levies and smart and integrated ticketing to make joinedup travel using different modes easier for the travelling public. We will provide a fuller update to the National Transport Strategy through our delivery plan to accompany the strategy and our second Strategic Transport Projects Review will determine Scottish Government’s future transport investment priorities over the next two decades. Transport Scotland has commissioned independent research to inform what action is needed to achieve a 75% emission reduction by 2030, and this will consider a range of policy measures across all modes of travel. The findings will inform the update of the Climate Change Plan and the National Transport Strategy Delivery Plan. We are also starting a conversation on demand management as part of the Big Climate Change Conversation. The large share of transport emissions comes from cars, which are the dominant mode of transport in Scotland. The climate emergency and our net zero emission targets require us all to make different, more sustainable travel choices. We need local authorities, Regional Transport Authorities and the bus industry to deliver for bus passengers and for those who are not yet bus passengers. In that way we will all make sustainable travel choices (and bus is at the heart of that) ever easier to make.



Michael Matheson (right) with Andrew Jarvis, MD for First Bus in Scotland

“I am confident more people will be using buses by the end of the next decade but it is going to take partnership working to get there”

But I am aware of how important funding stability is to the bus industry, and the pressures currently faced by it. We continue to maintain funding levels through the Bus Service Operators Grant, and we will continue to work in partnership with operators to ensure reimbursement for concessionary travel continues to be on a no better/no worse off basis. The Scottish Parliament last month voted unanimously to strengthen the country’s climate change targets, introducing a new goal to deliver a net zero emission economy by 2045. Is this achievable without significant modal shift from private car use to sustainable modes of transport? And should future spending on road schemes be considered in that context? emission targets are A Our world leading. In addition to our net zero emission target by 2045, the Scottish Parliament has also agreed a new interim target of 75% emission reduction against 1990 levels by 2030. The advice from the UK Government Climate Change Committee is clear that realising our emissions targets cannot be achieved without significant modal shift from private car use. That is why the draft National Transport Strategy prioritises the sustainable transport hierarchy and why we announced our investment of over half a billion


in bus priority measures and continued active and sustainable travel spend of £80m a year. The announcement we made last week on bus prioritisation is a practical example of how we can make bus travel more attractive to the public by giving journey time improvements, punctuality and reliability. However, there is a balance to be struck in how we prioritise space and invest on our roads. We still require good road connectivity, not least because it is important to the national, regional and local economies. We will continue to have road programmes, but in the context of the sustainable transport and investment hierarchy, as we also take forward measures that deliver modal shift and help people to move to using sustainable transport and reduce car use. Our Strategic Transport Project Review will look at the best use of existing assets and what new infrastructure may or may not need to be built. 7

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‘We will halt the decline – but we can’t do it alone’ CPT Scotland Chair Richard Hall says that the bus industry has a great story to tell, but must find its voice uses are fast rising up the agenda in Scotland. The green credentials of this often overlooked mode of transport are now being recognised, and the Scottish Government has put greater bus use at the heart of its response to the global climate emergency. Big changes will be required. To achieve growth in the 2020s, the decline of the 2010s will first need to be halted. In 2009, 465.2 million journeys were made by bus in Scotland. The same figure for last year was 373.8 million - a decline of almost a fifth over a period of nine years. Having an eco-crusader cape draped over its shoulders is a mixed blessing for the bus. The hero status has benefits (the Scottish Government has pledged an extra £500m for bus priority infrastructure), but some of the expectations that come with it are challenging and conflicting. For example, can bus operators really be expected to rapidly accelerate their investment in new, cleaner Euro 6 buses when these vehicles could soon be condemned as ‘not clean enough’? Policies that add significantly to the cost of running buses, and therefore result in higher fares and fewer services, will sap the strength of this green superhero - and the main beneficiary of that will be the real villain, car dependency! It’s more important than ever that Scotland’s bus and coach industry makes itself heard, and it is for this reason that the theme


this mode of transport now being represented in government by a Cabinet Secretary rather than a Transport Minister. For too long, he says that buses have been regarded as part of the congestion and pollution problem, when the real answer is more buses and fewer cars on the roads. One tactic to get the voice of bus heard is not to talk specifically about buses. “We tend to talk less about bus and more about public transport,” he says. “and actually public transport has evolved into talking about active transport or active travel because any form of public transport journey ... requires an active travel journey as part of that.” One problem is that the bus industry’s economic model is not widely understood, says Hall. Those who demand more are not always aware of the amount of extra revenue needed to make improvements, or the trade-offs that would need to be made. “The bus industry is often challenged as to why it’s not innovative, why it does not reinvest,” he says. “You only have to look outside. It is innovative and it does reinvest consistently. There is no business anywhere, whatever that type of business is, that would not want to reinvest in its own undertaking and make it better. Why would the bus industry not want to offer something better to its customers because if it does that it will grow and become better? That’s a simple fact of economics. Lothian has managed to reverse decline in the use of its own

of this year’s CPT Conference is ‘Voice for bus and coach’. The two-day event, which will take place at The Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews, on November 4-5, will provide an opportunity to debate important questions. For example: How do we best make the case for bus and coach? And how do we make advocates of our customers and foster politicians that champion passenger transport? The current Chair of CPT Scotland, Richard Hall, has his own ideas about how to do this but he’s also eager to hear to new ones. Hall has been Managing Director of Edinburgh-based Lothian, Scotland’s only council-owned bus company, for the past three and a half years, having previously worked in the bus industry in England, Scotland and Wales. He says that Scotland’s bus sector has unique characteristics which may help it to achieve a breakthrough. “There’s probably a higher level of innovation and closeness to the product in Scotland than there is anywhere in England that I’ve ever seen,” he says. And the relationships that the industry has with Scottish Government are “far, far closer than they are with Westminster”. “The ability to engage and help shape policy and future sense of direction is greater in Scotland. There is probably a heightened passion through everybody in Scotland about achieving a result. It’s far more at the coalface here.” Hall is pleased to see buses moving up the political agenda - something which is helped by 8

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services over the past year - but Hall stresses that this has not been achieved by sitting back and waiting for things to get easier. It has been through innovation and investment. Networks have and are being redefined and new high capacity, tri-axle double deckers have been introduced on core corridors. “We continually innovate in terms of the products we offer our customers, from routes to ticketing, bus product to customer interaction & services and we will continue to do so,” says Hall, “because if we don’t continue to innovate we will become stale, and we will cease to exist through inaction and lack of innovation.’’ Bus priorities A sign that buses are on the agenda at a national level is that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is no stranger to a photoshoot at Lothian’s Annandale Street garage (her most recent visit was in the wake of the 2019/20 Programme for Government launch in September). Opposition leaders have also dropped in. “Being associated with bus as major political figure is not seen as a bad thing anymore,” Hall observes. The challenge is to make sure that this enthusiasm for buses is shared by other stakeholders, across the piece. A national vision that seeks to grow public transport use in Scotland (of which three-quarters is by bus) will fail if it doesn’t have support on the ground. “That’s probably one of the biggest challenges that the industry faces ... making sure that national strategy, that national policy, that national commitment is followed through into real game changing actions at local level,” says Hall. “And that’s right across the whole of Scotland.” He acknowledges the budget constraints the local government is facing, and suggests that the right incentives need to be in place so that public transport is prioritised early on in the planning process. The Scottish Government’s 2019/20 Programme for Government commits to invest £500m in bus priority infrastructure over the next six years. 9

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Hall wants this money to be spent wisely, and he says that CPT will be working hard on behalf of the industry and its customers to make sure that the right criteria are applied to schemes. “It shouldn’t be used for schemes that are high cost, but low value in terms of delivery and output to the customer,” he warns. Hall says that the primary focus must be on speeding up bus journeys, a move that will reduce operating costs and significant stress for bus drivers - but, crucially, will make the bus more competitive with the private car. “If you can get on the bus, the product is right, with great customer service and the journey takes you 20 minutes, as opposed to a 28-minute car journey, you are going to make that choice every day,” he explains. He sees a role for both small, incremental improvements as well as high profile, eye catching projects. In Edinburgh, he suggests that some attention could be given to the ‘Greenways’, the bus lanes introduced by Professor David Begg in the 1990s when he was the city’s political lead for transport. Painting these routes green helped to make the link between bus travel and sustainability, and Hall notes that they “catapulted” ridership upwards. What a great story it would be to rejuvenate and extend this project in this proud and image conscious capital city when health and environmental benefits are ever more at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Hall sees massive potential to make incremental improvements to this legacy and deliver huge benefits. At the other end of the spectrum, he sees potential to introduce new prioritised busways in Edinburgh and elsewhere. He says there are good examples of these projects elsewhere in the UK, such as the Glider project in Belfast and the proposed Sprint corridors in the West Midlands. But it’s the base infrastructure that appeals to him, rather than the futuristic ‘trambuses’. Faster and more reliable journeys times are the prize. “Going out and buying bespoke buses actually is not generally an economic proposition,” he explains. “It can sometimes be a


“If you can get on the bus and the journey takes you 20 minutes, as opposed to a 28-minute car journey, you are going to make that choice every day”

sexy proposition, it sometimes creates big bang impact but actually it’s not best for the customer or the operator, and sometimes it’s not sustainable in the long term. Really it’s about how we deploy either existing assets, or enhanced assets, and not different ‘bespoke’ assets.” Hall says that bus-based rapid transit type schemes must be built into Edinburgh’s BioQuarter and Granton Waterfront development areas, offering a sustainable transport option for workers and residents rather than cementing car dependency. The economic and health benefits of this will be huge. Express services As part of the investment in bus priority measures, the Programme for Government proposes to begin plans to reallocate road space on parts of the motorway network around Glasgow to high occupancy vehicles, such as buses. This is a policy that was strongly advocated by Hall’s predecessor as Chair of CPT Scotland, Robert Andrew, Managing Director of Stagecoach Scotland. He told Scotland’s Buses 2018 that smart motorway technology could enable bus-only lanes to operate in the outside lane at peak times, shaving 20-30 minutes of journey times. Hall also sees huge potential to grow bus use. At the beginning of the decade he was working for Arriva in the West of Scotland and he has observed the rapid growth of this region’s inter-urban bus services. It’s a phenomenon that has been seen across Scotland for many years since deregulation, with an expansive number of multi-operator services utilising Scotland’s key trunk roads and motorways making economic connections the length and breadth of the country. Lothian has itself introduced a number of new express services to locations in Edinburgh’s fast growing wider ‘travel-to-work’ region. He says that these services are responding to people who work in the city, but can no longer afford to live in it. “The consistent customer feedback is: ‘We want to get picked up and get to our destination quicker. We don’t want to stop’.”


After studying electrical engineering, Richard Hall started his bus career in coaches and private hire and then spent six years with Stagecoach and three years with Veolia Transport in Wales. He joined Arriva in 2010 where he worked in the west coast of Scotland and Glasgow before working on the transportation delivery for the 2012 Olympics and latterly in Malta. Prior to his appointment as Managing Director at Lothian in 2016, he was the Managing Director for RATP in London where he was responsible for leading over 3,700 people, across 11 operating sites, running contracted bus services for Transport for London.

Clean, green buses The Scottish Government is proposing to work with the Scottish National Investment Bank, the bus sector and potential investors to explore options for new forms of financing “to radically accelerate the deployment of zero emission buses across Scotland”. While welcoming this statement, Hall points out that borrowing money at preferential rates is not currently a problem for bus operators - the difficulty is paying it back. The problem is that electric buses cost almost twice as much as a diesel bus equivalent and they don’t yet offer the same capabilities in terms of reliability and range. This leaves operators with a hole in their budgets when you look at the fares versus asset cost. “It doesn’t matter how much you borrow that money at, you still have to pay that back,” he says. “How do you pay back double what you are repaying, unless you are not generating that through revenue? “If we said tomorrow as an industry all of our fares are going to rise by 100% and we’re all going to go and buy electric buses, the question really is ‘would our customers stand that?’ - and I think the answer would be ‘No’, so we need to find solutions.” Hall wants the industry to sit down with government and bus manufacturers and once and for all come up with one set of clear and consistent terminology around low carbon, ultra-low carbon and zero emission buses. “We absolutely need to understand what we are talking about here,” he says. “There almost needs to be an Oxford English definition of what a low carbon bus is, because you ask three different stakeholders and they’ll tell you three different answers, how will the consumer, our customer ever understand that?” Hall also wants the Scottish Government to work with bus operators by addressing the conflict between its plans to introduce Low Emissions Zones in Scotland’s four largest cities Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow - and the push to rapidly decarbonise transport. The first objective requires


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Lothian has introduced a new fleet of high capacity, tri-axle double deckers on core corridors, each offering 100 seats

bus operators to accelerate their fleet investment plans. Last year, First Bus said that Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone would require it to invest £97m over a period of less than four years to comply with the Euro 6 engine emissions standard. Lothian has traditionally maintained high levels of investment and it has a young fleet, but Edinburgh’s LEZ plans gives bus operators just one year to be 100% Euro 6 compliant. This will require the company to renew 347 buses, an investment of more than £60m. “We can’t achieve it at that rate,” says Hall. Lothian would like the City of Edinburgh Council to adopt a phased approach, like Glasgow. But even if this happens, bus operators face another dilemma - will brand new Euro 6 diesel buses purchased in the early years of the next decade have to come off the road before the end of it? No one knows today. In response to the global climate emergency, the Scottish government will legislate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to netzero by 2045 - five years ahead of the UK as a whole. It will also adopt an ambitious new target to reduce these emissions by 75% by 2030 - the toughest statutory target of any country in the world for this date. It’s a decision that will have major implications for the

“We can’t pay lip service to halting decline. We can’t pay lip service to prioritising buses. We have to take definitive actions”

transport sector. Even excluding international aviation and shipping, transport is estimated to have been the source of almost a third (32.1%) of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. This target is likely to increase the pressure on bus operators to adopt electric vehicles in the next decade. “As an industry we are making decisions now to invest in Euro 6 vehicles to get compliance with LEZ targets,” says Hall. “We are effectively going to ask our investors, our boards, to commit to considerable funding to get to those targets. It will accelerate funding in every major Scottish city over a normal investment cycle and if we achieve compliance for the LEZs anywhere between the proposed target dates of 2021 and 2023, we could potentially have assets at 2030 that are only seven years old, so 50% through a current life cycle. At that point they may not be able to be used and could have a zero market value.” The industry is waiting for further clarification and advice from the Scottish Government. “We haven’t got a definitive answer yet,” says Hall. “And we need to have this explained.” Hall would like assurances that a Euro 6 EEV bus, which is significantly cleaner than a Euro 6 car, would be exempted from any

future prohibitions, unless a new Euro engine technology standard is introduced. For the time being, he thinks that the case for Euro 6 diesel buses is a strong one, but the stigma attached to diesel means that it’s not an easy one to make. “How do we articulate the message that we’re absolutely not Luddites?” asks Hall. “We’re not still talking about diesel because we like diesel and we’ve always run diesel buses - but actually the message needs to be got out to stakeholders and politicians is that Euro 6 buses are clean, they are green.” Modal shift If Scotland is serious about having clean air in its cities and slashing greenhouse gas emissions it must pursue policies that drive modal shift, converting motorists into public transport users. Hall points out the that the Scottish Government has spent hundreds of millions on major road

infrastructure projects over the past decade, such as the M8/M73/ M74, the M90, the M9 works and the Queensferry Crossing. While welcoming the impact this has had on connecting cities, the evidence suggests that these enhancements have simply encouraged greater demand and are a victim of their own success. He wants Scotland to learn from the urban planning strategies of other European countries, like Sweden or The Netherlands, where public transport is regarded as a key component of communities and planning rather than an afterthought. “It’s uncomfortable, because it’s different, but we need to be different,” he argues. “If we are serious about it, don’t build any more car parks. Let’s start building some proper strategic bus priority and park and ride sites.” And what about that relentless decline in bus use? Today there are 91 million fewer annual bus journeys in Scotland than there than there were in 2009. What are the prospects of halting this decline and winning back those lost journeys? “I think the decline can be halted, but a lot of what we’ve talked about needs to happen” says Hall. “We can’t pay lip service to halting decline. We can’t pay lip service to prioritising buses. We have to take definitive actions. “We know that if we can speed up journey times, if we can make a bus quicker, people will choose it because it’s more attractive. So if you couple that with the high levels of innovation and the investment that the bus industry is doing as a whole ... we WILL halt the decline and we will turn it around. But we can’t do it alone.” Hall concludes: “I think what we’ve got is a clear and prioritised commitment from government. It’s been articulated by the First Minister. She has supported the Cabinet Secretary’s thinking and proposals from last year. He’s reiterated his desire to increase ridership on buses and what we now need to do is sort out the relative legislation, both primary and secondary, that will drive the right actions locally in the devolved authorities to ensure that bus not only does prosper but becomes the mode of choice.”


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As Scotland’s largest independent bus company, McGill’s offers efficient and modern public transport throughout Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

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Radio presenter James Naughtie (left) and transport expert Professor David Begg (right) present George Mair with the award for Lifetime Contribution to Transport in Scotland

Since we last met: A look back at the last year A selection of key events for Scotland’s buses over the past 12 months SU CC ESS

Stagecoach East Scotland is Public Transport Operator of the Year

Stagecoach East Scotland was crowned Public Transport Operator of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards 2019 in June. Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, welcomed 450 industry

million passengers a year. The evening also saw First Glasgow’s cross-city Service 75, which links Castlemilk and Milton, named Best Bus Service. George Mair, who this year retired from his role as Director of CPT Scotland, meanwhile received the award for Lifetime Contribution to Transport in Scotland. The judges said that the former Managing Director of

professionals to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow to celebrate the people and organisations that make a real difference to transport across Scotland. Dunfermline-based Stagecoach East Scotland operates services through Fife, Dundee, Perthshire and Angus and into Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling. The company has a fleet of 468 buses and coach and 1,309 employees – and carries 32.5

First Aberdeen had left behind a strong legacy of constructive dialogue, robust research and diplomacy.

91% of Scottish bus users are satisfied

Nine out of 10 bus passengers in Scotland said they were satisfied with their last journey in the Autumn 2018 edition of the Bus Passenger Survey, which was published in March. Overall, 91% were satisfied with their most recent bus journey, compared to 88% in England. Of the 10 companies in Scotland covered by the Transport Focus survey, half achieved an overall satisfaction rating of more than 90%. The highest level of satisfaction was achieved by Stagecoach in Tayside and Central (97%), followed by Lothian Buses in South East Scotland (95%), Stagecoach in South West Scotland (93%), Xplore Dundee in Tayside and Central (92%) and Stagecoach in North East Scotland (91%) (more details on page 33).


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Bus operators launch fare capping systems

The summer of 2019 saw Lothian and First Aberdeen each launch contactless fare capping systems. Passengers simply board the bus and tap their card on a validator without the need to pay with cash or collect a ticket. They will always get the cheapest daily fare possible, no matter how their travel plans might change throughout the day Lothian worked with Flowbird Transport Intelligence to launch its scheme in time for the Edinburgh Festivals, making it easier for local people and visitors to access Lothian services in the city by using bank cards and mobile devices as travel tokens. The Flowbird system caps the cost of multiple journeys made on the same day. Single fares with Lothian are a flat £1.70 and after three or more taps, the fare will be capped at Lothian’s £4 Day Ticket. “With more and more of our transactions becoming cashless, it was important to recognise the demand for this capability across our fleet,” said Nigel Serafini, Lothian’s Commercial Director. “This has been at the top of customers’ wish lists for some time.” First Aberdeen introduced its fare capping system - ‘Tap & Cap’ - on July 28. It caps fares on a daily and weekly basis – so that users never pay more than £4.40 a day or £18 per week, no matter how many journeys they make. Customers can log in to an online portal and see what they have been charged, should they wish to do so. First Bus operates local bus services across a fleet of 5,700 buses in England, Scotland and Wales. Aberdeen was chosen as the testbed for Tap & Cap because it is already a city with a high level of non cash payment. Furthermore, the flat fare system used by First Aberdeen made Tap & Cap less complicated. Speaking in September, Martin Bould, Chief Commercial Officer at First Bus, said that the incentive to introduce Tap & Cap has been the potential to reduce boarding times and speed up journeys. Making life easier for passengers


and the potential to grow patronage are also major benefits. “I think it’s fair to say we want to accelerate as quickly as possible taking cash off our buses,” he said. “Cash is the past.”

copies,” said Gan. “Before this app was introduced, I remember fumbling around searching for coins or to present my paper ticket to the bus drivers in addition to the fear of losing my paper ticket. Sales of the mTicket have quickly exceeded expectations, and the bus company also awarded a month’s free travel to its 200,000th mobile customer. Wendy Donnan regularly buys the 10-journey mTicket for her daughter, Shelaine to attend college, where she’s studying childcare.” Managing Director of Xplore Dundee Christine McGlasson said: “The mTicket app really does make it even simpler to buy and pay for your bus travel. Along with our new contactless payment facilities, we’re making sure we’re keeping pace with modern

Xplore Dundee celebrates TWO mTicket milestones

Two lucky bus customers won free travel in June, after buying Xplore Dundee’s ‘Golden mTickets’. Jenny Gan was the first to be revealed as the person who claimed the 150,000th mTicket sold via the National Express Group-owned operator’s app, which launched in February. She was awarded a month’s worth of free bus travel. “I started using the app shortly after it was introduced – it’s a game-changer for me as it’s so convenient compared to the paper

‘Cash is the past’: First Aberdeen launched its ‘Tap & Cap’ fare capping system in July

technology and providing methods which some customers prefer to use to pay for services.”

Train and bus is less fuss with Borders Explorer

Borders Buses teamed up with ScotRail in May to bring integrated travel to the Borders Railway by offering a new all-in-one rail and bus ticket. The new Borders Explorer ticket allows customers to travel to the beautiful and historic borders towns and villages from Edinburgh by train or bus on one ticket. The all-in-one ticket includes ScotRail travel to/from Edinburgh Waverley and any Borders Bus from Galashiels Transport Interchange to towns and villages throughout the region, including, Hawick, Jedburgh, Peebles, Kelso and Coldstream. Customers can only leave or board the train at either Galashiels or Tweedbank to join the connecting Borders Bus service. The Borders Explorer day ticket is available for both peak (£24.40) and off-peak journeys (£19), with discounts for children, providing an all-inclusive ticket option for residents and visitors staying in Edinburgh and the Borders. “The Borders Explorer joint ticket offers users a simple and easy way to travel, not just to and from but in and around the Scottish Borders,” said Borders

Lothian invited 100 car users to an event on Edinburgh’s George Street in January, showing how buses can free up road space 14

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city’s roads and has 25 times the carrying capacity of a car. This could dramatically reduce traffic congestion - but also harmful local emissions. A Euro 6 diesel car emits 10 times more NOx emissions per passenger than a Euro 6 bus.

Buses Commercial Manager Sharon Morrison. “We hope it plays a part in encouraging more visitors to enjoy this increasingly popular part of Scotland.” E N V I RO N M E N T

Dundee gets ahead of LEZ

Xplore Dundee launched its new fleet of smart hybrid double decker buses, displaying two of the new vehicles in City Square on November 30, 2018. The 14 high spec, smart hybrid Alexander Dennis double deckers, dubbed ‘Emerald’, hit the city’s streets on December 2, 2018, operating mainly on the cross-city Service 22. The ultra-clean vehicles will travel though Seagate, one of Dundee’s air quality hotspots. Christine McGlasson, Managing Director of the National Express Group-owned operator, said that Xplore Dundee was taking action ahead of plans to introduce a Low Emission Zone in the city. “We are trying to get in ahead,” she said. “We’ve got this [fleet] and we’ve got seven other vehicles that are being upgraded right now to Euro 6... We would love to do more and obviously there is the whole debate around funding at the moment. It’s expensive to do.”

Glasgow wins £1.1m from Green Bus Fund

Xplore Dundee MD Christine McGlasson at the launch of smart hybrid double deckers

Lothian extols green credentials of its buses

To demonstrate the positive impact of removing cars from roads and replacing them with clean and sustainable public transport solutions, Lothian invited 100 car users to an event held on Edinburgh’s George Street in January. A high impact visual comparison showed how much physical road space can be freed up by people travelling in one of its new tri-axle Alexander Dennis Enviro400XLB buses compared with the same number travelling independently by car. The council-owned company also launched its new business environmental strategy and pledged to only operate buses that meet Euro 5 standards or better by the end of 2020. Lothian told local stakeholders that just one of its Enviro400XLB buses can remove 129 single occupant vehicles from the

Glasgow Airport switched its official car park shuttles to all-electric operation

As Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) launched at the end of December 2018, the Scottish Government announced the results of its eighth Scottish Green Bus Fund initiative, with the city being the only beneficiary of the scheme. The previous seven rounds of the fund have been successful in providing over £16m, resulting in over 360 low carbon emission buses joining the Scottish fleet. The latest round saw funding of £1.14m released to the city’s dominant bus operator First Glasgow and Glasgow Airport for a total of 128 new low emission buses. First Glasgow was awarded a total of £690,000 towards the cost of purchasing 125 Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double deck vehicles, for use on the operator’s Glasgow city network. The first phase of Glasgow’s LEZ was launched on December 31, 2018, and initially affects local service buses. The award of the funding complements significant investment by First in its Glasgow bus fleet ahead of the introduction of the LEZ. Meanwhile, Glasgow Airport secured £450,000 towards the cost of purchasing three fully electric BYD/Alexander Dennis Enviro200EV single deckers for its long stay car park shuttle These buses have now entered service, making Glasgow Airport the first in the UK to switch its official car park shuttles to all-electric operation. The vehicles are operated by NCP on behalf of the airport and replace three existing diesel buses.

Aberdeen plans ‘hydrogen hub’

Will Aberdeen’s hydrogen fuel cell buses help the city become a ‘hydrogen hub’?

Aberdeen City Council announced in May that it is exploring how it can create a lasting legacy for its hydrogen vehicle projects after the current crop of funding from


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a variety of UK and European sources ends in 2023. The city is working to create a hydrogen economy in the Aberdeen City Region that aims to reinforce its position as an energy city. A variety of projects have facilitated the opening of two hydrogen refuelling stations, at Kittybrewster and the Aberdeen City Hydrogen Energy Storage (ACHES) facility at Cove, and the introduction of 10 Van Hool hydrogen fuel cell buses. These vehicles have so far accumulated over one million miles in passenger service. A further five hydrogen buses are expected to be delivered in 2020 through the Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) programme and there is also potential for up to 10 additional buses as part of a funding bid to the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). Now the city is investigating ways in which it can build on these projects by becoming a global ‘Hydrogen Hub’, a centre of excellence for the technology.


Paul White, Director, Scotland, at CPT

Gavin Booth retired from Bus Users

White heads CPT Scotland Left to right: Robert Andrew will retire next year. Douglas Robertson was named MD of Stagecoach East Scotland, assisted by new Commercial Director Sarah Elliott


Stagecoach appoints MDs and Andrew announces retirement

Stagecoach appointed new MDs for its businesses in the East and West of Scotland in 2019, and Stagecoach Scotland boss Robert Andrew announced his intention to retire in 2020. Douglas Robertson was named as Managing Director of Stagecoach East Scotland while Fiona Doherty took charge at Stagecoach West Scotland (see interview on page 31). Robertson has more than 20 years’ experience within the bus industry, having started his career with Stagecoach Bluebird in 1998. He then held management positions at a number of different organisations within the industry including First Edinburgh, Stagecoach Fife, Falkirk Council and Preston Bus before joining Transdev Blazefield in 2009. After taking on the roles of Business Director and Commercial Director at Transdev Blazefield he returned to Stagecoach in 2015 as Commercial Director with

with substantial experience in regulatory litigation, and is also a qualified engineer. “Claire was an outstanding candidate in a strong field,” commented Senior Traffic Commissioner Richard Turfitt. “The traffic commissioners look forward to welcoming Claire to the team... Transport is a key priority for Scotland. It has a vital role in connecting people and places. “That is why those involved in the operation of trucks, buses or coaches need a robust regulator; to keep the roads safe and make sure there is a level playing field for all. I am confident Claire will rise to this task and draw on her considerable experience to do so.”

Chris Martin: Inspired his colleagues

Paul Thomas: Sadly missed

Stagecoach East Scotland. Doherty is a newcomer to the industry. She has more than 28 years’ experience in the oil and gas, transport and logistics and manufacturing sectors, this includes experience at UK wide and global corporations. She began her career as a Technologist with BP Chemicals in 1990 before joining INEOS Manufacturing as the company’s Commercial Manager in 2006. She later took on the role of Head of Security operations at BAA Glasgow Airport before being appointed Port Manager - East Coast Scotland with Forth Ports in 2010. Robert Andrew, Managing Director of Stagecoach Scotland, meanwhile announced his intention to retire next year after nearly 35 years working in the transport industry. Andrew joined Stagecoach in 1992 as Operations

Manager for Inverness and has held many senior positions across the business. He will continue to lead the team in Scotland and Wales until June 2020 whilst the process is underway to appoint a successor. Finally, Stagecoach East Scotland announced the appointment of Sarah Elliott as Commercial Director. She began her career at Stagecoach in January 2007 as a Marketing Assistant.

Gilmore is Scotland’s new Traffic Commissioner

Claire Gilmore took over at Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner following the retirement of Joan Aitken in February 2019. Gilmore was previously the Senior Investigating Officer in the office of the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland. She is a trained lawyer,

Paul White took over as Director, Scotland at the Confederation of Passenger Transport in July. He succeeded George Mair, who remains with CPT Scotland as Development Manager on a part-time basis. In his previous position of Deputy Director CPT Scotland, Paul was instrumental in shaping CPT Scotland’s response to the Transport (Scotland) Bill and spearheading efforts to reform retrofit funding to the benefit of coach and bus operators. He has an MA (Hons) Politics from Glasgow University and an MSc Public Policy from Strathclyde University. He is also a past Chair of the Scottish Transport Studies Group and is a Board Member of SEStran, the South East of Scotland Transport Partnership.

Booth to retire from Bus Users

Gavin Booth, retired from his post as Director, Scotland for Bus Users at the end of March. Booth has enjoyed a long career in the bus industry, working for the Scottish Bus Group before becoming a freelance transport consultant, journalist and author. In the 1990s he joined Dr Caroline Cahm, founder of the National Federation of Bus Users, now Bus Users. Booth succeeded Cahm as Chair of the organisation, and after stepping down from the role, went on to establish Bus Users in Scotland in


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2013. He now plans to focus on a number of book-writing projects. “Having been a regular bus user my whole life, it’s been a privilege to give bus passengers a stronger voice, and ensure that operators keep passengers at the heart of everything they do,” said Booth. “Bus Users has genuinely made a difference, and it will continue to work to ensure that passengers remain at the top of the transport agenda.” Bus Users officially became a registered charity in Scotland in 2019. Already a registered charity in England and Wales, Bus Users had to meet the separate test of the Scottish Charity Regulator in order to operate as a registered charity in Scotland.

Sadly missed: Chris Martin and Paul Thomas

Transport consultant Chris Martin passed away peacefully on May 19. Martin was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma in November 2017, the same month that he gave a presentation to that year’s CPT Conference in Turnberry. As many know from his Twitter feed, he refused to give into this vicious disease. Martin fought with unending and staggering humour, vitality, resilience and heart-on-sleeve honesty well beyond the time the doctors told him he had left. He was given 12 months to live,

and they are extremely proud to have worked with, learnt from and been inspired by him. He is survived by Jacqui and his children Josie, Tom and Erin. The industry also mourned the loss of Stagecoach East Scotland Managing Director Paul Thomas last year. Thomas began his career as an apprentice mechanic in 1985, and worked his way into managerial post. He spent several years as Managing Director of First Scotland East before heading up UK Bus for National Express West Midlands and Xplore Dundee bus companies, along with the Midland Metro tram operation. He was appointed as MD of Stagecoach East Scotland in July 2017.

16 months later and he was still in the office, still fighting, still making his colleagues laugh and still contributing to the industry. Martin joined the TAS Partnership in July 2008 after an extensive career in UK bus and rail management, starting with the Oxford Bus Company and continuing with appointments at Go-Ahead Group, Go North East, Thames Trains and Arriva North East. His most recent role at TAS was as Business Development Manager, taking forward various aspects of commercial progress and developing or fostering client relationships. Colleagues at TAS said his passion for public transport and dedication to his work was truly humbling and infectious

Alexander Dennis, Lothian and Volvo unveiled the Enviro400XLB in November 2018


150 new double deckers for First Glasgow

First Bus unveiled a ‘1:1 scale model’ of a new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bus - driver included - in Glasgow’s George Square in October 2018. The publicity stunt aimed to raise awareness of a massive fleet investment by First Glasgow, starting with an order for 75 of these Euro 6 vehicles. This £14m investment will helped First Glasgow meet part of the Phase 1 criteria of the Glasgow Low Emissions Zone, laid out to bus operators by Glasgow City Council, which came into effect at the end of last year. Just two months later, First Glasgow announced that it would purchase another 75 new ultra-low emission vehicles for Glasgow in 2019, which includes £16.3m investment from First Bus and £400k from the Green Bus Fund. Following on from a £14m investment in the Glasgow fleet in 2018, the group has spent more than £30m over two years. First Glasgow revealed last year that it will have to spend £90-97m in less than four years in order to comply with Glasgow’s new city centre Low Emission Zone, which requires all buses to meet Euro 6 emissions standards by the end of 2022. “The bus is very much part of the solution when it comes to reducing emissions on our already congested roads as one full low emission bus can take up to 75 cars off the road,” said First Glasgow Managing Director Andrew Jarvis.”

£4.75m bus fleet helps McGill’s beat LEZ

First Bus unveiled a ‘1:1 scale model’ of a new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 bus in Glasgow’s George Square in October 2018

Scottish independent operator McGill’s introduced 26 new Alexander Dennis Enviro200 buses in the first months of 2019. Managing Director Ralph Roberts said that the investment proved that bus operators are serious about tackling air pollution. The new vehicles take McGill’s capital investment over the last five years to over £30m, with almost £24m of that spent on new vehicles. A total of £4.75m


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has been invested in the new Enviro200 fleet, which are operating on two corridors; Routes X23/23 between Erskine and Glasgow and Route 26 between Glenburn/Nethercraigs and Paisley. The vehicles meet the Euro 6 Ultra Low Emission Vehicle standard and exceed the standards required by Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone. “This is a milestone investment for McGill’s which benefits the environment, our passengers and in turn, serves the wider economy,” said Roberts. “Some campaigners claim that bus operators are not doing enough to tackle air pollution but this investment in 26 new vehicles brings our average bus age down to under seven years old - the youngest large private fleet in Scotland - and demonstrates that we’re going the extra mile and taking a long-term approach. “Funding for the new fleet has been found privately with no public subsidies provided. Only by running a profitable business can we invest in the very latest vehicles, and it is vital that the government now provides the conditions conducive to allow us to invest further.”


New coaches to support growth

however, the first of 42 of these high capacity entered service in with Lothian in Edinburgh. Offering 100 seats and with standees able to carry up to 131 passengers in total, the Enviro400XLB delivers unrivalled capacity for busy routes. It has been built to even higher standards than bus users in Edinburgh are familiar with; comfortable high-backed seating, free Wi-Fi access, USB device charging, LED mood lighting and audio-visual next stop announcements. The Enviro400XLB is also seen as a solution to worsening traffic congestion, which is slowing down buses and making them a less attractive option. The second door, something which has seldom been specified on buses outside of London, will improve the flow of passengers, speeding up boarding times and winning back some of the time lost to congestion.

Council-owned bus operator Lothian introduced eight new Plaxton Leopard coaches on Lothiancountry-branded express services into Edinburgh from surrounding areas in April. The new vehicles feature a number of innovations that have been designed by the operator in close collaboration with manufacturer Alexander Dennis. They aim to create a true interurban express coach. The new model is based on the 12.8-metre model of the versatile Leopard and is built on Volvo’s B8R coach chassis. It features 49 seats and a large double doorway in the centre of the vehicle that not only allows access to wheelchair users via a cassette lift, but also aims to allow large numbers of customers to alight quickly at their destination. This move aims to slash dwell times. “To give commuters a credible alternative coupled with high

New Borders Buses fleet accepts Bikes

Bus users in the Scottish Borders can now take their bikes on board thanks to an investment in bike friendly vehicles by Borders Buses. The three new Alexander Dennis Enviro400s were introduced in April on Route X74 linking Peebles with Edinburgh. They feature custom designed bays that can accommodate up to three bikes. “We recognise the way we travel is changing,” said Lee Young, Operations Manager at the West Coast Motors subsidiary. “Active travel is increasingly becoming a popular choice.”

Hybrids for Elgin route

Stagecoach North Scotland introduced 15 new hybrid Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double deckers on its Route 35 between Aberdeen, Banff and Elgin in spring 2019. The new vehicles replace interurban-specification coaches on the route and provide around 45% more capacity. The low floor entry of the vehicles will also reduce boarding times for wheelchair users and those with mobility restrictions.

Lothian thinks big with 100-seat tri-axles

A lone piper emerged from behind the curtain on the shop floor at Alexander Dennis’s factory in Falkirk and began playing ‘Scotland the Brave’ in November 2018. It was a sign that the suspense would soon be over. Alexander Dennis, Volvo and Lothian had worked hard to keep the details of their collaboration secret, but now the Alexander Dennis Enviro400XLB was slowly rolling into view - a new bus product, built in Scotland for Scotland’s capital city. The onlookers fumbled with their camera phones, struggling to frame the dimensions of the 13.4-metre tri-axle double decker. British bus builders have long been supplying tri-axle double deckers to Hong Kong and Singapore, but not for their domestic market. In January,

levels of customer service means that our investment in these new 49-seat coaches with improved accessibility features has been designed with the customer’s comfort and convenience in mind,” said Richard Hall, Lothian’s Managing Director.

PO L ICY Lothian introduced eight new Plaxton Leopard coaches on new express services

Borders Buses acquired new vehicles with custom designed bays for three bicycles

Scotland to spend £500m on bus priority

The Scottish Government announced a “landmark investment” of £500m to improve bus infrastructure across the country to encourage more people to use public transport in September. The investment is part of the 2019/20 Programme for Government, which sets out the Scottish Government’s next steps to tackle climate change, following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s acknowledgement of a global climate emergency earlier this year.


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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined bus operators after announcing a ‘landmark investment’ of £500m to improve bus infrastructure across the country

The Programme for Government pledges to “bring forward a step change in investment to make bus services greener and more punctual and reliable, so that more people make the choice to take the bus”. In addition to the £500m investment in bus priority infrastructure, actions include “beginning plans to reallocate road space on parts of the motorway network around Glasgow to high occupancy vehicles such as buses”. The Scottish Government is also proposing to work with the Scottish National Investment Bank, the bus sector and potential investors to explore options for new forms of financing “to radically accelerate the deployment of zero emission buses across Scotland”. “Congestion is the biggest issue holding back buses in our communities,” commented CPT Scotland’s Director, Paul White. “Reducing journey times will make buses more attractive for customers, reduce the number of cars on our roads, improve local air quality and free up resources to deliver improved bus networks and better value fares. “Every £1 invested in bus priority can generate up to eight times that amount in wider economic, social and environmental benefits. So, investment in buses is an

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Lothian’s Annandale Street garage

investment in Scotland’s future. As such, it is fantastic to see buses at the heart of the Scottish Government agenda.”

It included proposals which would pave the way for the biggest reconstitution of the city centre streetscape after decades of planning decisions which have prioritised car use over pedestrians, giving greater priority to buses, pedestrians and allowing for the creation of public spaces “worthy of a great European city”. However, while advocating radical action to reconnect the city, the Commission stops short of calling for the reregulation of the bus network - for the time being. “Much political debate is focused on whether regulation is required to deliver such a step change - but it is worth recording that the evidence on this is mixed, as not all publicly-owned bus

‘Radical action’ needed to reconnect Glasgow

A plan to reconnect Glasgow’s left behind communities and rejuvenate the city centre was launched in November 2018 by the independent Glasgow Connectivity Commission. In a wide ranging set of recommendations, the Commission, chaired by transport expert Professor David Begg, called for radical action to bridge the connectivity gap separating areas of the city which were thriving from those which suffered from transport isolation and lack of opportunity.

companies are performing well and some privately-managed networks are delivering,” the report states. “The fresh partnership approach deployed by Glasgow City Council and operators should be given one last chance to succeed. But if it continues to perform poorly on bus patronage compared with other UK cities, the commission’s firm view is the powers in the new Scottish Transport Bill should be deployed to regulate the bus network.” The Glasgow Connectivity Commission was established in November 2017 by Glasgow Council Leader Susan Aitken and asked to provide independent recommendations on improving Glasgow’s connectivity.

Scottish bus patronage still on downward slide

Statistics published by Transport Scotland in March revealed that bus patronage in Scotland has fallen to a record low. Patronage has declined more than 80% across six decades, from 1,664 million passenger journeys in 1960, to 891 million in 1975, to 458 million in 2000. It recovered to 487 million in 2007 thanks to the introduction of a nationwide free concessionary travel scheme but then resumed its decline, falling to around 388 million passenger journeys in 2017/18, a decrease of 1.5% on 2016/17.


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Free concessionary travel trips make up just over a third of this figure - 136 million (35%) - yet these trips are also in decline down from 155 million in 2008/09. Bus fares in Scotland have also risen 11% in real terms (adjusting for inflation) over the past five years, compared with 6% for Great Britain as a whole. The picture of bus use in Scotland contrasts with rail travel in Scotland, which accounts for only a quarter of the number of passenger journeys made by bus but has seen steady increases over the past few years. The fall in bus patronage is partly explained by the rise in vehicle ownership. Vehicles licensed in Scotland rose from 775,000 in 1962, to 1.304 million in 1975, to 2.188 million in 2000, to 2.962 million in 2017. The estimated volume of traffic on Scotland’s roads in 2017 was around 48.0 billion vehicle kilometres, 3.2% more than 2016. There have been slight increases in the last six years, following a steady downward trend seen between 2007 and 2011.


to have the ADL team join NFI - one great bus company joining another,” said Robertson. “We believe our consolidated businesses will enhance NFI’s market leading position in North America, while improving NFI’s offering through combined engineering expertise, supplier partnerships, electric vehicle knowhow and aftermarket platforms. I look forward to continuing our solid progress at ADL and also championing further international growth for NFI.” ADL’s primary shareholders, including Robertson and Stagecoach Chairman Sir Brian Souter, retain an equity interest in the business, having been issued shares in NFI Group Inc. as part of the transaction.

NFI Group Inc. will “create a platform for international growth, accelerated technology development and innovation”. It was announced in May that ADL had been acquired by North America’s largest and most diversified bus and coach manufacturer in a £320m deal. ADL will retain its own brand and Chief Executive Colin Roberston, who has led the growth and internationalisation of the Falkirk-based company for more than a decade, will stay on. He will also be tasked with driving NFI’s global growth ambitions. “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success we’ve had building Alexander Dennis over the past 15 years, and I’m excited


£320m sale of ADL will ‘boost global growth’

The UK’s largest bus builder, Alexander Dennis Limited, claims that its sale to Canada-based

ADL boss Colin Robertson (left) pictured in Edinburgh with NFI’s CEO, Paul Soubry

Stagecoach vehicles on the Forth Road Bridge. The group will begin a trial of autonomous buses on this corridor next year


Stagecoach to launch autonomous bus route

It was announced in November 2018 that Scotland will host the trial of the first autonomous full-sized passenger bus fleet after Innovate UK agreed funding to support a successful bid by Stagecoach and partners. The trial will include five autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single deck vehicles which will run between Fife and Edinburgh across the Forth Road Bridge. The buses will be used autonomously to ‘Level 4’ standard, in other words fully autonomous, however a driver will remain on board during any journey in line with current UK regulations. The first vehicle expected to enter service with Stagecoach East Scotland in 2020. Funding of £4.35m has been awarded by the UK Government through Innovate UK with additional investment from operator Stagecoach, Transport Scotland, ADL, technology company Fusion Processing, and mobility services specialist ESP Group. As part of the trial the buses will operate between the Ferrytoll park and ride facility in Fife and the Edinburgh Park Interchange. They will use both on-road and hard shoulder running, and will use the dedicated public transport corridor across the Forth Road Bridge. That allows buses and taxis to use dedicated lanes between the M9 near Newbridge and Halbeath in Fife. The fleet of autonomous buses will operate every 20 minutes on the 14-mile trial route. “We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding and we are excited to further test the potential for autonomous technology in the future within public transport using full size single deck buses, which so far has not been achieved anywhere else in the world,” said the project partners. “Drivers will still be required on all vehicles at all time while in service for passenger safety and to comply with UK legislation.”


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“Euro Bus Expo is the ‘one stop shop’ for seeing and evaluating developments in vehicles, technology, emerging products and innovation. An absolute must for anyone involved in the bus and coach industry.” IAN WARR, ENGINEERING DIRECTOR, FIRST UK BUS


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Show Partner

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Balancing competition and integration John Yellowlees and Derek Halden explain why those who pursue integrated delivery models will be winners n the rhetoric of transport planners, bus and rail face greater competition from car than they do from each other. Could bus and rail present a more competitive offer for customers through more integrated door-todoor journey solutions? Bus and rail largely serve different markets, but there can be rich pickings for a rail operator that takes demand from busy bus services and for bus operators that compete, usually on price with established rail markets. For example, Lothian Country Buses new EX1 and EX2 routes from West Lothian to Edinburgh are also served by busy rail services. Discussions about integration usually concentrate on operational issues such as joint planning of timetables and the availability of tickets that a customer can use for the combined bus and rail journey. Rail operators such as ScotRail get regular requests to provide more joint tickets. However, when these joint offers are made available, they are not particularly popular with customers. Integration of routes appears similarly fragile. Lothian Buses were reluctant to reroute bus services into the new Edinburgh Gateway Station to help support rail growth in that corridor and McGill’s no longer use the stop at the newly-improved Lenzie Station. Many ScotRail stations have disused bus shelters, such as Newcraighall, Barrhill and Keith. There seems to be a gap between what customers say they want and the delivery realities. The lack of integrated business models has long been seen as a problem. This summer the Department for Transport published their long awaited


Lothian's new EX1 and EX2 routes compete with busy rail services in West Lothian

review of their ‘Total Transport’ initiative, which had supported the development of more integrated business models. The review identified a few small successes in niche markets. Similarly, despite big claims for potential ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) business models, after years of substantial funding the practical delivery amounts to a few niche projects. Investors in MaaS will demand mass markets to get their money back, but it is far from clear that these financial goals will ever be consistent with support for increased public transport use and reduced transport pollution. The costs of organising integrated solutions have often exceeded the extra revenue from additional passengers. The reason we have so little integration is that integration ‘within the transport sector’ is usually less profitable than competition. In contrast, the integration that has been both financially viable and attractive to customers has been integration between transport and other parts of the economy, particularly the retail and service sectors. There is rapid growth in the

aggregation of services allowing transport, hospitality and retail sectors to grow together, particularly by technology transport operators such as Uber. These approaches share benefits through commission for partners, delivering more attractive and profitable offers to customers. However, bus and rail operators tend to operate on business models that make sharing commission much harder than


John Yellowlees is Chair of the Scottish Transport Studies Group, and Derek Halden is Secretary. STSG is Scotland’s transport think tank and publishes reports and papers to help transport meet the needs of the Scottish economy and society. STSG currently has debates running to help industry address growing challenges in competition and integration and the debate is always open at

for taxis, coaches, hire cars and other transport. With current technology systems, travel agents and journey planners can now plug systems together to offer customers seamless travel options to their destinations. Against this bus and rail information and ticketing looks very closed. Openness and joint working is still so rare it is newsworthy, such as the information screens in St Andrews bus station which show train departures from Leuchars, and the new screens at Oban railway station which show departures by rail, bus, sea and also flights from Oban Airport. The future of rail is secured by its fixity in the built environment and unique ability to move large volumes of people quickly between city centres. Car is not a particularly strong competitor with many rail markets. In contrast, bus travel offers a far greater level of flexibility, and if well planned has the potential to match many more car journeys on cost, convenience and speed. Unfortunately, current bus operations are not designed to compete with car travel, with too many stops and uncompetitive journey times. Car and rail currently seem to be delivering in their potential markets much better than bus, which instead relies on diminishing returns in declining markets. The balance between competition and integration has long been viewed as one of the difficult choices a bus operator needs to make. This is changing. The companies achieving optimal integration are also becoming the most competitive. The winners in the future of public transport will be those who manage their value chain through integrated delivery models.


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100 years old, but full of energy The Lothian team reflect on a historic year for their business, and a notable one too e have enjoyed another strong year here at Lothian. 2019 is a special year for the company. Lothian is celebrating 100 years of public ownership across this year, and we have marked the occasion with special events both internally and externally. We have continued to invest in our fleet to adapt to the new and advancing technologies across our industry. We have also continued to invest in our people and are proud to still be one of Edinburgh’s largest employers. We have over 2,500 employees across numerous departments of our business, with everyone working together to ensure we consistently provide a safe, reliable, accessible and affordable transport service for the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians. As a forward thinking business, we are also looking to the future and are dedicated to planning ahead for the next century and more. At the beginning of the year, we launched our Bus2020 strategy, which involves a pledge that we will only use Euro 5 or newer buses by the end of 2020. This ambitious plan is in line with meeting the Scottish Government’s target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases. This follows on from our investment in Enviro400XLB tri-axle buses in December 2018, which are all fitted to Euro 6 standard. In February, Lothian invited residents and visitors to George Street in Edinburgh, where we demonstrated that one full Enviro400XLB could take as many as 100 cars off the road. Our Bus2020 campaign highlighted buses as the greener choice for a


The funding allows us to retrofit some of our older buses with modern technology. We received full funding for 11 of our buses and 40% funding for a further 25 buses, with Lothian pledging to cover the remaining 60%. This will allow us to deliver on our commitment to improving air quality across the city. Edinburgh Bus Tours continues to excel and we are delighted to retain our Green Tourism status. Green Tourism is the market leading sustainable tourism certification programme in the UK and internationally. Sustainable

sustainable future. The image of 100 parked cars, next to our one bus, was a striking example of the road space that can be achieved if more people got out of their cars and started taking the bus. We are well on our way to achieving our targets by the end of 2020 which will see us reduce harmful nitrogen oxides by 98% as well as removing over 12,000 tonnes of CO2 from our carbon footprint. We were delighted to be awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Bus Emissions Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) programme in April.

tourism refers to tourists visiting somewhere and attempting to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy. A Green Tourism Award allows the consumer to make a clear ethical and responsible decision about where to holiday, stay or visit. To achieve an accreditation, businesses are graded by a qualified assessor against a rigorous set of criteria that cover a range of areas. In April, our Lothiancountry garage in Livingston opened, giving us a base for our operations in West Lothian. The base in the Deans area is home to over 120 of our Lothiancountry employees and 40 of our buses. Operating services in and around West Lothian it was important for us to have a base in the area to ensure we have a strong presence in the local community we continue to serve. This summer was a particularly busy time for everyone at Lothian. In July, our Airlink offering was relaunched with the introduction of branded Enviro400XLBs. With a striking newly designed navy, red and gold livery, these vehicles


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are fitted with luxurious seating, dedicated three tier luggage racks, Wi-Fi, USB charging, mood lighting and audio-visual stop announcements, offering an enhanced customer experience. The premium service runs between Edinburgh’s city centre at Waverley Bridge and Edinburgh Airport. To celebrate the relaunch, we put one of our new double door Airlink buses on display in Castle Street in Edinburgh. The public feedback on the new buses was extremely positive. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for our team this summer was the opening of a new retail outlet in the west end of the city. The Lothian TravelHub opened in Shandwick Place, with a dedicated travel team in place giving by-the-minute travel updates and onward travel information for our customers. Regular customers can also purchase and top up their Ridacards at the TravelHub, making it an essential outlet for those who travel on our buses. Not only that, but the TravelHub is also home to a

ABOVE: Our Lothiancountry garage in Livingston opened in April, home to 40 buses. BELOW LEFT: One Enviro400XLB bus can take as many as 100 cars off the road

Our centennial cavalcade saw old and new Lothian buses parade through the streets

“Edinburgh Bus Tours continues to excel and we are delighted to retain our Green Tourism status”

state-of-the-art café, selling hot drinks and snacks to the public. This part of the hub is being operated solely by our Lothian catering team, who have a dedicated staff of baristas on the premises. This is a really bold step for the company, and the TravelHub gives us a strong retail presence in Edinburgh’s west end. Our in-house Driver of the Year event at Ingliston in July was another massive success for us. The two-day event showcased the excellent skills of all our drivers across the Lothian group. On the first day, we had many different political and business stakeholders navigating their way through the difficult challenges. Many of those were surprised at how difficult it was, and praised the talents of our drivers, who made each of the tasks look simple in comparison. In September, we were extremely proud of our very own Adam Stitt, who was crowned the winner of the UK Bus Driver of the Year event in Blackpool. The competition played host to over 100 entries from bus companies all over the United Kingdom,

so we are immensely proud that Adam came out on top. We often say that we really do have the best Bus Drivers in the UK, and now Adam has proved it! Undoubtedly, the highlight of our year at Lothian was the centenary celebration weekend in September, which showcased the century of service Lothian has delivered to the people of Edinburgh. It is important for any company in any industry to mark any landmark, but for us to be able to mark our centenary in 2019 was certainly an honour for our staff. We kicked off the weekend with our annual Doors Open Day, which is always an immensely popular event, with thousands of people flooding into our central garage.

Finishing off the weekend was our centennial cavalcade through Edinburgh, in which an array of old and new Lothian buses paraded through the heart of the city, with thousands lining the streets to wave on the fleet. It was a really special day for Lothian and the City of Edinburgh. We are an institution in the nation’s capital and the public demonstrated their affection for our buses as they made their way through the city centre, and then the static display in George Street afterwards. It is always a popular event when we show off our older buses, but perhaps this year with our 100th birthday in mind, it was especially significant. Our employees have also continued their commitment to local causes with their support of our Charity of Choice, Macmillan Cancer Support. As our partnership comes to a close we are reminded of the fantastic relationship we have built over the last two years. Macmillan is close to a lot of our customers and employees’ hearts and we have worked on a range of special initiatives. They have always provided an excellent resource of support and a strong presence at any of our events. We thank Macmillan Cancer Support for their help over the last two years, and look forward to developing a new relationship with our next Charity of Choice. As we approach the conclusion of 2019, we can look back on another bumper year for Lothian – probably one of our most notable since the early period of company’s inception 100 years ago. This year, we embarked on a journey through our own history, and through the hard work of the talented teams across our business, we were able to present the centenary of Lothian to the citizens of Edinburgh, the people we serve all day, every day. While our buses, old and new, are what makes Lothian’s brand so memorable to the public, it is important to remember the hard work put in by the whole Lothian team every day to meet the needs and expectations of the residents and visitors to our capital city. With this in mind, we now look forward with excitement to the next 100 years at Lothian.


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Ralph Roberts (right) took delivery of 26 new Enviro200 buses from Alexander Dennis earlier this year, a £4.9m investment

‘I asked for a billion’ Not one to shy away from debate, Ralph Roberts is pleased to see buses in the spotlight alph Roberts likes a debate, so he is delighted that buses are finally being talked about. As Managing Director of Greenock-based McGill’s, Scotland’s largest privately-owned bus company, he is accustomed to hearing frustrations about late buses, fare increases and service cuts - all things that also frustrate him. But now there is an opportunity for a deeper conversation, one that goes beyond the problems and identifies the causes and the cures. Roberts argues that bus use isn’t declining because bus operators are prioritising profits or lack


industry circles he asks people what they think the main mode of public transport is in Scotland. “[They say] train every time... almost without fail,” he laments. “It’s debated most on TV, it’s debated most in print, it’s debated most online.” After rail, he says that the next answer is usually air travel - yet buses represent 75% of public transport journeys in Scotland. “That’s why I welcome buses being debated, whether it’s positive or negative because then it’s down to us in the industry to reframe it,” he explains. This reframing is a never ending task, says Roberts, because politicians and activists hold all sorts of “misplaced beliefs” about

the wit or will to innovate. The problem is that the roads are ever more congested and bus journey times are too long and too unreliable. Bus operators are selling an ever worsening product. If the drop in productivity that bus companies have seen over the last decade and a half was to happen in a major manufacturing industry, he believes that there would be an outcry and serious government intervention. Roberts believes that Scotland’s buses have long been neglected by decision-makers at both local and national level. And they’ve got away with it because buses have such a low profile. When he’s outside of bus

buses. He urges his bus industry colleagues to follow his lead and throw themselves into the debate. “I always say there’s only so much one man and his Twitter account can do!” he says (see @NoConceptOfTime). “Sometimes I feel like I am railing at the moon, you know, and most bus companies are too quiet, they’re silent. They’re gagged by their corporate comms departments and they don’t come out and say enough. And we don’t have a cohesive, joined up approach like, for example, the rail industry in Scotland.” He doesn’t think that the bus industry should shy away from engaging with people, even when they ask for the impossible. “People come out and say, ‘Buses are too expensive’,” he says. “Everyone gets defensive. Buses ARE too expensive! If you’re on minimum wage, buses are horrendously expensive, so we need to admit that.” Roberts cities the example of Vienna, which offers unlimited travel on public transport for just €365 a year (€1 a day). He thinks that this is a fair aspiration for cities in Scotland to offer travel for £1 a day - and this opens up a conversation about what needs to be done to get there. Is Scotland ready to prioritise public transport in the way that Vienna has? He points out that bus operators currently have little control over their cost base and therefore have very limited ability to suppress fare increases. An independent review of Scotland’s bus market by KPMG in 2017 found that 75% of its cost pressures are outside of the industry’s control. “Imagine you were in a large boat... and it’s got four rudders and you are heading into a storm, and you’ve only got control of one rudder,” he says. “It’s just like running a bus company... You’ve got to do things that are so much more extreme than you otherwise would if you had full control.” The announcement last month by the Scottish Government of a “landmark” £500m investment in bus priority infrastructure, as part of its 2019/20 Programme for Government, should give some control back to bus operators. Roberts says that this extra funding has resulted from


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conversations between the industry and Michael Matheson, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, and he pays tribute to industry colleagues who helped him to press the industry’s case. In his role as Vice-Chair of CPT Scotland, Roberts asked Matheson to consider the contrasting levels of public funding for buses and the railways. He cited the example of Glasgow’s Queen Street station. “They’re getting a big conservatory put onto their house,” he says. “That’s £120m, but Queen Street station does the work of about 110 buses a year.” Scotland’s buses receive £52m a year via the Bus Service Operators Grant and “peppercorn bits here and there” on infrastructure. So the message to Matheson was that it’s not enough for government to say that it wants more people using buses - it needs real funding, backed up by culture change. “I asked for a billion and they came out with half a billion, fair enough,” he says. “It’s half a billion more than we were getting.” After years of citing a lack of money as an excuse for inaction, Roberts says that some councils have been left “slack-jawed” by the £500m that Matheson has put up for grabs. “This will flush out the local authorities that use the lack of money as an easy excuse to do nothing,” he says. “They’re going to have to say ‘we don’t want to do that because it’s not palatable’.” Roberts would like to see the money spent on a mixture of projects to reverse those productivity losses. He thinks it’s essential that the new funding delivers at least one or two “big bang schemes” akin to Glasgow’s £40m Fastlink project. But he thinks that the rest of the money should be spent on small organic interventions that allow buses to run more predictably. “It could be traffic light priority, realigning junctions, it could be a whole number of things on a corridor that allows the bus to chop five or 10 minutes off that 60-minute running time,” he says, “because that then starts affecting PVRs [Peak Vehicle Requirements] and that gets reinvested elsewhere, it can stave off cuts, all that kind of stuff.”

help improve air quality. But, at the same time, the Scottish Government has committed itself to slashing greenhouse gases by 75% by 2030 - a move that is likely to see pressure to switch to ‘zero carbon’ electric vehicles within the next decade. Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone was actually a Traffic Regulation Condition. This is because the powers that would enable an LEZ are awaiting the passage of the Transport (Scotland) Bill. The city’s bus operators have now persuaded the Traffic Commissioner that there is no longer a need for the TRC and that it could be detrimental to local bus services. The operators will meet the target of 40% Euro 6 compliance by the end of this year (McGill’s is already 52% Euro 6 compliant

Roberts admits to being in two minds about the Programme for Government’s commitment to begin “plans to reallocate road space on parts of the motorway network around Glasgow to high occupancy vehicles, such as buses”. Stagecoach has been pushing hard for this. McGill’s runs more buses than all other operators put together on the western motorway approach to Glasgow, so Roberts is therefore excited at the potential to improve the service to his customers - but he is concerned about the cost. “I’d like to see something to alleviate the worst of the excesses on the urban motorways around Glasgow, but I am realistic to know that anything to do with motorways just swallows up an outrageous amount of money,” he says. Roberts is also challenging “misplaced beliefs” in regard to policies directed at cleaning up buses. He says that the industry is currently under pressure to meet conflicting demands. Firstly, bus operators are being urged accelerate their investment in Euro 6 standard diesel buses to

“Sometimes I feel like I am railing at the moon, you know, and most bus companies are too quiet, they’re silent”

McGill’s has now taken delivery of 32 low floor Mellor Strata minibuses

McGill's has invested £1.2m in buses for its 38 service, linking Glasgow and Paisley

in Glasgow), but there will be no further requirement beyond that. He points out that getting to 40% Euro 6 compliance has already led to a huge improvement in air quality on Glasgow’s Hope Street - which he suspects was largely due to the city’s main bus operator removing “old boiler” Euro 3 buses. He says that base level emissions are now below breach levels. “We’re all keen to see this working in the bus industry,” he says. “We’re all keen to keep this going because if we can show that we’re doing it then car drivers are going to have to expect that they’re going to have to do it. If we fight it then they’ll fight it, so we are keen to do this. It’s just a bit of a dog’s dinner, the method they are using to get there.” In terms of transitioning to zero carbon vehicles, Roberts warns the Scottish Government against pushing the industry to achieve unsustainable rates of investment. “There are far too many things at play to just say, ‘Yeah we’re going to take on all this massive debt, and we’re going to make the buses all green’,” he says. “It’s not possible... Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Bus is part of the solution to all of this.” Transport Scotland’s Carbon Account for Transport document shows that buses accounted for just 4.5% of Scotland’s roadbased greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. Any attempt to tackle these emissions will be counterproductive if it destabilises the finances of local bus networks and pushes people towards the private car (responsible for 58.9% of road-based emissions in 2016). “Within five years we will be buying all electrics, once we nail all the infrastructure issues,” he says. “But we need a bit of time here... They’re trying to run too fast. They are like a bull at a gate all of a sudden. They need to just be careful and exercise a bit of wisdom and move to this intelligently in order not to break it. “We are dealing with a relatively fragile, slim [profit] margin industry and there’s only so much that you can put on the shoulders of that industry - but it’s part of the solution so it needs nurtured, and if we carefully do that there’s a very, very bright future for bus.”


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Something’s in the air for the bus industry Andrew Jarvis, MD for First Bus in Scotland, on driving change f the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of £500m of support for bus priority measures is not a signal of a step change in the thinking of politicians, then the reception of the world’s leaders in Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 Climate Change summit next year certainly will be. It is great to see bus finally being considered as a viable and sustainable solution to the current climate change emergency and at First Bus we are determined to play our part in driving change. As an industry we have a responsibility to educate and inform the elected representatives in our local communities about the importance of seizing the opportunity presented to us by the First Minister’s Programme for Government commitments. As a business, one of our main goals is to make bus part of the solution when it comes to improving air quality in the city. Cars are one of the biggest polluters with over 60% of the city’s emissions coming from them. We are keen to work in close partnership with Glasgow City Council (GCC) in delivering this Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) and we have been at the forefront to deliver the first two phases of the programme. First Glasgow has invested over £31m in the last two years with the introduction of 150 brand new Euro 6 ultra-low emission vehicles for Greater Glasgow to speed up the switch to low emission vehicles in support of Scotland’s first LEZ in Glasgow city centre. First Glasgow are on track to be 40% compliant with the city’s LEZ criteria by December 31, 2019. This has been achieved by a combination of our new vehicle investment and the more limited


LEFT: Joining young climate change campaigners from St Joseph’s Primary School. RIGHT: First Glasgow has invested over £31m in new buses over the last two years

Glasgow Airport Express service 500 has a fleet of 10 new ultra-low emission buses

retrofitting of Euro 5 vehicles to get them up to Euro 6 standard. First Glasgow acknowledge that it has a massive role to play to help deliver the full potential of public transport in Greater Glasgow. Bus priority lanes support the LEZ, but more needs to be done to reduce the free access by car to many highly congested parts of the city centre. To deliver a public transport system the city can be proud of, the key radial routes must have a much greater level of priority for public transport users to build in the reliability of journey time, along with improvements to the current sub10mph average speeds that people

currently endure. Enforcement of the existing bus priority measures are also badly needed. By working together with GCC and Transport Scotland we can make great strides forward in improving air quality not only in Glasgow, but in all of the areas we operate. We are committed to improving air quality through investment in new buses and the retro fitting of mid-life (2014 and older) vehicles. The average NOx emissions from a new Euro 6 bus is lower than the average emissions from a new Euro 6 car. And unlike cars, Euro 6 buses (and HGVs) deliver ultra-low emissions on

the road not just in the test lab. We therefore believe we should maximise investment in Euro 6 engines, which are the eco-friendliest buses available. First Bus have invested in the latest technology for their buses such as stop-start technology, and state-of-the-art systems to monitor speeding, braking and idling which can all have negative effects on the environment. We are still open to trialling new vehicles with alternative fuels/power sources - we have begun to introduce biogas, electric and hydrogen buses in several of our markets so we are ready to switch to alternative fuels/power sources when this starts to become affordable and operationally viable. First Glasgow will also take delivery in the coming months of two all-electric BYD/ADL buses and will become the first operator to roll out these vehicles on commercial routes in Glasgow. The electric buses are in partnership with Scottish Power Energy Networks and the same project deal sees the Glasgow Caledonia Depot being fitted with 22 EV charging points which starts to future proof the depot and means this technology can now be considered at the next round of new vehicle purchasing. Electric it seems is winning the battle to be the alternative fuel source of choice going forward, but there are cities such as Aberdeen exploring the Hydrogen route. Once again, we are working closely with the city council to deliver phase two of their hydrogen project that will see us operate 15 zero emission hydrogen double deckers across the city. As a responsible operator, we have a clear duty to explore all possible options and to take the necessary steps to future proofing our business.


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Stagecoach in Scotland Responsible. Sustainable. - High customer satisfaction - Smart ticketing - Millions invested annually in new buses - Delivering greener, smarter travel 00_Ad.indd 30

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An industry that really matters Stagecoach West Scotland’s new MD, Fiona Doherty is focusing on better engagement iona Doherty took charge of Ayrbased Stagecoach West Scotland in April. She has enjoyed settling in to a new company, and a new industry. Doherty has more than 28 years experience in the oil and gas, transport and logistics and manufacturing sectors for UK-wide and global corporations. Having begun her career as a technologist with BP Chemicals in 1990, she went on to hold a number of positions within the company before joining INEOS Manufacturing Ltd as Commercial Manager in 2006. She later took on the role of Head of Security Operations at BAA Glasgow Airport before being appointed Port Manager East Coast Scotland with Forth Ports Ltd in 2010. She admits that when she was approached about joining the bus industry it was not something she had previously considered. But a little research suggested to her that this opportunity could be a good fit for her. Stagecoach West Scotland carries around 27 million passengers a year. It has a fleet of around 400 buses and employs around 1,000 people. But it wasn’t just the scale of the business that attracted Doherty, it was the vital role that the business plays within society. “It was an opportunity to get involved in an industry which genuinely matters in people’s lives, whether they’re seeing family, getting to work, getting to the doctor, getting to the job centre,” she says. “I think it’s an industry that is underestimated in its importance.” She was excited by the potential to engage with people - including


employees, local authorities and other stakeholders - to drive the business forward and build a bigger role for buses. “I think we have to look outward a bit more and further grow our engagement with the local communities and the local authorities. Get that feeling that we’re part of the community, genuinely trying to make a difference by working together, while clearly understanding that we’re a commercial business,” she says, “I think we need to have more of that engagement and that’s a real focus for me. Doherty also sees potential to improve engagement with her company’s employees. “What’s impressed me is the passion that everybody has for the industry,” she says. “I have to say, from drivers, engineers, marketing team, and throughout the company, the team genuinely care, and I do think it’s because there’s that people element that’s so heavily embedded in what we do.” Doherty wants to tap into the deep well of knowledge and enthusiasm that lies within the company’s workforce. “We’ve got 800 drivers,” she says. “They are the front line, they are the customer-facing element of the business. We have to harness that. So for me that’s a priority over the next while - how do we get the best engagement to improve our customer experience and get feedback on the business?” She adds: “Whether we like it or not, we have lost passenger journeys. We are not as big a business as we used to be, that needs to change … I am confident that it will, but it’s not something that’s necessarily quick. Doherty’s plan is for herself

Fiona Doherty: ‘We have to look outward’

“What’s impressed me is the passion that everybody has for the industry” and her management team to get around each of the company’s depots once a quarter and talk to staff. This will be a challenge in a territory that stretches 100 miles, from Stranraer in the far south west of Scotland, across to Arran and up to Cumbernauld in the Central Belt. An additional forum for feedback and ideas from our teams is provided by Blink, the mobile intranet system that Stagecoach uses. Doherty wants to encourage use of this online portal. “You’ll never get everybody, but if you get more than you’ve got then you’re making progress,” she says. “For me it’s about creating a culture where the management team are approachable, where we listen and where we feed back … In all the jobs I’ve had, that’s been a real core value for me.” This feedback will help with the constant challenge of making sure that the company’s blend of rural, urban and inter-urban routes remains relevant. For rural services, where it’s a

challenge to maintain patronage and therefore profitability, Doherty wants to begin conversations with the local communities, the local authorities and the NHS about the most efficient use of resources. “There needs to be a thought as to how a commercial model could come together that tries to connect those various elements that ultimately delivers a better service to those areas,” she explains. Stagecoach West Scotland has successfully developed interurban services, and these could be further boosted now that the Scottish Government has announcement plans to consider giving them a priority lane on Glasgow’s motorways. Doherty is excited by the potential to offer faster and more reliable journeys, that offer an attractive proposition to people who currently drive their own car. “It’s so important that, if we genuinely believe that bus has to play a bigger part in how people travel, we have to make that a good experience for the customer,” she says. “In order to make it a good experience it can’t be stuck in traffic, so those priority lane runnings are just a tremendous opportunity to get that so much better and change some of those perceptions.” Doherty knows that it’s not enough to simply constrain car use. She and her colleagues must ensure that the public transport alternative is a good one. “You can’t force people to do something, they have to want to do it,” she. “It’s about making it attractive enough that people want to change how they are travelling because they see a benefit of it. “It should be about making bus use simpler, easier, reliable, dependable, affordable. All those key elements, it probably sounds simple, but it’s what will bring people onto the buses.” Doherty believes that engagement is the way to achieve this. “For me it’s about true collaboration between the company, the community, local authorities and businesses, because I think only with that will we unlock the potential of business,” she says. “Any one bit in isolation, is not enough.”


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TF Bus cos ride future 186x134 AD Jan18.qxp_Layout 1 10/01/2018 14:41 Page 1

Bus companies companies ride into the future... future... Bus L et pas s engers tell you how Let passengers to grow your ines s your bus business The companies The Bus Bus Passenger PassengerSurvey Survey(BPS) (BPS)gives gives companies detailed passenger feedback. detailedcomparable, comparable,benchmarked benchmarked passenger feedback. Our you understand andand apply Our expert expertadvisors advisorscan canhelp help you understand apply this business. this valuable valuableinsight insightacross acrossyour your business. David Focus’ s passenger David Sidebottom, Sidebottom,Transport Transport Focus's director director said: animp ortant totool ol forfor said:“Op erato rs tell s the su rveyisisan “Operators tell us uthe survey important iden tifying imp rovements, settin g objectives and deliverin identifying improvements, setting objectives and g better service for passen gers.” delivering better service for passengers.” By such as as First, By signing signingup upto tothe thesurvey, survey,companies companies such First, Go-Ahead, Stagecoach, Arriva and National Express West Stagecoach, Lothian Buses and Xplore Dundee have Midlands, have greatly improved passengerand experience greatly improved passenger experience journey and journey satisfaction. They haveimproved delivered improved satisfaction. They have delivered customer customer servicefor training for better drivers,ratings better for ratings for service training drivers, value value for money, and design features for new vehicles. for money, and design features for new buses.

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28/10/2019 12:43



A voice for Scotland’s bus users Transport Focus explains how it can provide a strong user-voice, informing government and bus operators early 8,000 passengers in Scotland took part in Transport Focus’ annual Bus Passenger Survey (2018), ranging from the Highlands to Dumfries and covering all cities. The survey shows overall passenger satisfaction at 91% - a better result than in England. Scotland took part thanks to funding from bus operators, Transport Scotland and the Regional Transport Partnerships. The results show that four out of five passengers (81%) are happy with punctuality, 88% are happy with journey time and 71% are satisfied with the value for money. The survey has been taking place since 2014 in Scotland and we have given a voice to almost 30,000 passengers during this period. This time the survey took place against the backdrop of the Transport (Scotland) Bill which recognises that bus services play a vital role for people and communities across Scotland. The Bill also looks at establishing Low Emission Zones. Improving air quality is at the centre of the Scottish Government’s action on transport and place-making. In the recent Programme for Government the Scottish Government investment of £500m to improve bus infrastructure across the country to encourage more people to use public transport. The Programme for Government pledges to bring forward a step change in investment to make bus services greener and more punctual and reliable, so that more people make the choice to take the bus. The potential for real change offered by both the Transport


88% very/ fairly satisfied


89% very/ fairly satisfied

94% very/ fairly satisfied

90% very/ fairly satisfied


47% 57%


Highlands (625)

91% very/ fairly satisfied

50% 63%

47% 41%

43% 37%


94% very/ fairly satisfied


North East (1,158)





South East (1,746)

Strathclyde (1,290)

South West (1,158)


Tayside and Central (1,292)

n Very satisfied n Fairly satisfied n Neither/nor n Fairly dissatisfied n Very dissatisfied Key findings in Scotland, by area Source: Bus Passenger Survey, Autumn 2018 report. Transport Focus

(Scotland) Bill and the Programme for Government must be complemented by a strong user-voice for passengers which Transport Focus can provide. The Bus Passenger Survey provides a benchmarking and measuring tool to inform both Government and bus operators on the deliverability of their measures. But we can go further. Our 2018 research Using the bus: what young people think set out five clear actions for the industry to improve services for this important audience and, in turn, convince them (14-19 years old) to be the long- term, loyal passengers of the future: They don’t feel services are designed with them in mind, or that enough is being done to encourage them and make them feel valued; Not knowing how the system works or what to do is a barrier and a

source of anxiety about ‘getting it right’; Improving the journey experience is important - young people notice poor quality provision; there is a need to design systems better, learning from other industries in the way they appeal to young people; fares for young people are confusing and inconsistent. Our current campaign ‘Give Bus a Go’ is looking at encouraging non-users to change to bus. People who use the bus love the bus! Almost nine out of ten bus users told the Transport Focus Bus Passenger Survey they were satisfied with their most recent journey. Research also indicates that around a fifth of car journeys could well be made by bus. Yet many people don’t view the bus as a transport mode of choice.

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Reducing barriers to bus travel is vital - to help more people choose bus and make buses a more attractive and sustainable choice. Existing bus passengers want more reliable, frequent services going to more places, simpler fares that are better value for money and more useful information. As the independent bus passenger watchdog, Transport Focus has chosen to work in-depth in the West Midlands. The region is bucking the national trend of falling passenger numbers. This is no accident the West Midlands has a large population, engaged local authorities and bus operators, and a dynamic regional Bus Alliance that Transport Focus chairs. Transport Focus is now launching a campaign to encourage many more people in the West Midlands to Give Bus A Go. The key aims of the campaign are: n Identify the barriers to bus as a mode of transport choice for people in the West Midlands; n Identify interventions to break down these barriers by concentrating on key passenger priorities – value for money, punctuality and more useful bus information; n Share the learning and emerging best practice gained to influence operators, local authorities and governments across England, Scotland and Wales to encourage more people to use bus. A strong user-voice for bus passengers can be both a critical friend for industry and government and provide assistance in making bus the choice for consumers.


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28/10/2019 11:19

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ABT soars with Flowbird Account Based Ticketing signals ‘tap & go’ revolution for operators and passengers ccount Based Ticketing (ABT) from Flowbird is helping transport operators and authorities to embrace the digital era and turn the vision of frictionless travel into reality. The company, one of the world’s leading urban mobility systems providers, has launched a new flexible Open Payments portfolio that helps operators to join the account based ticketing revolution at their own pace, making it easier, safer and quicker for their customers to access and pay for journeys. Flowbird’s Open Payments innovations enable bank cards and digital devices to be used as travel tokens, automatically assigning the most cost advantageous fares rules for every journey, irrespective of the journey complexity or transport method. It enables passengers simply to ‘tap and go’ using a validator - there’s no need to queue at sales points or manually select the journey and fare configurations. For operators, this convergence between ticketing and electronic banking improves operational efficiency, quickens boarding times, enhances the customer experience and also improves their financial security. Brian Carpenter, Sales and Marketing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence, said the Flowbird Open Payments portfolio will help to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the urban environment. He comments: “Open Payments is central to Account Based Ticketing and the inherent benefits this brings to users of


public transport and operators. Passengers no longer need to worry about selecting - or allowing time to buy - the type of ticket they need because when they ‘tap and go’, the back-office system works out the most cost-effective fare based on their travel over a set period of time. Settlement occurs automatically according to an agreed schedule set down by the operator.” The company has developed three Open Payments modules for the UK market to help operators find a solution best suited to their needs: A complete Flowbird ABT package, integrating Open Payments with

advanced ticketing technologies and sub-systems A dedicated turnkey Open Payments solution with validators, offering specific fares modules and sub-systems A stand-alone Open Payments module, compliant with scheme rules and certified by the transport operator’s acquirer, ready for integration with third party ticketing systems. Transport operators benefit from Flowbird’s open payments technology by shifting core ticketing and related functions to a secure cloud environment. This reduces reliance on local

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Edinburgh’s residents and visitors have quickly embraced ‘contactless and capped’

One million ‘taps’ per month... and counting

made a flying start in Scotland’s capital city, with ‘taps’ now averaging around one million per month. Nigel Serafini, Lothian’s Commercial Director says: “We are completely overwhelmed by how quickly Edinburgh’s residents and visitors have embraced this new

Lothian customers are ‘tapping’ their way around Edinburgh by the million. Scotland’s first ‘contactless and capped’ account based ticketing (ABT) system, developed by Flowbird, has

ticket issue, transaction and cash handling costs, and the associated infrastructure. This flexible and scalable approach to the management and control of data, network assets and systems, including ticket retailing infrastructures, is managed through the company’s CloudFare® modular back office architecture. Flowbird is also unique in the UK transport sector in offering the first PCI point-to-point encryption (P2PE) certified payment processing system in the UK alongside its market-leading ticketing expertise. This system encrypts data at point of tap and is the interface between the payment devices and satisfying the card scheme requirements of payment service providers (PSPs)/acquirers within the transit environment. The benefits of Flowbird ticketing are evident around the world, including Open Payments for Lothian in Edinburgh, where the introduction of Scotland’s first ‘contactless and capped’ fares system has seen number of ‘taps’ grow since launch to an average of around one million per month. payment method and we look forward to introducing the next phase of this project over the next few months.” Flowbird ABT means passengers simply board a bus and tap their bank card or mobile device on a validator – there’s no need to queue at a sales point, search for cash or even ‘tap off ’ at the end of the journey. The scheme caps the cost of multiple journeys made on the same day - for Lothian City buses after three or more taps the system automatically charges the user the best day ticket price. Brian Carpenter, Sales and Marketing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence, says: “We are delighted that so many people have embraced Flowbird ABT. To be recording around one million taps per month over such a short period of time since launch shows the power of frictionless travel and customer convenience.”


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28/10/2019 11:20

Tap in to faster boarding times Ticketer ETMs support multiple payment options, including Tap On / Tap Off, contactless, ITSO, mTickets and cash, making travel easy for your customers, and speeding up boarding times for you.

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Ticketer is working with a number of operators on TapOn/TapOff systems that feature a London-style cap on ticket prices

Ticketer’s focus on development Firm is delivering on its commitment to help operators get more people onboard the bus he pace of change across the public transport sector over the last decade has been breath-taking and nowhere more so than in the ticketing field. It was in September 2009 that a small group of entrepreneurs led by John Clarfelt registered a new company - Ticketer. Clarfelt, who has had a whole CV of different jobs in the past from butcher to barrister, was working in the mobile solutions area. It led him to have discussions with a number of bus operators. Talk always seemed to quickly turn to ticket machines and he learnt that many within the industry “weren’t exactly head over heels” with their systems. The very first Ticketer customer was Kentish independent bus operator Nu-Venture, one of several smaller operators in the county that were supplied with the very first Ticketer machines.


Since then the company has grown continually. The first major contract was with Reading Buses and since then it has become the ticketing system of choice for many operators, from the smallest independents to three of the ‘Big Five’ transport groups – Arriva, Go-Ahead and First Bus. In total there are now over 500 companies benefitting from the Ticketer system and the pace of growth has been such that while it took eight years for Ticketer machines to issue their first billion tickets, it only took a further 12 months to issue the second billion. The capabilities of the system have also been steadily enhanced but still retain the basic fundamentals that won the company tremendous loyalty – namely putting the customer’s needs at the centre of everything Ticketer does. The system is priced to be affordable for smaller

operators while deployment of the system is undertaken “over the air”. Every customer also has access to the very latest features. “That’s a massive difference to the way ticketing machines were managed when we came into the sector,” adds Clarfelt. “We want it to be so simple on the surface that anybody can use the system, but to do that it is immensely complex from our point of view. I don’t want customers to know about that complexity, the day that customers have to know about that complexity is the day we fail. Our job is to make it simple and allow our customers to get on with the really hard stuff.” The company is also helping bus operators move from cashdominated transactions to other forms of payment, for example smartcards, contactless card payments and mobile tickets. It is also working with a number of operators on TapOn/TapOff

(TOTO) systems that feature a London-style cap on ticket prices. That move to enhance the experience for bus users has also expanded with the launch of Kazoot – a multi-operator app for passengers that aims to harness the power of the Ticketer system. The app, which has been designed by Ticketer in-house, includes a range of features designed to make it easier for customers to get to their destinations, including detailed route information, live arrival times, the ability to find the nearest bus stop and even the ability to view buses moving all over the country in real-time. It will also support the retail of mTickets for every operator, whether on Ticketer or competitor ETMs, who wants to use it as a retail channel. Clarfelt believes Kazoot will once again help to remove barriers to public transport. “Instead of needing multiple apps running in order to access all the various options, users now just need to download Kazoot for everything they need,” he explains. “Kazoot is the multi-operator app that gives operators all the benefits typically associated with a dedicated app. It is an exciting new tool that enables them to work together to collectively compete against other forms of transport by demonstrating that bus travel can be accessible, visible and convenient whilst retaining access to the ticket sales and customer data they would expect through their own app.” Kazoot has also been designed with the continuous improvement that has become the hallmark of Ticketer. Meanwhile, all Ticketer operators, large and small, with or without their own existing app, can join Kazoot as part of the company’s commitment to help boost bus use. While it has been designed for multi-operator applications, operators will still be able to retail their own ticket range through Kazoot. The app was launched at the Coach & Bus UK show in Birmingham last month, but it is already winning plaudits. Indeed, Kazoot was named as a Gold Award winner at the first ever Coach & Bus UK Innovation Challenge.


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28/10/2019 11:21

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Celebrating a 10-year milestone Joe Tuohy, Commercial Director of Portland, on fuel prices and a decade of supporting Scotland’s bus and coach industry could include buying in bulk, IBC or drum barrels; negotiating an on-site tank installation with your bulk supplier, or having a fixed-price agreement on your AdBlue® supply. We can help with all these options to help bus and coach operators manage their AdBlue® spend better.

oe has been in the fuel industry for over 15 years and is a regular attendee at CPT Scotland conferences. He is also been with Portland from the start and this year celebrates his own 10 year milestone, alongside the company.


we look forward to Q Joe, welcoming you back the annual conference in Scotland this year. What will be your key message for delegates attending? is a special year as it A This marks 10 years for Portland supporting Scotland’s bus and coach industry. As the market and industry has evolved so have our services, but our ethos of offering unique and flexible solutions that transform the way companies buy fuel has firmly remained. In the last 10 years we have continued to build on our fixed-price fuel to both hedging and fuel card customers; became a VDA-approved AdBlue® supplier; introduced an online fuel pricing platform that takes complex oil trading data and simplifies into simple, actionable insight for UK companies; and most recently we have launched our new Portland Green division, which aims to bring renewable, alternative and sustainable fuel solutions to the market. CPT has always been a great supporter of Portland services as well as a great source of guidance and information for the industry. We are delighted to be back again. You mentioned fuel hedging, what advice would you give to the industry? How far forward should they do it? And is there a ‘best’ time of


What are your thoughts on oil prices long-term? Energy demand will A continue to go up, but by then we will be seeing some real game changers in the oil world the number of electric cars, for example. Plus we may start to see environmental legislation ratcheting up as governments see fossil fuel taxation as a vote winner, rather than a vote loser. In this set of circumstances, oil consumption may significantly decline. However, prices will continue to be driven by supply and demand and whenever those two factors go out of kilter, then you will see price volatility.


CPT has been a great supporter of Portland services. We are delighted to be back

year to hedge? fuel is like taking A Hedging out a fixed rate mortgage. When you take out the mortgage, you don’t know whether this will be a good or bad interest rate in the long-term. But you do it because you know how much you can afford each month and that is the amount you want to lock away. Hedging fuel is the same. If Portland gives you a fixed price for the next 12 months, I can’t tell you whether that is going to be a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ price - but it is ‘the’ price and it’s not going to change. In terms of hedge duration, the Big Five often look for longer hedges (three to five years), but we tend to recommend 12-month fixed prices. Finally, the best time to hedge is when you want to set your budget - whenever that may be.

their vehicles and more vehicles are now equipped with AdBlue® using SCR systems in the exhaust. Therefore, AdBlue® helps diesel vehicles fitted with SCR technology to operate within LEZ zones. Scotland has already launched the bus emissions abatement retrofit (BEAR) programme that allows up to £25K per vehicle to retrofit technologies such as SCR units - this should help update older passenger transport vehicles before the 2022 deadline. Will we see AdBlue® prices increasing over time as we see more buses on the road fitted with SCR technology? Service Vehicle A Public operators are already using AdBlue® and as consumption increases, we can provide options to better manage AdBlue® spend. Usage for large road vehicles is around 4-6% of diesel consumption, so it doesn’t take long to calculate that over the course of a year, a variable cost like AdBlue® could impact profitability if not managed properly. Improving how you buy AdBlue®


What is AdBlue® and why do we need it? Since 2005, legislation on A diesel vehicles in the UK & Ireland, and in the rest of Europe demands a drastic reduction of NOx emissions. Vehicle manufacturers have had to re-think the exhaust system on


Finally, we couldn’t let you go without asking about Brexit and impact on fuel prices. What would be your advice to the industry on how to best manage their fuel spend? there still remains A Clearly huge gaps in our knowledge of how Brexit will pan out and in particular the impacts of a no-deal Brexit. Fuel supplies won’t be affected and only a prolonged period of panic buying could change that. Prices on the other hand could significantly be affected, be that a function of exchange rate movements, tariffs or increases in freight rates. Who knows what will happen, but if you are worried, then you should be talking to Portland!



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Voice for bus & coach

cpt conference 2019

Conference Workbook 44th annual CPT Conference November 4-5, 2019 The Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews Partners

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Voice for bus & coach

cpt conference 2019

A Voice for Bus and Coach Welcome to the CPT Conference - a chance to come together and debate ideas hank you for joining us at the 44th annual CPT Scottish Conference. This year sees a change of venue as we move our event to the Fairmont Hotel, St. Andrews, for the first time. This relocation is no reflection on the quality of past venues, rather testament to the continuing growth of our event. The Fairmont Hotel has a larger capacity as well as dedicated conference facilities, allowing us greater scope for break out events and more room for our sponsors and partners to exhibit. I am confident that the Fairmont and St Andrews will be the perfect backdrop to what should be two enjoyable and informative days. Last year’s Conference saw the industry gearing up for the Transport (Scotland) Bill and considering the government’s


for the coming decade, while the PfG announcement provides the capital for improved bus infrastructure. The PfG announcement suggests our voice is being heard by national government but how do we build on this, engaging with local authorities to form better bus partnerships, co-operating with stakeholders to promote sustainable and active travel, and strengthening our relationships with customers old and new. We are delighted that we will once again be joined by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Mathieson, to open our Monday Business session and give the Government perspective. We then have a programme of excellent speakers to inform our discussions on a range of topics with an emphasis of how bus and coach engage with

climate change agenda - preparing for the challenges and identifying the opportunities. The mood was noticeably buoyant as the clear potential for bus and coach to enable government objectives became a thread through both days’ business sessions. We asked the question what if we ‘Build on Bus’ by placing it at the core of the government’s vision for a green, sustainable Scotland? The announcement of a £500m Bus Partnership Fund within this year’s Programme for Government (PfG) is the first step towards answering it. This year’s conference theme ‘A Voice for Bus and Coach’ is designed to consider what happens next. We have in the forthcoming Transport (Scotland) Act, National Transport Strategy and Scottish Transport Projects Review the basis for a stable policy framework and strategy

both people and place. I’m sure Conference will once again be a useful opportunity to come together as an industry and to debate the ideas that will shape our actions in the coming years. I look forward to seeing you over the two days.

Paul White, Director, CPT UK, Scotland

The Fairmont Hotel has a larger capacity as well as dedicated conference facilities, allowing more room for our sponsors and partners to exhibit 43

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for bus & coach

cpt conference 2019

Our line-up of speakers Expert views on the future challenges and opportunities for the bus industry

operators. Also, alongside Leeds City Council, Helen is delivering the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme, which is working to transform key bus corridors and Leeds City Centre to support increasing bus patronage and improving the environment for active travel and public transport users. RAL PH ROBE RTS


Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. Michael Matheson was born in Glasgow and educated at St John Bosco Secondary School. He went on to study at Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh, where he obtained a BSc in Occupational Therapy. He also holds a BA and a Diploma in Applied Social Sciences from the Open University. Prior to becoming an MSP, Michael practised as a Community Occupational Therapist. He was elected as the MSP for Falkirk West following the May 2007 elections. Prior to that he was a Regional MSP for Central Scotland from 1999 to 2007. Before being appointed Minister for Public Health and Sport, Michael was Vice Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee. He also sat on the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee, and previously served on the Justice and Enterprise and Culture Committees. Michael was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Justice in November 2014 and reappointed in May 2016. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in June 2018. S I R P E T E R H E NDY CBE

Network Rail Sir Peter Hendy has been the Chair of Network Rail since July 2015. He started his transport career in 1975 as a London Transport

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland – the country’s largest and most influential directmember business organisation. Barry’s career has predominantly focused on local and national economic development across the public, private and third sectors, having previously advised think tanks, quangos and economic development bodies.

graduate trainee. It led him to the role of Managing Director of CentreWest London Buses, Deputy Director UK Bus for FirstGroup, and from 2001 Transport for London’s (TfL) Managing Director of Surface Transport. In 2006 he was appointed Commissioner of Transport for London, a position where he led, and played a key role in preparing for and the successful operation of London’s transport for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sir Peter is the International President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport for 2019. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List, having been made CBE in 2006.


Scottish Environment Protection Agency Dr Colin Gillespie has worked on air pollution for over 20 years, starting his career on an EU-wide research programme assessing the environmental impacts of man-made atmospheric pollutants. He has been with SEPA since 2012 and was instrumental in developing the Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy. Colin now leads on delivering the National Modelling Framework, working with local authorities to co-ordinate the modelling evidence provided by SEPA to inform the implementation of Low Emission Zones.


Sustrans Scotland Grace Martin leads the senior team of staff delivering across all behaviour change, network development and infrastructure programmes in Scotland to make it easier for people to walk and cycle. She also works on developing the vision and overall strategic level direction for Sustrans Scotland. Through her work, she builds relationships with both current and potential partners to maintain and diversify programme delivery, Sustrans project portfolio and sources of funding.


West Yorkshire Combined Authority Helen Ellerton is West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Head of Bus Policy. She works closely with the bus operators and has championed the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, a Voluntary Partnership between the Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Districts and the


Federation of Small Businesses Barry McCulloch is the Senior Policy Advisor for the

McGill’s Ralph Roberts is Managing Director of McGill’s. He joined the company in April 2010 from Arriva, where he was latterly Managing Director of Arriva Scotland West. He has led McGill’s from being a 140 employee company to one that employs almost 1,000. Ralph is a past Chairman of Freight Transport Association Scotland, the Confederation of Passenger Transport in Scotland, the VOSA (DVSA) operator liaison group and Gourock Community Council. He is currently a Director of Traveline Scotland and Chairs the Scottish Integrated Ticketing steering group on behalf of public transport operators and Scottish government. RAY STENNIN G

Best Impressions Ray Stenning is well-known in the public transport world. He is colourful, charismatic, outspoken, a bit outrageous and rather unconventional. You probably wouldn’t want to take him home to meet your mother. Ray is the leading light behind the London-based creative design, marketing and advertising agency Best Impressions. For over 30 years Best Impressions has been raising the bar and changing how public transport is presented, perceived and sold. Ray’s team of dedicated designers and account handlers all believe in public transport and are passionate about good design. They are committed to turning out work of the highest calibre, and certainly never afraid to tell the client when they are wrong!


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Go North East Martijn Gilbert is Managing Director of Go North East, operating over 1,000 vehicles with 3,000 employees across operations in the North East of England and a subsidiary company, East Yorkshire. Prior to joining the Go-Ahead subsidiary last year, Martijn spent nearly four years as the Chief Executive of Reading Buses, an operation famed for a number of industry innovations and best practice. He also spent seven years working for Arriva in both its bus and rail divisions, following six years in the independent bus and coach sector.

Confederation of Passenger Transport Paul White took over as Director, Scotland at the Confederation of Passenger Transport in July. He succeeded George Mair, who remains with CPT Scotland as Development Manager on a part-time basis. In his previous position of Deputy Director CPT Scotland, Paul was instrumental in shaping CPT Scotland’s response to the Transport (Scotland) Bill and spearheading efforts to reform retrofit funding to the benefit of coach and bus operators.


Transport Focus David Sidebottom was appointed Transport Focus’s Director in June 2011. He initially started working at Transport Focus in January 2006 as a Passenger Link Manager before being promoted to the post of Bus Passenger Director in January 2010. David was responsible for the planning and delivery of Transport Focus’s new bus, coach and tram passenger representation duties. Prior to this, he spent over 11 years representing the needs and interests of energy consumers in the North West of England as Regional Director of energywatch. CL A I R E G I LM O R E

Traffic Commissioner for Scotland Claire Gilmore is a solicitor who has specialised in litigation for most of her career. Prior to taking up the role of Senior Investigating Officer, Claire worked primarily in government legal services where she developed particular expertise in regulatory litigation. Claire was the Senior Investigating Officer in the Office of the Ethical Standards Commissioner in Scotland until her appointment as Traffic Commissioner earlier this year.




Pre-Conference Vehicle Displays / Driving – Hotel car park 1200-1300

Delegate Registration – Atrium 1300-1415

Lunch – Squire Restaurant 14 30-15 4 5

Business session (Part 1) – Robert Louis Stevenson Michael Matheson msp – Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Sir Peter Hendy cbe – Chair, Network Rail


Confederation of Passenger Transport Graham Vidler joined CPT as Chief Executive in May 2019. Previously Graham worked in a wide variety of roles in financial services, most recently as Director of External Affairs for the workplace pensions trade body, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association. He has also worked as a parliamentary researcher, led the policy team at Which? and, as Director of Communications, was a member of the start-up team which created the UK’s largest pension scheme, NEST.

15 45 -16 15

Tea & Coffee 16 15-1730

Business session (Part 2) – Robert Louis Stevenson Placemaking Panel Session Chaired by Damien Henderson Grace Martin – Sustrans Barry McCulloch – FSB; Dr Colin Gillespie – SEPA Helen Ellerton – West Yorkshire Combined Authority Ralph Roberts – McGill's 1915-2000

Drinks reception (Dress: black tie) – Atrium 2000-2300

CPT Banquet (Dress: black tie) – Robert Burns Ballroom TUES 5TH NOV


Exploration Architecture Michael Pawlyn has been described as a pioneer of regenerative design and biomimicry. He established his firm Exploration Architecture in 2007 to focus on high performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy. The company has developed a ground-breaking office project, an ultra-low energy data centre, a zero waste textiles factory and progressive solutions for green cities. Prior to setting up Exploration Michael worked with Grimshaw for 10 years and was central to the team that designed the Eden Project in Cornwall.


Arrival Tea & Coffee, Delegate Registration – Atrium 1000-1120

Business session (Part 3) – Robert Louis Stevenson Ray Stenning – Design Director, Best Impressions Martijn Gilbert – Managing Director, Go North East David Sidebottom – Passenger Director, Transport Focus 1130-1200

Tea & Coffee 1200-1330

Business session (Part 4) – Robert Louis Stevenson Claire Gilmore – Traffic Commissioner for Scotland Paul White & Graham Vidler – CPT UK Michael Pawlyn – Director, Exploration Architecture 1330-1415

Lunch – Squire Restaurant


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for bus & coach

cpt conference 2019

Our exhibitors Learn more about the companies and organisations exhibiting this year Lazzerini is qualified to ISO 9001, ISO TS16949 automotive standard and also the environmental qualification ISO14001. ■


Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) is part of leading independent global bus manufacturer NFI Group. ADL is a global leader in the design and manufacture of double deck buses and is also the UK’s largest bus and coach manufacturer. The company employs over 2,600 people worldwide and has more than tripled its revenue in the last ten years, with an increasing proportion resulting from an expanding international footprint. This growth is attributable to ADL’s strategic focus - delivering lightweight, fuel efficient vehicles with industry-leading reliability, lowest cost of ownership and world class aftermarket support. ■


Bridge Systems’ experience in the installation and maintenance of Real Time Passenger Information Systems (RTPI) has been carried out in partnership with various RTPI manufacturers and suppliers. Bridge Systems presently maintains several large RTPI networks which are based on the MPT 1327 Trunked Radio protocol throughout the UK for organisations such as City of Edinburgh Council, FirstGroup and Lothian Buses. ■

The IRTE is a professional sector of the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE), and one of the most respected names in UK transport. IRTE supports transport engineers throughout their careers and encourages high standards, with an emphasis on safety and best practice.

With over three decades of bus industry experience, EPM are the leading provider of

Pelican are the UK and Irish importer for Yutong, and are celebrating 100 years of business in 2019. We have been importing Yutong for five years now, and have over 500 vehicles in service and on order. We offer exceptional sales and aftermarket support to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland. ■

specialist integrated transport software, BSOG certification and concessionary fares consultancy. With a keen eye for detail and accuracy, we provide an unrivalled and unique service for clients who are looking for support and guidance in achieving best practice in the transport industry. Highly regarded as the ‘go-to’ company in the bus industry, our flexible products and scalable services can be tailored to best suit a client’s needs. ■




Alexander Dennis will be exhibiting Prevent Breast Cancer’s bright pink ‘BooBee Bus’


Ticketer is the UK’s largest ETM supplier outside London, with ticketing machines on buses across the UK, from Cornwall to the Hebrides. And it’s not just buses. In fact, there are Ticketer software and devices on every form of public transport. Whatever the size of fleet, whatever the form of public transport, we’re by the side of operators, keeping their businesses moving forward through our innovative public transportation technology. ■


Scania is a major supplier of heavy trucks, buses, coaches and engines. Within the UK, Scania dealers offer sales of new and used vehicles and, through a nationwide network of 86 service points, provide a wide range of services to support transport operators. Scania’s vision is to be the leading provider of sustainable transport. In addition to developing low-impact products, this means integrating sustainable practices and processes fully into the business and working with others to tackle impacts, transform our industry and create lasting value. ■


Volvo Buses is one of the world’s leading brands of buses and coaches. We are driven by a passion to help create the cities of the future, free from congestion, emissions and noise. Our mission is to help operators and communities offer people safe, clean and efficient transportation to and from work, around the city or across the continent. We do so by striving to be the ultimate provider of sustainable transport solutions. ■


Lazzerini is a national and international reference point for the design, development and production of seats for buses, school buses, trains, ships, cars and specialist automotive sectors. Committed to the most stringent and recognised qualifications,


Ticketer will reveal some of its latest developments, including the Kazoot app

ZF Services UK, is responsible for both OEM and Aftermarket technical, fitment, sales and marketing support for all ZF products in the UK & Ireland. ■


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Media partners transporttimes


The Need for a National Bus Strategy What can our buses do for our country?

Confirmed Speakers

The 6th annual UK Bus Summit will take place in London on 6th February 2020. The UK Bus Summit is the premier bus event covering all parts of the UK. Held right at the heart of Westminster to elevate the importance of bus at the centre of local and national decision making, the event allows the opportunity to compare and contrast bus policy throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Buses Minister, DfT

Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair, Transport Select Committee

The day will be kicked off with speeches and a panel discussion from both key decision makers from around the UK as well as the voice of the bus and coach industry CPT on the investment case for the bus and why we need a bus strategy. Other themes that will take a focus include, The Prime Minister’s vision for the bus, the role of the bus in achieving clean growth and net zero, and finally how to make the most of the Bus Services Act.

David Brown, Chief Executive, Go-Ahead

Additional speakers include: • Mark Threapleton, Chief Operations Officer, Stagecoach • Gareth Powell, Managing Director – Surface Transport, TfL • Graham Vidler, Chief Executive, CPT

Stephen Fidler, Director of Local Transport, DfT

• Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys • Gerard Whelan, Director, Corporate Finance, Government and Infrastructure, KPMG • Andy Eastlake, Managing Director, LowCVP • Prof. David Begg, Chief Executive, Transport Times

For more information please visit or call 0207 828 3804

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Supported by

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Entries will be accepted online at: until 14th February 2020

Now in its 18th year the Scottish Transport Awards, supported by the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland, continues to recognise excellence in transport and reward innovation and progress for transport initiatives which are really working across the nation. The awards are free to enter and the judges welcome any updates to projects submitted in previous years. Roy Brannen, Chief Executive, Transport Scotland said: These Awards are a great opportunity to recognise the contribution by our professionals in improving and enhancing Scotland’s transport networks. Everyday Transport Scotland sees the effort, collaboration and results from everyone involved in providing a successful journey for Scotland’s travelling public. NOMINATIONS ARE BEING ACCEPTED IN THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES Best Bus Service / Most Effective Road Safety, Traffic Management & Enforcement Project / Best Practice in Travel to School and Work Schemes / Excellence in Walking, Public Realm and Cycling / Most Innovative Transport Project / Contribution to Sustainable Transport / Airport of the Year / Road/Rail Contractor of the Year / Excellence in Technology & Innovation / Transport Team/Partnership of the Year / Excellence in Travel Information and Marketing / The Public Transport Operator of the Year / Frontline Employee of the Year / Excellence in Transport Accessibility Winners will be announced at the Scottish Transport Awards ceremony which will take place on 11th June 2020 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow. As with previous years we will also host the Scottish Transport Summit on the same day.

Supported by:

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