Norman Baker rocks up to industry awards gala night

first_imgFormer Government Home Office Minister Norman Baker proved he had quickly put his spat with Home Secretary Theresa May behind him as he swapped his ministerial duties forfronting his rock band The Reform Club at the routeoneOperator Excellence Awards on Wednesday night (5 November).Mr Baker, the MP for Lewes, and a former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, led his quintetthrough a rousing set of 50s and 60s covers and self-penned numbers, including the band’s single Piccadilly Circus,as well as a few tracks from their 2013 debut album ‘Always Tomorrow’,during a surprise appearance at the gala night.Video Player error: Format(s) not supported or source(s) not foundDownload File: Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Watch Norman Bakerperformhis single Piccadilly Circus at theRoute One Awards nightMr Baker was in the news after resigning his post at the Home Office, citing irreconcilable difference with his boss, the Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May.In his resignation letter to Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, Liberal Democrat Mr Baker said it had “been particularly challenging being the only Lib Dem in the Home Office”.“I see a newspaper the other day likened [it]to being the only hippy at an Iron Maiden concert,” he wrote.Mr Baker, formerly Minister for Transport, continued: “In stark contrast to the Department for Transport, I regret that in the Home Office, the goodwill to work collegiately to take forward rational evidence-based policy has been in somewhat short supply.“I have concluded, therefore, that for the time being at least, my time is better spent out of ministerial office.”Mr Baker was a popular minister with thetransport industry, and had attendedNEC showsin an official categoryon threeprevious years. He remains popular in the bus and coach industry and was clearly thrilled to be able to perform at the routeoneAwards just one day after he left The Home Office.The set by The Reform Club topped off a fantastic night for the bus and coach world as teams, individuals and companies were recognised for their excellence at the prestigious awards. Held at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole, over 790 industry people were there to watch Mr Baker’s band perform at the sold out awards dinner. The event was hosted by comedian Tim Vine,winner of the award for best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010 and 2014*,and BBC Breakfast TV business presenter Stephanie McGovern.Group Director Mark Griffin at Diversified Communications, publishers of routeonesaid, “It was a real pleasure to host Norman and his band. I have to admit to being slightly nervy when I saw the news of his resignation on Monday night, just before EBE opened. He clearly enjoyed the evening, saying that it was a really great way to share his passion for music as he was backamongst his many genuine friends and colleagues in the transport industry. He did not disappoint and it was a night I’ll never forget.”Comedian Tim Vine thrilled the audience with his quick-fire one-linersNow firmly established as the industry’s premier awards, the routeoneOperator Excellence Awards recognise operators and people in the industry who have made a real difference to a company’s operations and business.Amongst the operator awards on the night were wins for Anthony’s Travel in the Small Coach Operator of the Year category, The Kings Ferry for the Large Coach Operator of the Year and Stagecoach in Northamptonshire as Large Bus Operator of the Year. Passenger Plus of Ashford wasrecognised in theExcellence in Minibus Operation sector.For individuals David Heptinstall, of Stagecoach Midlands, was selected as Engineer of the Year, large operator.Helen Jeacock, Head of Operations, Stewarts Coaches took theManager of the Year, small and medium operator plaudits. And First Aberdeen Director Joe Mackie was the eighth recipient of the prestigious routeoneIndustry Special Award.All 16winners had been selected after a rigorous judging process that started with written submissions in May, to enable the panel of independent judges to determine the shortlists. These finalists are then invited to submit detailed supplementary information before the final decisions on the winners were made.Shortlisting of the finalists followed in June/July, and the final judging took place in August.In the event of the judges needing further evidence, they arrange to either visit or interview finalists.*Vine claimed the prize this year with the quip: “I’ve decided to sell my Hoover … well, it was just collecting dust.”Click on the logo to view the 2014 awards winnerslast_img read more

Steve Whiteway to drive the last Epsom coach

first_imgA moving ‘industry friends farewell’ event was held at Epsom Coaches’ Passenger Departure Lounge at its depot in Roy Richmond Way.Closure of beloved operation brings ‘very few job losses’MD Steve Whiteway, who retires after 37 years’ service, said at the event that he plans to drive the coach home to Epsom after its last tour to Torquay at the end of June.In a speech to an audience of industry suppliers, coach operators from all over the UK, hoteliers, and representatives from the Confederation of Passenger Transport and the Coach Tourism Association, Mr Whiteway recalled the 97-year history of one of the most iconic and award-winning coach brands in the UK.Founded in 1920, the company grew very rapidly by providing charabancs and horse-drawn transport for the famous local racing industry.As it closes, the company operates tours to more than 80 destinations across the UK, and 22 European destinations.Mr Whiteway said there would be very few job losses as a result of the closure, and he was delighted that Gardiners NMC, with its head office in Morpeth, has secured the future of Epsom’s coach holidays and its day excursion programme.While the Epsom Coach name will be no more, Gardiners will open an office in Epsom, run by Epsom staff Melanie Cox and Alistair Scott.last_img read more

Arundel Castle hosts group-friendly events

first_imgArundel Castle in West Sussex is celebrating its 950th anniversary this year, and has announced a calendar of 13 events that it says are perfect for groups.Arundel’s lovely gardens are worth exploring by groupsIts Normans and Crusaders event opens the season over the Easter weekend (31 March-2 April).It’s set within a tented encampment on the American lawns, giving visitors a glimpse into life in the 12th century, with combat and falconry displays and have-a-go archery.The Jousting & Medieval Tournament on 24-29 July is Arundel Castle’s flagship event, and 2018 is its 10th anniversary. Some of the specially-trained horses have appeared in Peaky Blinders and Poldark.For groups of history enthusiasts, 12,000 Years of Combat on 25-27 August sees time-travelling combat displays from the Stone Age to the Victorian era.The gardens are beautiful, and the annual Tulip Festival takes place in April, showcasing 70,000 brightly-coloured bulbs.The Castle does discounts for groups plus free admission for group organisers, tour guides and coach drivers – plus a meal voucher for the driver and free coach parking.Castle Manager Stephen Manion says: “2018 is a massive year for Arundel Castle.“With this in mind we’ve pulled out all the stops to host events catering to families, history buffs, green fingered garden fans and everyone in between.”[blob] Visit arundelcastle.orglast_img read more

Tom Bridge leaves Stagecoach

first_imgTom Bridge, Managing Director of Stagecoach West Scotland, has left the company – after 19 years – for a new, yet-to-be-disclosed position at another operator.Tom says: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Stagecoach and have been lucky to work with fantastic teams of people over the years. I would like to wish my colleagues across the business all the best for the future as I look forward to new challenges.”Stagecoach has started a recruitment process for a new MD of its West Scotland business. In the interim, the business will be overseen by Sam Greer, UK Bus Engineering Director.Tom joined Stagecoach on its graduate training programme in 1999 and has since held several operational management roles with the company during his early Stagecoach career, having worked for Stagecoach in Newcastle, Oxford, Hastings, Canterbury and Herne Bay before being appointed Operations Director of Stagecoach South in August 2010. In 2014 he was appointed Managing Director, Stagecoach West Scotland.Robert Andrew, MD Stagecoach UK Bus – Scotland, says: “We are grateful for his efforts over the years and we wish him well in the next stage of his career.”last_img read more

Lucketts offers £300 bonus to attract new drivers

first_imgLucketts Group is offering a £300 bonus for new drivers joining the company, as it launches a major recruitment drive.The company says it has seen significant growth over the last year and needs more drivers to meet rising demand. All new drivers who join by 7 June will get the bonus.In recent months it has added 17 vehicles to its fleet, and turnover has increased following organic growth and the acquisition of other coach companies.Managing Director Tony Lawman says: “We saw a significant rise in demand for our services last summer and we’re expecting this to grow even more in 2019.“There’s a particularly high demand for UK day trips and holidays, with the strength of the pound and Brexit uncertainty pushing up the number of people ‘staycationing’ with us.“What’s important is we have enough drivers to continue to deliver an impeccable service, no matter how high the demand.”last_img read more

Welsh Government will legislate for franchising

first_imgBill ‘will seek to reverse negative impacts of deregulation’ through enabling public control of servicesThe Welsh Government (WG) has announced that it will introduce a Public Transport Bill to enable local authorities (LAs) to franchise or run bus services directly.It will “seek to reverse some of the negative impacts of bus deregulation,” says the WG. The Bill is an integral part of ministers’ ambition to create an integrated public transport network in Wales.Stinging rebukeIn a stinging rebuke of the privatised industry, First Minister Mark Drakeford claims that the problems with bus services “lie in the denial of powers to LAs to be able to act purposefully in the public interest.”Continuing a bizarre attack, Mr Drakeford also says that “the vast majority of revenue” received by bus operators in Wales comes directly from the public purse, and that it should be used in the public interest.“That’s what our Bill will secure… alongside the other things that we are already doing: Extending subsidised bus travel for young people and paving the way for the future of services by having demand-responsive services operating in parts of Wales.”The First Minister adds that one of his hopes for the Bill will be to remove “wasteful” competition on routes where more than one company operates. That has compromised LAs’ abilities to support non-commercial services.Regional deliveryMr Drakeford says the Bill will give LAs powers to provide planned bus services. There will not be a common approach; the strategies adopted will be different depending on the region of Wales they are enacted in. “In our proposals for bus transport… we will bring together a set of proposals to support the regional development and delivery of services.”Bus Users UK cautiously welcomed the news, but it points out that funding cuts across Wales have seen services “devastated” in some communities. There is no suggestion where the money to pay for franchising or operation of services by LAs will come from.last_img read more

‘National coach network’ talks with DfT over December demand

first_imgCoaches are set to play a part in the transport operation to enable homeward travel for many during December. Operators of scheduled services and other providers alike are providing additional capacity and National Express is liaising with the Department for Transport to ensure that what it calls a “national coach network” is provided during the month, although its overall provision will still be a fraction of pre-pandemic levels.National Express has added to an already-announced move that will capitalise on the early December student exodus by complementing that work with a further service uplift later in the month. It anticipates that as movement restrictions in England are relaxed, demand for travel will increase.‘National coach network’ requirements discussed with DfT, says NatExNational Express UK Coach Managing Director Chris Hardy says that all such decisions are made in consultation with DfT “regarding the requirement for a national coach network to keep the country moving safely.” DfT’s ongoing refusal to accept coach travel as essential is a major point of contention for the wider industry.A National Express spokesperson has clarified that no subsidy will be provided towards additional service provision in December. The company is liaising with DfT is “to ensure that we are appropriately supporting the government response to coronavirus COVID-19.”Others contribute to coach travel provision in DecemberMeanwhile, Transport2 is making available vehicles, including coaches and minibuses, to assist with homeward travel for students between 3-9 December. They will come from the company’s over 400 partner operators. All necessary precautions will be in place, Transport2 says. Conveying international students to airports is part of that work.Also helping international students return home will be Oxford Bus Company (OBC). Its Airline coach service will be return to Gatwick from 28 November. Also, the number of departures to Heathrow will be increased. OBC says it has worked with Oxford University and Oxford Brookes to identify times of high student demand as part of its planning process.last_img read more

Judge to hear bid to block Indiana abortion procedure ban

first_img WhatsApp Google+ By Associated Press – June 3, 2019 0 295 Previous articleSilver Alert for 44-year-old South Bend woman cancelledNext articleJudge considering plea deal in Portage toddler’s death Associated PressNews from the Associated Press and its network of reporters and publications. Twitter Pinterest Abortion-rights supporters take part in a protest Thursday, May 30, 2019, in St. Louis. A St. Louis judge heard an hour of arguments Thursday on Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order that would prohibit the state from allowing the license for Missouri’s only abortion clinic to lapse at midnight Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge is set to take up the American Civil Liberties Union’s bid to block a new Indiana law that would ban a second-trimester abortion procedure.A judge in Indianapolis was scheduled to hear arguments Monday from the state’s attorneys and the ALCU of Indiana. The group is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the ban on dilation and evacuation abortions from taking effect July 1.The legislation passed by Indiana’s Republican-dominated Legislature would make it illegal for doctors to use medical instruments to remove a fetus from the womb except to save the pregnant woman’s life or prevent serious health risk.Indiana’s attorneys call the procedure “brutal and inhumane.”The ACLU says Indiana’s law would put a “substantial and unwarranted burden” on women’s ability to obtain second-trimester abortions. Judge to hear bid to block Indiana abortion procedure ban IndianaNews Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp Facebook Google+ Facebooklast_img read more

South Bend Schools Food Director and Transportation Director resign

first_img Twitter WhatsApp Previous articleJeremy Cuellar sentenced for Tyrone Hassel murderNext articleIndiana governor starts 2-week economic trip to China, India Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Twitter (Photo supplied/South Bend Community School Corporation) Amid ongoing bus problems and the recent shortage of food, the transportation director and food director for the South Bend Community Schools Corporation have resigned.The school district’s Chief Operating Officer, Rene Sanchez, will replace outgoing Transportation Director Juan Martinez Legus while a search gets underway to find his permanent replacement.The school corporation had previously decided to work with a new food vendor and will decide whether outgoing food director Victoria Moore’s position needs to be replaced.In a statement released to the news media, Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings called the resignations “bold, decisive action that will actually help students, not hinder them.” Google+ Facebook IndianaLocalNews By Jon Zimney – September 23, 2019 0 351 South Bend Schools Food Director and Transportation Director resign Google+ Pinterest Pinterest Facebook WhatsApplast_img read more