Here are the news archives for 2015.
Howard Snaith has retained it's operator license after a public enquiry earlier this month, but has had the number of vehicles it can operate cut from 91 to 35, with immediate effect.
Howard James Snaith (Snr) has resigned as transport manager with Howard Robert Snaith (Jnr) talking over. Alison Snaith's role has been limited to general admin duties.
The company has also been required have it's drivers hours and tachographs audited by a suitable body every six months.
Hopefully these measures will allow the business to continue operating and return to it's former glory.
A scheme to bring in quality contracts for buses in Tyne and Wear has been rejected by the local independent traffic commissioner. The scheme would also have covered services which run over the border into Northumberland and County Durham.
A board chaired by the traffic commissioner for the North East found that Nexus had failed to proved that the quality contract scheme (QCS) would have deliver an increase in passenger numbers, and that it represented poor value for money for the taxpayers.
The board also found that Nexus (the Tyne and Wear public transport executive) failed to comply with the statutory requirements on consultation.
As a bus user myself in the North East, I feel that the operators provide a strong network of services, at good prices. I was never consulted on what my views were, and believe it was an attempt by the North East Combined Authority to legally steal the profits that Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach North East make. All 3 operators have invested massively in their fleets, introducing features such as wifi, next stop announcements, and plug sockets, all of which the local authorities would not be able to introduce in the time of the current government cuts.
Long established independent bus and coach operator Fishwick's of Leyland has ceased trading. Service 111 has been taken over by Stagecoach.
North Tyneside Council has decide not to renew some school contracts it has with Howard Snaith. These relate to contracts to provide transport from schools to swimming pools. These contracts will finish next month.
The council has admitted that there have been no concerns about the contract raised.
Meanwhile, it is also speculated that Howard Snaith are to loose public bus service contracts from Northumberland County Council.
Stanley Travel have won 8 Northumberland County Council school contracts.
These started yesterday (01/06/2015) and include the St Thomas More RC School (route 0551) previously operated by Howard Snaith.
Howard Snaith have suffered blows as Northumberland County Council has retendered 9 school services. Howard Snaith failed to win or retain any of them. Among the routes to change hands was the Stocksfield to Prudhoe High School route, with has been taken over by TW Bell (Bells of Stamfordham). However, it would appear that Howard Snaith are still operating a minibus on part of this route.
As I live in the area, I have also heard complaints that the vehicle TW Bell are using on this route is old and dirty. Although this surprises me as my own experience of this operator are very good.
The all follows a recent criminal trial, in which Howard Snaith and some drivers were accused of falsifying driver records. The company was cleared of any wrong doing, but some drivers did plead guilty to some charges. There are rumours that Northumberland County Council are planning on cancelling the remain contracts with Howard Snaith.
Go North East: New Streetlites have entered service on the X66 and Coast and Country 8/78/78A. The Lime branded routes have been renamed to Coast and Country. More Streetlites will enter service soon on the Red Kite 45/46.
Toon Link 47 is receiving 4 dealer stock Volvo B9TLs with Wright Gemini 2 bodywork, and will be rebranded Red Kite.
Some double deckers are expected from Brighton and Hove.
Brighton and Hove: Some double deckers are transferring to Go North East on as new Wright Gemini 3s have entered service on the Coaster route.
Stagecoach has now merged Norfolk Green into it's East Fleet. Norfolk Green was taken over at the end of 2013, and had remained a separate division. It is unclear whether the Norfolk Green livery and fleet name is to be retained.
Update: (02/06/2015) I now have confirmation that Noflok Green is to become Stagecoach in Norfolk. Vehicles will be repainted into Stagecoach livery, when they are due for repaint. The Coasthopper brand is to be retained.
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