” FlyBMI [ NOT Flybe] collapses, blaming Brexit uncertainty

“The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme. These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit.

“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around BMI’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe.

“Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.”

The company operates scheduled passenger services to 24 destinations, including Brussels, Leeds, Munich and Bristol using its fleet of 17 Embraer jets.

Passengers about to board a flight to Munich from Bristol were told their flight had been cancelled after they had checked in and the company’s planes that were in Brussels were called back.

Aircrew were told not to come to work and those due to be abroad for the weekend were flown back.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/16/flybmi-collapses-blaming-brexit-uncertainty

California abandons high-speed rail link as too expensive

So similar to HS2!
Los Angeles to San Francisco 383 miles for around £60 billion
London-Manchester 330 miles for around £56 billion

At least the Californians had the sense to abandon theirs!

“The big picture: The project was years behind schedule with an estimated completion date of 2033.

It had been hamstrung by political backlash in the state, and polling showed that a majority of Californians disapproved of the plan as costs ballooned.
Similar proposals for high-speed trains on the East Coast, including along the heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston, have also fallen apart due to opposition and massive cost estimates, per the New York Times. …”

https://www.axios.com/california-high-speed-rail-cancelled-gavin-newsom-abf6bc5e-a759-47ae-adcb-92b15cce139f.html

“Almost half of England’s bus routes ‘at risk due to lack of funds’ “

“Almost half of England’s “vital” bus routes could be scrapped due to a lack of funding, according to local authorities.

Local Government Association (LGA) analysis found the free bus pass scheme was underfunded by about £652m in 2017-18.

It said councils were having to fill the gap between government funding and the cost of the scheme, with free bus passes for off-peak travel being a legal entitlement for those over 65, or those with a disability.

However, the constraints have meant local authorities have been spending less on discretionary services such as free peak travel, post-school transport and supported rural services.

Almost half of all bus routes in England receive partial or complete subsidies from local councils.

The services are at risk as councils struggle to maintain the current levels of support, the LGA warned.

It called on ministers to bring back full funding of the costs of the concessionary travel scheme.

More from UK

“An estimated funding gap of £652m a year for concessionary travel is unsustainable for councils already struggling to protect other subsidised bus travel in rural areas, or helping young people with their travel costs,” said LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett.

“Properly funding the national free bus pass scheme is essential if the government wants councils to be able to maintain our essential bus services, reduce congestion and protect vital routes.

“If this is not addressed in the spending review it could lead to older people having a free bus pass but no bus to travel on.”

Department for Transport figures showed local bus journeys in England fell by 85 million – or 1.9% – in the year ending March 2018.

The councils say more than 3,000 supported bus services since 2010-11 have been either withdrawn, reduced or altered.

“It is for councils to decide which bus operations to support in their areas, but we help to subsidise costs through around £250m worth of investment every year,” a Department for Transport spokeswoman said.

“£42m of this is devolved to local authorities and a further £1bn from government funds the free bus pass scheme, benefiting older and disabled people across the country.”

https://news.sky.com/story/almost-half-of-englands-bus-routes-at-risk-due-to-lack-of-funds-11632137

Axminster Masterplan “consultation ” this Friday 8 February

The Crown Estate is holding a public consultation event from

2pm to 8pm

on

Friday (February 8)

at Millwey Community Centre,

to seek residents’ input on its proposals for land east of Axminster.

The Crown Estate’s site forms part of East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Masterplan for the area, approved last week by councillors, for up to 850 homes, employment space and community uses as well as green space and a relief road.

The Crown Estate’s application would look to provide 441 homes – 25 per cent of which would be affordable – the central section of the proposed relief road, as well as space for new offices, shops and community facilities.

The event is an opportunity for local people to hear more about the plans and share their thoughts, ahead of a planning application being submitted to EDDC later this year.

Steve Melligan, strategic land portfolio manager for The Crown Estate, said: “Our proposals will help deliver a significant part of the new relief road for Axminster, as well as new homes and employment space for the area. We’re excited to present our plans to the community and look forward to hearing their views.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/plans-unveiled-at-millwey-community-centre-1-5879374

Radical thoughts on buses

Corbyn notes that profits come before people:

“Jeremy Corbyn has taken aim at bus companies for raking in £3.3bn in profits since 2010 while slashing key routes. …”

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/buses/news/101497/jeremy-corbyn-blasts-soaring-bus-fares-operators-bank-£33bn

and Friends of the Earth call for all bus travel to be free:

“Friends of the Earth said there needed to be a “radical reimagining of transport” to bring about a 20% reduction in car journeys, even with a faster switch to electric cars, to meet climate change targets.

The group said free bus travel, costing £3bn a year, would also help address public health concerns around air quality and obesity.

Mike Childs, the head of research at Friends of the Earth, said the outlay was a fraction of road spending. He said: “Dozens of cities across the world offer some form of free public transport. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/05/campaigners-call-for-transport-overhaul-to-tackle-pollution

Investing in buses is better than building HS2 rail line

” …Improving the bus system would bring about significant productivity gains. If, for example, journey times became as reliable at peak hours as they are off-peak, the effective size of Birmingham would increase from 900,000 to 1.3 million people. Assuming UK cities would enjoy the same agglomeration benefits as those in France, Forth calculates that would mean an increase in output per head of 7%. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/03/economic-benefits-of-local-buses-eclipse-unrealistic-hs2-target

Local bus use plummets in Devon as routes cut

“”Local bus journeys in Devon are at a record low – with campaigners warning the national network is now in “crisis”.

The latest figures from the Department for Transport reveal that 24.2 million journeys were made on local bus services in Devon in 2017/18. That’s nearly two million fewer journeys than the year before, and the lowest number since at least 2009/10, when the figures were first published.

The Campaign for Better Transport say that the fall in the number of passengers taking the bus is due to ongoing cuts in funding for these services, resulting in fewer services and higher fares.

Nationally, average local bus fares across England have increased by 12 per cent since 2009, after inflation.

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The statistics back up what our research has been showing for years – that buses are in crisis.

“Local bus services are vital, linking millions of us to jobs, education, shops and services, friends and family. They open up opportunities and help to fight loneliness. …

… The Local Government Association says nearly half of all bus routes in England currently receive partial or complete subsidies from councils.

With councils in England facing an overall funding gap that will reach £8 billion by 2025, the LGA said councils will struggle to maintain current subsidies for bus routes across the country unless this is
addressed in the Spending Review.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils know how important buses are for their residents and local economies and are desperate to protect them.

“It’s nearly impossible for councils to keep subsidising free travel while having to find billions of pounds worth of savings and protect other vital services like caring for the elderly and disabled, protecting children, filling potholes and collecting bins.

“Faced with significant funding pressures, many across the country are being forced into taking difficult decisions to scale back services and review subsidised routes.” …

… Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “These figures are alarming, and underline the devastating impact of Tory cuts on local bus services.

“Bus networks are in a spiral of decline, cutting people off from work and education and friends and family, particularly those in rural areas or from low income backgrounds.

“For many people, buses are the only form of public transport available. And the bulk of the people that use and rely on buses are often the poor, the young, the old and the vulnerable.

“At the same time, cutting and withdrawing services is worsening congestion, air pollution and our impact on climate change.”

“The government should give local authorities the powers to franchise and municipalise buses and boost bus funding, and allow them to take back regulatory powers so that they can set the fares, routes, and timetables that will put their communities first, ahead of the interests of private profit.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/crisis-local-bus-journeys-devon-2489912