Hydrogen Powered Buses are here.

Aberdeen will shortly become the second city in the UK to operate zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses, when 10 Van Hool A330 tri-axles enter service later this month. They will be operated by First and Stagecoach.

Entry into service within the next few weeks of 10  completely zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered Van Hool A330s places the bus industry at the forefront of what Aberdeen City Council (ACC) hopes will become a commercially-viable ‘hydrogen economy’ in the UK’s oil capital.

In yet another example of the bus sector showing the way in transport innovation and partnership, project leader ACC says the Van Hools will also begin the area’s transformation into “a world leader for low carbon technology.”

The 13.2m A330s, built in Belgium and able to carry up to 70 passengers, are part of the multi-stakeholder Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project (AHBP) and will be the world’s largest fleet of hydrogen-powered buses now that 20 operated in Whistler, Canada have been removed from service.

As a large-scale, three-year demonstration, AHBP is part of the H2 Aberdeen initiative, which provides the opportunity to create a new industry and greater choice in energy production.

The £20m project includes construction of a hydrogen production plant and refuelling station.

Owned by ACC, the Van Hools will be operated by First Aberdeen (four) and Stagecoach Bluebird (six).

The uneven split is understood to be a result of the Aberdeen demonstration having originally consisted of six buses funded by the HyTransit project; four additional buses were added after another European city’s decision to pull out of the similar but separate HyVloCity scheme.

One of each operator’s was present at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre last Thursday (26 February), when it was announced that their long-awaited entry into service is at last imminent. The routes they are to work were also confirmed.

First’s will be used alongside Volvo B10BLEs on high-profile service X40, which serves the Bridge of Don and Kingswells park-and-ride sites, while Stagecoach’s will be employed among Alexander Dennis Enviro300s on the high-frequency X17 between Aberdeen and Elrick, west of the city.

“This announcement is a clear commitment by First and Stagecoach to bring these buses into service in the very near future, once they have completed driver training and the hydrogen refuelling station is fully commissioned,” says ACC Leader Councillor Jenny Laing.

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Driving while under the influence!

A government advertising campaign has started, telling people taking medicines to check with their doctor or pharmacist before driving.

It comes as new drug-drive legislation comes into force from 2 March in England and Wales.

The new law sets limits at very low levels for eight drugs commonly associated with illegal use, such as cannabis and cocaine.

There are also eight prescription drugs included within the new law.

What it means

The limits that have been set for these drugs exceed normal prescribed doses. This means that the vast majority of people can drive as they normally would, providing that they are taking their medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet, and their driving is not impaired.

But, and this is the big but, what if your drivers are taking more than the dose, either because they think it will help their condition, or because they have missed taking the medication and are ‘catching up’?

Worse, what about those who are using so-called ‘recreational’ drugs, even if it is during their days off, or holidays?

But it’s a serious matter. There has been at least one serious coach crash, in which it was discovered that one of the individuals involved had used cannabis. At the other end of the scale, there has been at least one serious coach crash in which an individual had been taking medicine after a cold, which was a factor.

Know the law

In Scotland, the lowered drink-drive level came in during December 2014, changing from the 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to 50mg.

The 80 milligrams limit (the equivalent of 800,000 micrograms per litre) has remained unchanged since its introduction by the Road Safety Act 1967, which also gave the police powers to breath-test drivers suspected of drink driving.

Operators who run abroad will know that, apart from Malta, the 80mg limit is the highest in Europe, with 50mg being common (19 countries), reducing to 20mg or zero in most of the rest.

For drugs, there are two categories, illicit and prescription drugs.

The Government decided against a zero limit as certain medicinal drugs can be absorbed in the body and produce trace effects.

It also didn’t want to risk penalising drivers for accidental exposure to drugs, such as inhaling cannabis smoke in a public place.

The new legislation will give police the power to test and arrest drivers who are suspected of driving over the new levels. The drugs will be identified using a blood test.

Those convicted of drug-driving will get:

  • A minimum one-year driving ban
  • A fine up to £5,000
  • A criminal record
  • The driving licence will show a conviction for drug-driving and it will stay on there for 11 years.

The illegal drugs (and their limits) are:

  • Benzoylecgonine (found in cocaine): 50 micrograms per litre of blood (µg/l)
  • Cocaine: 10 µg/l
  • Delta-9-Tetrahydrocanabinol (cannabis and cannabinol): 2 µg/l
  • Ketamine: 20 µg/l
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD): 1 µg/l
  • Methylamphetamine: 10 µg/l
  • MDMA (ecstasy): 10 µg/l
  • 6-Monoactetylmorphine (6-MAM-Heroin and Diamorphone): 5 µg/l

The prescription drugs and their limits are:

  • Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and panic disorder): 50 µg/l
  • Diazepam (anti-anxiety): 550 µg/l
  • Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol: sedative): 300 µg/l
  • Lorazepam (anti-anxiety): 100 µg/l
  • Methadone (heroin substitute): 500 µg/l
  • Morphine (pain relief): 80 µg/l
  • Oxazepam (anti-anxiety): 300 µg/l
  • Temazepam (anti-anxiety and sedative): 1,000 µg/l.
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We live in a fantastic place

Salcombe harbour is a very beautiful place! We see the views from our bus through the year and it is always a bit special. Check our the view from a drone!


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We are on page 20!      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/90495788/BCB_1310_lr.pdf


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Winter Weather

The weather seems to be getting colder in Kingsbridge! Forecasts include frost, snow and even something called Thundersnow.

Our challenge is to maintain as many bus and school services as is possible and that means making some tough decisions. Relying on the Met office forecasts we can determine that roads may become dangerous and we then take the view that we should not be on the road when there is any chance of crashing and/or injuring customers. Occasionally we get it wrong and can be accused of cancelling a service when cars have been able to use the roads safely, but, we did not know that at the time the decision was made! Thee is no more precious cargo to carry than our customers so please understand our dilemma.

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New Lorries designed to make it safer for cyclists.

New safer lorries delayed until 2022

Cyclist/lorries in LondonCyclists in London often have little space to squeeze past heavy traffic

New lorries designed to make it easier for drivers to spot pedestrians and cyclists face delays of up to eight years, it has emerged.

In April, the European Parliament passed a draft law to make lorries safer for other road users.

But the rules will not come into force until 2022 after the industry called for more time to develop the lorries.

The European Parliament and campaigners had originally wanted to introduce the changes as soon as possible.

The delay until 2022 is, in part, the result of a compromise deal after manufacturers such as Sweden’s Volvo and France’s Renault said the introduction of new cab sizes should be delayed to create a level playing field for all, pointing to the long life-cycle of trucks.

Member states, led by France and Sweden, had originally pushed for a five-year delay on the new designs, which would have seen their introduction postponed until about 2024.

The need to develop new safety requirements first had already pushed the original deadline back from 2017.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: “These changes could prevent up to 900 deaths a year on European roads, so any delay will cost lives.

“The idea that these road safety innovations should be subject to a moratorium to enable all manufacturers to compete equally is without precedent.

“Just imagine how many more lives would have been lost if innovations like seatbelts and electronic stability control had been held back from the market for similar reasons.”

William Todts, of campaign group Transport & Environment, said: “This deal signals the end of dangerous and inefficient brick-shaped trucks.

“This is good news for hauliers and truck drivers and, above all, for pedestrians and cyclists who’ll be much safer.

“But the absurd and unprecedented decision to impose a ban on new lorry designs until 2022 casts a dark shadow over the agreement.”

Mr Todts added: “Few other industries would do what the lorry industry has done here: lobby hard to keep a ban on a better product for as long as possible.”

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Tally Ho! motorsport


The Tally Ho! saloon car finished a successful season in second place (in class) in the Castle Coombe Saloon Car Championship. Unfortunately the car was involved in an accident in the final race which means we will be looking for a new car next year! The driver Arthur was not seriously injured but he was taken to hospital from the track for precautionary checks. This was a disappointing end to a great season, Arthur is one of the quickest drivers in the championship and the car has been 100% reliable. We had some wonderful days at Coombe where the organisers and other teams make you very welcome so that it feels like a big family affair. The Marshalls have been fantastic and they all give their time for free, so we are very grateful.

We will be back next year though we do not know in what form, at the moment..

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