Costs spike to transport homeless students to school

As the number of homeless students continues to rise in Michigan, school districts across the state are struggling to transport and educate them.

Sometimes, schools pay a taxi service to transport homeless students back to the school they attended before they became homeless. Assisting with transportation is required under federal law.

Schools in Washtenaw County spent $5,234 transporting homeless children by taxi in October 2010. This year, the October cab bill spiked to $9,223 for a county that has seen a 40% increase in the number of homeless students in the last two years at 10 school districts and 11 charter schools. Most of the bill ($8,139) was paid by the districts, not the federal government.

"We have families who are moving every three or four days," said Peri Stone-Palmquist, who is in charge of the homeless program for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. "We feel like we are drowning with the number of families that are calling for help."

Other districts don't have taxi service and rely on busing or give parents gas cards to defray costs.

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Bendy bus makes final journey for Transport for London

bus travel

The last of London's bendy buses was taken off the roads on Friday night.

The vehicles were used on 12 routes over the past decade but Mayor Boris Johnson called them "cumbersome machines" which were too big for narrow streets and encouraged fare-dodgers.

He has ordered nearly 500 new buses to replace them and promised more vehicles on the routes during the rush hour.

But campaigners said they were "the most accessible bus in London" and would be missed by wheelchair users.

The final route to be operated with bendy buses has been the 207 between Hayes and White City, and the last of the long vehicles was to run late on Friday.

Transport for London (TfL) predicted it would increase its takings by £7.4m because fare-evasion would now become harder.

The "hop-on, hop-off" style of the bendy buses, with few checks on tickets, had encouraged thousands of people to avoid paying.
'Frequently stranded'

But Transport for All, which speaks for older and disabled transport users, said TfL was "nuts" to scrap the vehicles, especially as their new Routemaster-style replacements had only "a tiny wheelchair space".


Guernsey school bus travel rules delayed

school bus

The introduction of a minimum travel distance for children to qualify to use Guernsey school buses has been delayed The environment department planned to start the restrictions from Monday, but has delayed it until the New Year.

The new measures means pupils who travel less than a mile to school will be barred from using the service The delay is to allow the department to consult further having only received responses from five schools to the proposed changes.

The move follows complaints from parents and schools that some children had been unable to catch the bus as seats were taken by those who lived much closer.

Free bus travel for visitors to Devon costs county £1m

bus travel

Devon has been hit by £1 million of costs after it emerged one-in-five people using free bus passes in the tourism season come from outside the county A Devon County Council survey found it was under-writing the free off-peak travel scheme, enjoyed by Britons over 60, for hundreds of visitors.

The survey revealed that during September 21 per cent of people using a concessionary bus pass were not from the Devon local authority area The figure included 2 per cent from Torbay and 1 per cent from Plymouth, but 18 per cent were residents from beyond the two neighbouring authorities Devon County Council is calling for more funding from Government to pay for the £1 million it cost to pay for outsiders to travel free. Currently, the authority is handed £7 million a year by Government to run the scheme, which also applies to disabled people. But it faces a £5 million shortfall because it costs £12 million in total.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for transport, said: "The concessionary bus pass funding certainly doesn't take into account visitor numbers from other areas.


Free Christmas bus travel for children welcomed by Swansea traders

bus travel

TRADERS in Swansea have welcomed plans to allow children free bus travel during the Christmas period Swansea Council has agreed to provide free bus travel for children aged five to 16 in an effort to reduce the costs to families during the festive period while schools are closed And council chiefs hope it will also encourage families to visit the city centre to do their shopping.

The authority believes it could be among the first in the UK to introduce such a scheme, which will cost an estimated £35,000 The free travel offer is between December 22 and January 8 to take in the January sales, and it’s hoped it will provide a significant boost for city centre businesses throughout the Christmas period John Hague, cabinet member for the environment on Swansea Council, said: “We have excellent public transport services in Swansea, boosted by the new city centre bus station.

“The latest offer should help tempt more families to use public transport.”Council leader Chris Holley said: “Christmas can be an expensive time of year for families. We want to try and ease some of the costs by offering free travel for children under 16 “Hopefully this will encourage more families to use public transport and come into the city centre. We expect lots of families to come and visit the Waterfront Winterland attraction “The free travel will certainly help that.”

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Traveling by bus? Choose a safe ride

bus travel

With Thanksgiving almost here, many people will be jumping on buses to head home or to grandma’s house.They won’t be alone. Each year about 750 million passenger trips are taken by bus, a mode of travel that has experienced very large growth in the last six to seven years, according to the American Bus Association Foundation.

There is no official data for nationwide bus travel for Thanksgiving week, but Coach USA/ expects about 60 percent to 70 percent more travelers than during a typical week. “Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel weeks,” said Dale Moser, the company’s president and chief operating officer.For the week of Nov. 21-27, the company will carry between 160,000 and 210,000 passengers, a 28 percent to 35 percent increase from last year, Moser said.

“With convenient departure options and comfortable motorcoaches with power outlets and Wi-Fi, it's no wonder people are choosing buses over rising gas prices and crowded airports,” U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote in his blog last week. “America's commercial buses are a safe, affordable choice for your holiday travel.”But recent news reports detail companies being put out of business and high-profile crashes.

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Here Comes the Ambulance Bus

ambulance bus
Frisco is the first North Texas City to receive a giant, new tool to respond to large-scale emergencies and major events. And the city plans to share it with the rest of North Texas. It's called an ambulance bus and it's as big as it sounds a fire department can send several ambulances in an emergency, but now Frisco can deploy a 41-foot-long ambulance that has the body of a bus.

"When we're going to help do evacuations or maybe move a nursing home during a power outage or something like that, it allows us to do that with a similar number of people but certainly a lot less space taken up with the vehicles," said Cameron Kraemer, Frisco Fire Department's training division chief. "It certainly offers one more vehicle, one more tool in our toolbox to be able to take care of the citizens of Frisco."

The ambulance bus is like a hospital on wheels. The city said it does the job of 10 regular ambulances the bus can carry six paramedics and up to 20 patients on portable stretchers and gurneys with wheels. Seats fold out for patients that need to sit up rather than lie down. Wheelchairs can be secured to the floor."It's completely reconfigurable to meet the needs of the mission," said firefighter-paramedic Scott Vetterick. "It's nice to know that it's there and it's available. We hope we don't have to use it."a cardiac monitor/defibrillator and five wireless vital sign monitors allow paramedics to send critical information to their commander.

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New Lymmo lines will link Creative Village to SunRail, downtown

bus travel

The first concrete step in the future of the Creative Village is coming, in the form of two projects worth $22 million that will more than triple the length of the free bus route through downtown Orlando the work includes dedicated bus lanes, bus stops and other infrastructure that will encircle the Creative Village site, linking its future high-tech workers and students to the upcoming SunRail train system and the rest of downtown.

It will also give Creative Village developers something beyond architectural renderings to point to as they begin to market their 68-acre neighborhood to potential commercial and institutional tenants.

"This is the first stage of going in and getting ready for development," said developer Craig Ustler of Creative Village Development LLC. "This moves us significantly farther down the road. I think it gives us a solid start."

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Fight for a school bus continues

school bus

Parents are determined to ensure that their children’s free school transport will be reinstated in October Bedford Borough Council decided to end the free school transport from Roxton to Alban Academy in Great Barford. Parents fought the proposal because they believe the route is dangerous but the council deemed it to be safe to walk with an adult the move will not save any money as the bus will continue to run and children can use it on a first come first saved basis if they pay.

Following the decision the Save Roxton School Bus parents group decided to write to the Queen and their concerns were passed to the Department for Education but the department’s reply said: “Funding for transport provision is delegated to local authorities and in these difficult economic times the Government expects them to take account of all local circumstances and issues and ensure that value for money can be achieved.

“Local authorities are best placed to determine how their resources are to be utilised and, whilst the Government expects them to take account of their responsibilities, it is not an area in which the Government can intervene.” parent Angie Foster said: “It’s really urgent that we can get our bus reinstated. We are worried that they will look at the bus not stopping in the village at all next year.”

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Charter bus to discontinue service

charter bus

Lenzner Coach Lines is discontinuing transit service between Franklin Park and Downtown at the end of the month because of low ridership, the company's president said Tuesday the Ohio Township-based company started running North Hills commuter routes after Port Authority of Allegheny County cut service by 15 percent in late March. Lenzner offered five daily round trips between Marshall and Downtown, and four daily round trips between Franklin Park and Downtown.

The Franklin Park route struggled from the start. Company President Charles Lenzner said the 57-seat Franklin Park buses, on average, carry 10 to 20 passengers lenzner attributed the low ridership to the private service's higher costs and riders migrating instead to Port Authority stops at Rave Cinemas in McCandless and the Perrysville Avenue lot in Ross. Lenzner's fares on the route are $5 each way, compared with $3.25 per trip on the nearby Port Authority routes.

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Safer school buses in Abu Dhabi

school bus

The GPS project, which will be fully operational next year, is part of the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC) comprehensive plan to upgrade the transportation requirements in order to ensure the safety and security of children on their way to school and back home “This project has started already and it will be fully active next year. This year, we will complete the installation and testing of the system,” Khaled Al Ansari, Infrastructure and Facilities Division Manager at the ADEC, told Khaleej Times.

The upgrade also included a plan to install surveillance cameras in school buses. But for the pilot phase, eight government schools are being selected to fit three or four of their buses with cameras Al Ansari said the camera installations will be carried out during the first semester break starting on December 18, during which, the project will be closely monitored.

“The ADEC will observe how parents and students are reacting to the new initiative, and will point out the limitations encountered during that period, if any. If the project proves successful, surveillance cameras will be diversified to all public school buses across the emirate,” he stated the ADEC has started the overhaul of the transport system after several cases of neglect and incidents of young girls being subjected to abuse and molestation by unscrupulous school bus drivers and attendants were recorded across the country in separate accidents in 2008 and 2009, two girls, aged three and four, died in the Capital after they were locked inside the school bus for several hours under extreme heat.

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Historic train makes way to Arizona for Centennial tour

Historic Train

Arizonans can take a trip back in time starting next Thursday when historic Union Pacific Steam Locomotive Engine No. 844 relives the Southern Arizona "Sunset Limited" route in recognition of Arizona's 100 years of statehood.

The engine is scheduled to approach Willcox November 10 and head westward to Tucson for close-up viewing, according to a news release from the Arizona Centennial Commission.

After its stop in Willcox, No. 844 will travel through Benson and Vail for "whistle stops" and arrives in Tucson for its first "display day" on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The route takes the engine through Coolidge, Gilbert and Tempe before arriving for another "display day" in Phoenix on Sunday, November 13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as Monday, November 14.

From Phoenix, the engine makes its way back to its original route near Casa Grande, and continues west through Gila Bend, Wellton, and finally arrives in Yuma late in the afternoon on Tuesday, November 15, officials say.

“The adventures of steam locomotives captivate us even today. They literally blazed the trail westward. And, it’s exciting – for train enthusiasts and all of us -- to catch a glimpse of the West as it was more than 100 years ago,” said Karen Churchard, executive director, Arizona Centennial Commission & 2012 Foundation.

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Carriers Enhance Motor Coach Service

bus service

As Greyhound prepares to move from its longtime Downtown bus station to the airport area this month, another change under way in the Memphis motor coach market reflects broader changes in the business nationally.

Carriers are moving toward low-cost, regional, express bus service with amenities like Wi-Fi – and the competition in the Memphis market is heating up.

Greyhound Lines Inc. and are each launching express bus service to and from Atlanta hubs this month.

The new Greyhound Express routes from the Atlanta hub to Memphis and Birmingham, Ala., start Nov. 15.

The next day, begins daily service from Atlanta to Memphis, Birmingham and nine other southeastern cities including Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Each company uses a different approach to its transportation network. While Dallas-based Greyhound has hubs in its cities, operates a system without terminals, using curbside stops that border bus terminals instead.

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Red zone bus tour bookings overload phones

bus tour

Massive public demand for Christchurch red zone bus tours overloaded phone lines this morning as seats were booked out at a rate of one every 25 seconds.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's (CERA) phone lines were overloaded just half an hour after it started taking bookings for the weekend tours, the first of which starts this Saturday.

CERA general manager of demolitions Warwick Isaacs said its call centre completed 361 bookings in the first two and a half hours, which averaged one booking every 25 seconds.

The calls were taking an average of seven minutes to complete as callers were given safety briefings over the phone.

Mr Isaacs said demand remained very high but overloading had eased back from initial levels.

CERA chief executive Roger Sutton earlier apologised for the frustration.

He reminded callers there would be six buses running every hour for the next six weekends, so there would be opportunities for everyone to experience the trips.

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Making school bus travel even safer


What's the safest mode of transportation in California?

Here's a hint: They're big, bright yellow and black, and seen most often in early morning and late afternoon hours.

The obvious answer, of course, is the school bus. Oct. 17-21 is state School Bus Safety Week, and the California Highway Patrol and local school districts are observing that milestone with ongoing efforts to educate the public on ways to make things even safer.

CHP Officer Jeffrey S. Butticci is the school bus coordinator and training officer for the Merced area patrol office. He watches over more than 400 drivers who work for 14 northern Merced County school districts.

"School buses are by far the safest mode of transportation," Butticci said. "They (school bus drivers) are top-notch, second to none, when it comes to safety. They are the most highly trained drivers in California."

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Hyundai, Kia No. 2 in Chinese small car market

Hyundai car

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors ranked No. 2 in sales of small vehicles in China during the first nine months of 2011, automotive data showed.

It said the two carmakers saw their ranking climb by four notches on a year-on-year basis by grabbing 10.9 percent of the Chinese market. They were placed at sixth over the same period last year.

The data showed that Hyundai-Kia sold a combined 162,472 units in the compact car segment between January and September.

The companies saw their sales jump 52.2 percent on a yearly basis and overtake Volkswagen, which ranked third with sales of 154,582 units. General Motors topped the list by selling 191,626 units.

GM recorded 12.9 percent in market share and Volkswagen 10.4 percent.

Hyundai Motor’s Verna (dubbed Accent in China) and Kia Motors’ K2 (Pride Hatchback in China) contributed heavily to their rapid sales growth, according to the data.

Sales of the Verna subcompact came to 96,883 units, making it the third bestselling car in China. The K2, made available to consumers in June, reached 22,376 units as of September.

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Connecting Europe: The new EU core transport network

Connecting Europe

The Commission has today adopted a proposal to transform the existing patchwork of European roads, railways, airports and canals into a unified transport network (TEN-T). The new core network will remove bottlenecks, upgrade infrastructure and streamline cross border transport operations for passengers and businesses throughout the EU. It will improve connections between different modes of transport and contribute to the EU’s climate change objectives.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, said: “Transport is fundamental to an efficient EU economy, but vital connections are currently missing. Europe’s railways have to use 7 different gauge sizes and only 20 of our major airports and 35 of our major ports are directly connected to the rail network. Without good connections Europe will not grow or prosper.”

The new policy follows a two-year consultation process and establishes a core transport network to be established by 2030 to act as the backbone for transportation within the Single Market. The financing proposals published today (for the period 2014–2020) also tightly focus EU transport funding on this core transport network, filling in cross-border missing links, removing bottlenecks and making the network smarter.

The new core TEN-T network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level. This will largely be financed by Member States, with some EU transport and regional funding possibilities, including with new innovative financing instruments. The aim is to ensure that progressively, and by 2050, the great majority of Europe’s citizens and businesses will be no more than 30 minutes’ travel time from this comprehensive network.

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Funds will fuel rapid-bus service

Rapid Bus

A day after the City Council approved San Antonio's first modern streetcar line, VIA received $6 million in federal grants, half of which will pay for an extension of its bus rapid transit system into Leon Valley.

VIA officials announced the grants Friday afternoon at a ceremony that included rail supporter Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, U.S. Rep Charlie Gonzalez and Leon Valley Mayor Chris Riley.

VIA received two $3 million grants, the first from the Federal Transportation Administration's State of Good Rapid Program, which will fund improvements at its bus yard, maintenance facility and headquarters, and a second from FTA's Bus Livability Program to fund bus rapid transit in Leon Valley.

Calling the grants competitive, Gonzalez praised the work of VIA staffers.

“They have earned it,” Gonzalez said. “This is something you have earned because of how you have performed.”

VIA is set to launch its bus rapid transit line, called VIA Primo, in late 2012.

The route will include fewer stops and more frequent service, and the buses — longer than a normal VIA bus — will feature a more modern, rail-like feel.

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Colonel Gaddafi’s plea to raging mob: What did I ever do to you?

Colonel Gaddafi

BLOODIED Colonel Gaddafi was executed with a single shot to the head — after begging one of his captors: "What did I ever do to you?"

Libya's hated tyrant — found skulking in a drainage pipe in a suburb of his home city — was shown no mercy as he was thrown wounded on to a truck.

It set off for the centre of Sirte two miles away but was surrounded by a baying mob.

The monster was then hauled out — and filmed on mobile phones as he was unceremoniously dragged in agony through the dusty streets.

Blood pouring from his face, the brute behind the slaughter of thousands of his countrymen desperately begged for his life.

But his pleas fell on deaf ears. The Mad Dog — who had been stripped of his shirt — was killed by a bullet to the left temple.

Gaddafi's humiliation did not end there. Angry crowds took off their shoes to batter his dead face with the soles — a dire Arab insult.

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Officials Surprise Charter Buses With Safety Inspections

charter bus

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) conducted a surprise safety inspection today of charter buses traveling in the area of Liberty State Park as part its program to try to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on the Garden State’s busy highways.

This safety inspection comes as states across the country are conducting thousands of surprise inspections of motor coaches and tour buses during the national Passenger Carrier Strike Force, Sept. 23 – Oct. 7.

“We greatly value the important safety efforts led by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to ensure bus passengers are safe,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The nationwide strike force is an important enforcement tool to hold bus companies accountable so that safety is the number one priority every trip, every time.”

Last week, the US Department of Transportation hosted a day-long Motorcoach Safety Summit in Washington to raise the bar for the motorcoach industry.

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Christmas travel spending to increase, survey says

christmas Travel
Despite continued high unemployment rates and a volatile stock market, American who plan to travel for the holidays expect to spend up to 43% more this year, according to a new survey.

The online survey released Monday by the American Express credit card company found that the percentage of Americans planning to travel for the holidays will stay about the same as last year.

But the survey also found that those Americans who plan to travel expect to spend about $659 on holiday travel this year, an increase of $200, or 43%, over last year.

Most of the additional spending, according to the survey, will go toward dining out and entertainment.

Although most Americans plan to drive to their holiday destinations, the percentage of travelers who will fly is expected to increase 10% to 36%.

"No matter where consumers choose to go, there is a clear interest in getting more out of travel," said Claire Bennett, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Travel.

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Luxury Travel Ltd’s Special Multi-Country Private Tours in Southeast Asia

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Southeast Asia is a captivating region brimming with intriguing cultures, age-old customs and diverse landscapes. While the cultures and histories of Southeast Asia are intricately woven together, each country retains its own distinct and vibrant traditions.

To truly experience the essence of the region, the best way is to embark on one of the enchanting multi-country tours, this is especially for travelers that come from a longhaul destination. Most of Luxury Travel Company's luxury tours start either from Hanoi/Saigon Vietnam or Bangkok, Thailand.

“Luxury Travel’s multi county tours combine two countries, Vietnam with Cambodia tours, Thailand with Laos Tours, Vietnam with Myanmar or Indochina tours or 5 countries Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand in one trip. With our superb multi-country tour collection, the hardest thing is probably deciding which one to do,” said Pham Ha Founder and CEO of Luxury Travel Vietnam Group Ltd.

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Acropolis closed as Greek strikes spread


Unions and protesters shut down the Acropolis, halted public transport and occupied government buildings on Thursday, intensifying their confrontation with the Greek government as it scrambles to push more painful cuts through parliament.

Greece's largest labor union, the GSEE, sided with protesting public servants and announced plans to strike on Oct. 19 and 20, in opposition to the Socialist government's "ineffective and catastrophic policies," it said.

Stores and even farmers' markets in Athens are also due to close on the first day of the strike.

Public servants are the main targets of new austerity measures, slated for parliamentary approval Oct. 20, that include across-the-board salary cuts, and the suspension of 30,000 workers on the state payroll with reduced salaries.

Pensioners will also see more cuts, and salary earners will pay higher taxes, while parliament has already approved an emergency property tax due to be levies starting this month through electricity bills.

"The recession is deepening, unemployment has rocketed to appalling heights, the economy is collapsing, the living standards of our people has been pushed back decades back," the civil servants' union ADEDY said. "Employees and society are being driven to despair as the (government) pursues its policies that are creating the economic deadlock."

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Bus riders air concerns

Bus riders

Metro Bus riders tonight complained about decreasing services and vented their frustration over talk of a possible fare increase to cover rising costs and cuts in government subsidies to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

NFTA Commissioner James J. Eagan assured about 45 residents who attended a question-and-answer forum in the Delavan-Grider Community Center that there are no formal plans to increase fares, but stressed the authority faces enormous fiscal challenges.

"We're facing a $15 million deficit. The NFTA is not a for-profit organization. The [Erie] County Legislature [was] kind enough ... to subsidize us with part of the mortgage tax and part of the sales tax. That helps us tremendously," Eagan said.

All 12 members of the NFTA board were invited to the meeting, organized by County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, D-Buffalo. Eagan was the only one who attended.

" We don't know if there is going to be a fare hike. We don't know if it's going to be a quarter or 50 cents. It's certainly not going to be $1," Eagan said.

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Transport for London boss calls for "a century of cycling"

Transport for London

The president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), who is also commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), has issued an appeal for “a step change in cycling” in the UK over the next 25 years, which he hopes will deliver a “century of cycling.”

Speaking last week at TfL’s headquarters at 55 Broadway in the inaugural CILT Cycling Lecture, Peter Hendy said that although there was little that could be done about issues such as Britain’s weather, the introduction of “a systematic programme of relatively small and cost-effective measures that will deliver a step-change in cycling in this country over the next 25 years.”

Mr Hendy, himself a keen cyclist, opened his speech by explaining that the fact cycling now had its own CILT Lecture, similar to rail, shipping and aviation, reflected the way in which “cycling is coming to the fore as a transport mode in its own right.”

He went on: “Cycling is a subject that is close to my heart in my dual roles not only as
President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, which enhances the careers of thousands of professionals in the transport sector, but also as this city‟s Transport Commissioner with Transport for London and with a boss who is famously a cycling enthusiast.

“Wearing these two hats – two complementary roles – gives me, I believe, a fascinating and privileged perspective on the growing role of cycling as a 21st century solution within a broad range of public and private transport choices.”

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Transport Bosses Face Quiz On Olympics Traffic

Olympic Traffic
Transport bosses are preparing to be quizzed on how they plan to prevent London from grinding to a halt during next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

London's transport infrastructure is one of the biggest concerns for the International Olympic Committee, who last week said it was an issue they would "have to follow very cautiously until the end."

The Transport for London commissioner, Peter Hendy, will face questions from the London Assembly about how to ensure the millions of extra visitors expected in the capital can move freely during the Games.

The Olympic Delivery Authority is already predicting delays of over an hour on some of the busiest Tube lines, and has identified 22 travel hotspot areas which will struggle to cope with the increased demand.

Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, told Sky News they would be asking: "Can each area cope with the number of spectators that are going to be visiting?

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Holiday travel popular as ever

Tour and Travel

A CHRISTMAS venture overseas is still a reality for travellers despite many Australian tourists already finalising their holiday preperations.

A boom period for the travel industry, the Christmas holidays are not out of reach for the last-minute traveller, with bargain hunters still able to secure a value for money deal.

Flight Centre Limited global marketing manager Colin Bowman said there were still plenty of great packages available for people to enjoy outside the peak Boxing Day to New Years Day period.

"With just two months to go to until the peak season, interest has been keen in the traditional international and domestic holiday hotspots," Mr Bowman said.

"While you can still book an airfare or room across the Boxing Day to New Year period, there are much cheaper options available in mid December or early in January.

"The best advice we have for travellers is to lock in a deal now, given that this is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

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Bargain train travel to London and more!

Train Travel

THE Northumberland Gazette has teamed up with East Coast trains to offer readers discounted travel to destinations across the country.

Tokens are appearing in the Gazette and by collecting them you can snap-up East Coast tickets from only £5.50 to York, £12 to London and £4.50 to Edinburgh (all one-way fares travelling from Alnwick or Morpeth).

Two tokens will be available in the Gazette on October 6 and October 13 and one set of four tokens allows up to four people to travel together.

Bookings are made online via a unique booking site detailed below and journeys can be made between October 31 and December 16, for travel on off-peak services with limited availability on Friday and Sunday afternoons.

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Unsustainable bus fares face review

Bus Travel
BUS travel in the Northern Rivers is more expensive than in inner city Sydney, according to the Northern Rivers Social Development Council.

The not-for-profit organis- ation has made a submission to the 2011 review of Rural and Regional Bus Fares which will determine standard bus fares from January 2012.

Social Development Council development and innovation manager Molly Galea said the Independent Pricing and Regu- latory Tribunal review must address the "substantial discrepancies" between bus fares in metropolitan and regional areas.

"The fact that people live in a more sparsely populated area doesn't mean they can afford to pay more, because they can't," Ms Galea said.

"For example, a bus from Parramatta to Sydney is $4.30 but a similar bus trip from Ballina to Lismore is $11.80.

"For people on lower incomes making this journey a couple of times a day, it quickly becomes unsustainable if you are spending $20 a day or $100 a week."

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Gilbert small-business bus tour points out sign woes

Bus Tour

An overly restrictive sign code is keeping some Gilbert businesses from getting noticed and attracting new customers, owners told town officials during a small-business bus tour Thursday morning.

Town Council members and high-ranking administrators joined the Gilbert Small Business Alliance in visiting several companies to hear their challenges and success stories.

Sign regulations quickly emerged as the dominant issue for the businesses, which included a gas station, property management group, an optometrist and a chiropractor.

Over the past several months, Gilbert officials have worked with businesses in a "stakeholders group" to rewrite much of the town's sign code. The proposed changes go before the council for possible approval next week.

The group included representatives of the Alliance, Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, International Sign Association and others. They met eight times and produced a set of amendments intended to make the code "less onerous" for businesses, according to a town staff report.

But the proposed changes won't resolve some of the concerns officials heard during the Alliance bus tour.

Many of the businesses are tucked away in shopping centers and suffer from visibility problems, owners said. They called on town officials to loosen certain sign regulations to give them greater flexibility in marketing themselves.

Houston-based real-estate company Whitestone REIT in July bought Gilbert Tuscany Village, a shopping center on the northeastern corner of Higley and Guadalupe roads. The retail center is home to Rancho de Tia Rosa restaurant and Salon Di Bella but remains mostly vacant.

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Dial-a-bus scheme pilot

dial a bus
A new pilot dial-a-bus scheme is beginning this week in the South Aberdeenshire Regeneration Priority Area (RPA) which runs from Catterline to St Cyrus.

The 65 Special dial-a-trip is providing a local service for Gourdon and Inverbervie. The bus has been redeployed by Aberdeenshire Councils Public Transport unit, who operate the 65 Special services, and will provide a service into and within Inverbervie every Wednesday.

The bus will offer a demand responsive service picking up passengers at their homes and taking them anywhere in the local community which might include the health centre, Library, shops, or just visiting friends nearby.

Primarily designed for those who are less mobile the service will be provided for anyone in the community with a genuine transport need where suitable public transport is not available. The Wednesday service will also include a morning pick up on demand in Catterline and Kinneff around 9.45am returning around 2.45pm allowing anyone resident in those isolated communities access to Inverbervie for shopping, health visits and social calls.

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School Buses Now Can Take Photos of Passing Cars

School bus

A new state law may make it easier to catch drivers who neglect school bus stop signs.

The law allows school districts to voluntarily install automated camera systems on school buses. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is revising its School Bus Specifications Manual to include the new law.

A public meeting on the revisions will be held at 2 p.m., Oct. 7, 2011, in the OSPI building in Olympia.

Substitute Senate Bill 5540, passed by the 2011 Legislature, allows the use of cameras on school buses to identify vehicles illegally passing school buses when students are entering or leaving those buses. The law restricts the camera system to only take pictures of the vehicle and vehicle license plate and not of the driver or any passengers.

The camera systems must be approved by a majority vote of school board members before they can be installed.

Fines from tickets generated through the cameras are identical to fines given by police officers (currently $394). The revenue generated from the automated tickets may be used to offset the cost of the purchase of the camera system and for administrative costs. Any funds remaining are returned to the school district to be used for school zone safety projects.

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'The Magic School Bus': Still rolling after 25 years

Magic School Bus
After 131 titles, including TV tie-in editions, The Magic School Bus, a kids series featuring an unflappable teacher, Ms. Frizzle, who leads field trips to places like the solar system, the past or inside the human body, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

A look at the numbers behind the series, aimed at readers 7 to 10, written by Joanna Cole, a former school librarian and book editor, and illustrated by Bruce Degen:

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Asia Pacific air travel maintains solid growth pattern

Air Travel

ASIA PACIFIC. International passenger numbers carried by Asia Pacific-based airlines hit 17 million in August, a +3.9% increase over the same period in 2010, according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

International passenger traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) terms, grew by +5.3%, reflecting good demand on long-haul routes. Available seat capacity grew by +6.0%, resulting in a slight 0.6 percentage point fall in the average international passenger load factor to 79.3%.

For the region's carriers, international air cargo demand, expressed in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), was -5.8% lower compared to the same month last year.

AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said: “For the first eight months of the year, Asia Pacific based airlines carried 126 million passengers, +3.5% up on the same period last year. However, air cargo demand remains relatively weak compared to last year's strong performance, with a -3.8% decline in freight traffic for the first eight months of this year.”

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Local teen travels to China for study

Travel to China

Max Drach, 17, of Wilmington, is no stranger to traveling for his education. Two years ago he left home to enroll as a freshman at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in New Hampshire.

This summer he extended his education by traveling more than 8,000 miles from Wilmington to attend a six-week program to learn Mandarin Chinese, the standard language of China.

His destination was Chengdu, a city of more than 7 million people in southwest China.

Drach was awarded one of 650 National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarships for 2011-12. He joined 15 other scholarship winners studying Mandarin and Chinese culture in Chengdu.

The merit-based scholarship, funded by the State Department, covered all program costs, including travel, tuition and day-to-day expenses.

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Metro riders return slowly

Metro Riders

When Metro axed the Eureka Express bus in 2009, Mary Bolte and nine other regular riders temporarily paid a limo service to shuttle them back and forth to work until the line was restored several months later.

"It was pretty nice," said Bolte, a longtime bus rider who lives in Fenton. "We had happy hours — especially Friday nights — and watched TV."

When the express bus returned later that year, she and others did, too. Still, she added, there are people who left for good.

Overall, Metro has seen only modest growth in passenger boardings since March 2009 transit service cuts led to massive ridership losses. Passenger boardings on Metro buses, MetroLink and Call-A-Ride collectively grew to nearly 43 million during the 12-month period ending June 30.

While that was a near 6 percent bump compared with the previous one-year period, it is still well below the 53.8 million boardings during the year ending June 30, 2008. Because some passengers board multiple trains or buses during a single trip, the counts are inflated somewhat.

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Burnett Transit Bus service grows with community support

Bus Service

Since 1954, Spencer children have ridden to and from school on Burnett Transit buses. Over the years, the company has expanded to deliver service to Marshfield's Catholic schools, Abbotsford schools and the Mosinee school district.

Combination of work ethic, community and bank support and business vision have enabled the company to grow in a down economy, said Joe Burnett, second generation owner of Spencer-based Burnett Transit.

The Midwest has a reputation for employees with a strong work ethic, which is important to the company's growth, he said.

"But another key thing is that there is no one person here that is any more important than someone else," Burnett said. "There can be no weak link in the chain for success. No one will let anyone fall behind or slack off. This provides a work atmosphere for success."

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Senators focus on GMA travels


THE Senate finance committee yesterday skipped the proposed 2012 budget allocation for the Office of the President (OP) and instead bared a 2009 Commission on Audit report that the OP in the previous Arroyo administration racked up unliquidated cash advances in the total amount of P594,040,619.70, mostly on foreign travels .

Appearing before the budget hearing, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa volunteered additional information that while the COA report for 2010 has yet to be released, their internal accounting showed that the OP, as of December 31, 2010, also incurred unliquidated cash advances totaling P571,190,306.

"This shows the impunity and disregard of the previous administration to what was appropriated and an abuse of (the Arroyo administration’s) fiscal authorization (given by Congress)" said Sen. Franklin Drilon, finance committee chairman.

Drilon, an administration ally, disclosed that in 2009, the OP was only appropriated P30 million in travel expenses but disbursed a total of P848 million for foreign travel and P92.5 million in local trips. As of August this year, Drilon said, the amount of unliquidated disbursements included P367 million in cash advances.

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NZ junior cyclists impress at world champs


New Zealand riders Jason Christie and Georgia Williams have made strong starts to the world road cycling championships in Copenhagen.

Christie (Ashburton) and Williams (Auckland) placed sixth in the time trials of the men's under-23 and junior women's events, respectively, through the streets of downtown Copenhagen, the opening races of this year's world championships.

Christie, 20, was 12th through the first time check and worked his way to ninth fastest after the first lap at the 17.6km mark. He continued to lift his pace to improve to sixth in 44 minutes 47.61 seconds for the 35.2km test won by Luke Durbridge, a member of Australia's world champion team pursuit combination on the track earlier this year, in a stunning 42:47.13.

The Ashburton rider was pleased with his performance in tricky conditions.

''It was pretty good. I think it could have been a little bit better but I am happy with sixth in the world for under-23s. I can't complain with that,'' Christie said.

There was plenty of support for the riders in the opening races of the world championships in the cycle-centric city where 60 per cent of the population ride bikes, most of them as their primary means of daily transport.

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Travel Vietnam and Cambodia in luxury with APT

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APT’s 18-day tour of Indochina is a remarkable adventure on which you will enjoy unparalleled standards of luxury. Combining 11 nights of guided touring and a seven-night river cruise, you will discover a vibrant, exotic culture, beautiful scenery and remarkable historical relics – including many places that are accessible only by water.

In Vietnam and Cambodia, APT offers two intimate vessels. MS La Marguerite is one of the finest ships on the Mekong, with just 46 suites and an elegant art nouveau-inspired design. This year, she is joined by the newly launched MS AmaLotus, an equally luxurious vessel with 62 suites.

On board, you’ll enjoy excellent cuisine and the attention of a knowledgeable APT tour director – local to the area and who speaks fluent English. They remainon hand to ensure that your holiday goes smoothly.

Shore excursions are led by expert local guides and conducted in groups of no more than 25, so you can be sure of individual attention and can immerse yourself fully in the culture of the places visited. What’s more, the price of the cruise includes all soft drinks, beer and spirits on board, plus wine at lunch and dinner and all tips.

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Parents Bus Tour

On yesterday a group of parents, educators, community leaders, and more participated in the Parent Power Express Bus Trip, a two-day, 9 stop bus tour which involved cities/towns from San Diego to Sacramento, CA.

The event was co-sponsored by The Parent Revolution and the Los Angeles View Park Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The bus tour’s mission was to highlight the organization efforts of parents throughout the state, on how they are utilizing the new “Parent Trigger Law” to help improve their children’s low-performing schools. The tour started with a breakfast workshop in San Diego.

This writer picked up the tour in South Central Los Angeles when they arrived at the home of a Woodcrest Elementary Parent. At that location a group of the school’s parents (from Woodcrest) hosted a presentation on the local school district’s Public School Choice program. Some of the parents also shared information on what they perceived to be obstacles to their students receiving a quality education – and some solutions. In addition this group of parents has formed their own independent parent organization.

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Duncan Talks Back-To-School Bus Tour

school bus
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan just returned from a three-day bus tour of schools in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and other cities that are struggling economically. He speaks with host Michel Martin about his tour and how investing in schools relates to President Obama's jobs plan.

MICHEL MARTIN, host: I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. The school year is just beginning and already some students are learning hard lessons. At the University of Akron, an email meant to advise black male students on how to deal with the police has sparked an uproar. We'll hear from a critic of the email plus a university official who is himself a black man about why he thought the email was tough to swallow but necessary. But first, a newsmaker interviewer with the secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

He started this school year by heading back to class himself. As part of his back to school bus tour, the secretary has met with students, teachers, and administrators in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and other schools in the Great Lakes region to drive home the message that, quote, "education is the economic strategy for the 21st century." The bus tour wrapped up this past weekend. We caught up with Secretary Duncan earlier and he joined us from his Washington, D.C. office.

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China's Largest Bus Manufacturer Selects Maxwell Technologies'

Bus Manufacturer

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MXWL) announced today that Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd. (Yutong), China's largest bus manufacturer, has selected Maxwell ultracapacitors for energy storage and power delivery in fuel-efficient, low-emission, diesel-electric hybrid buses that Yutong is producing for public transit agencies worldwide.

Yutong's hybrid drive system incorporates 16 of Maxwell's 48-volt ultracapacitor modules to support braking energy recuperation and torque assist functions that enable hybrid transit buses to achieve fuel savings and CO2 emission reduction of approximately 25 percent and reduce particulate emissions by up to 90 percent compared with conventional diesel buses.

"Ultracapacitors' ability to charge and discharge rapidly enables them to efficiently capture regenerative braking energy and provide instant power for acceleration," said Wang Feng, Yutong's overseas marketing director. "In addition, their long operational life and minimal maintenance requirements in demanding public transit operating conditions make ultracapacitors a very cost-effective energy storage solution for hybrid buses."

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NSW Govt faces transport pressure


The New South Wales Government is facing a three-pronged attack over its transport policies.

At the top of the list are reports that Cabinet is considering a proposal to overhaul security arrangements on the state's rail network.

The state's 600 transit officers would be sacked.

Instead the number of police dedicated to transport duties would be doubled from 300 to 600.

Transit officers have more limited powers to arrest and demand identification from passengers, and are armed only with a baton.

The position was created in 2002 because of concerns about private security guards who were then patrolling trains.

Opposition spokeswoman Penny Sharpe says fewer staff would put safety at risk.

"The question is, who is best to do the security? There are currently dedicated staff who have provided that role," Ms Sharpe said.

In early 2009 there were reports the then Labor government considered a very similar proposal.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, then in opposition, condemned the prospect of any cut to security resources.

Back in the present, Ms Sharpe has also taken aim at the Government over legislation giving freight trains priority over passenger services, and the time-line for extending the Sydney Light Rail network.

An extension of the tram system further into the city's inner west, from the current final stop at Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill, was to have been completed by the end of next year.

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Google internet awareness bus arrives on 40-day tour


An internet bus introduced by the Google arrived here on Tuesday and will travel across the state touching several towns in Gaya, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Nalanda, Bhojpur, Katihar, Saran and Purnia districts in the next 40 days.

Commenting on the journey of the internet bus which began from Tamil Nadu in February 2009, Google India managing director (R&D) Peeyush Ranjan said here on Tuesday, "The internet has positively touched the lives of more than 100 million people in India. It has been very exciting to see people from different walks of life visit the bus and learn about what internet could do for them."

He said that the bus has created interest among the people of 10 states covering more than 2,000 locations and touching the lives of more than 56 lakh people across 120 towns. "Surveys have indicated that more than 15 lakh people have gone online for the first time after visiting the bus," Ranjan said and added, "We hope to create awareness about the internet and believe that continuous efforts will enable the common man to utilize the power of knowledge and information for economic prosperity."

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If you need help with the form, call us at 877-302-8911. Learn more about wood support saddles.

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Jeju City to trial tour bus service next month


Starting Oct. 1, Jeju City will begin a trial run for a bus that will make stops at tourist attractions within the city.

According to Jeju City Hall, it will run 10 times a day from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. starting from the Jeju City Bus Terminal and stopping at 14 places.

The bus route will include the Jeju Starlight World Park and Planetarium, Saryuni forest road, Jeju Stone Park, Julmul Nature forest lodge, Roe Deer Observation Path, Port, Dong, Seomun market, Yongduam and Jeju International Airport among other destinations.

It will take approximately an hour and a half to travel the entire route.

A bus ticket will cost 5,000 won for adults, 3,000 won for elementary, middle, and high school students, disabled and armed forces veterans. The ticket enables the holder to stop as many times as they wish during the day of purchase.

The trial will run until November, and Jeju City is planning to re-run the service from March to May next year, analyze the outcome, and look to ways to privatize it.

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Go Ahead profits up as bus travel booms

bus travel

PUBLIC transport firm Go Ahead Group said profits rose 14% in its last financial year, adding that its performance was “in line with expectation”.

The Newcastle business said a profit rise to £115.1m and a 6% jump in revenue from £2,167m to £2,297m was “further evidence of consumers switching from cars to public transport”.

The company is one of the largest bus operators in the UK, with around 21% of the market share in London, and has a 65% majority holding in Southern, Southeastern and London Midland rail franchise operator Govia.

Pre-tax profit for the year to July 2 was up 11.3% from £87.7m to £97.6m, and the company added the new financial year had “started well”.

Chairman Sir Patrick Brown said: “Despite facing challenging economic conditions in the last 12 months and the adverse weather in the first half of the year, all of our operations have seen growth in like-for-like passenger revenue and passenger journeys.

“Our bus and rail operations remain fundamentally strong and have benefited from passengers leaving their cars at home and choosing better value public transport alternatives.”

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Atlanta Charter Buses, Shuttle Bus, Tour Bus

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Metropolitan Shuttle offers charter bus and shuttle services in Atlanta, Georgia. Many people are drawn to Atlanta every year for conferences, meetings, and celebrations. Atlanta, one of the nation's largest international hubs, plays host to some of the world's most spectacular conventions and events.

Simplify your transportation in Atlanta and the surrounding area using the resources of Metropolitan Shuttle. Through our network of connections we can help you charter a bus or multiple buses that will make your traveling as comfortable and as cost-effective as possible. Transportation options include charter buses, bus rental, bus charters, bus rentals and shuttles to and from airports, reunions, business conventions, family reunions, festivals, academic events, sports events, religious events, weddings, and more.

For a free quote call us now at 1-866-556-3545

These are only a few of the events, attractions and places in and around Atlanta, Georgia that Metropolitan Shuttle offers charter buses and transportation services for:

Airports: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta/Fulton County Airport

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Gulf Coast Treated has all the hardware components you need to complete your project. We stock an extensive line of basic hardware and fasteners, as well as many types of hard-to-find and custom components hardware for a large variety of projects. We ship your hardware with the rest of your order so you have everything you need when your shipment arrives.
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We carry domestic galvanized and stainless steel hardware. When you order, just specify that you need domestically produced hardware for your project. Call us at 877-302-8911 or contact us online for more information.

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