• August 27, 2009 /  Uncategorized


    Courtesy of Arriva plc

    UK Bus

    Our UK Bus division has continued to trade strongly, with the continuing focus on cost control and efficiency offsetting an increase in fuel costs of £9 million during the first half of 2009. Operating profit rose 3.7 per cent to £47.2 million (2008: £45.5 million) on revenue up 4.2 per cent to £473.6 million (2008: £454.5 million).


    We have reduced commercially operated mileage by 3.3 per cent year-on-year to control costs whilst maintaining the viability of our network for future growth in the medium and longer term. This will help to mitigate the further increases in fuel costs in the second half of the year, but will also be reflected in patronage and revenue growth.
    Investment in the division’s future continues. 233 new buses entered service in the first half of 2009, with around 220 more to be added by the end of the year, further improving our attractiveness to existing and potential customers.
    We remain committed to developing and investing in technology. ‘EcoManager’, which helps drivers to reduce fuel consumption, is now operational in almost 1,000 buses, with plans to use the technology in a further 1,000 buses by the end of the year. Mobile phone ticketing technology has been introduced across the Yorkshire and Kent networks, making for a convenient cash-free way to travel.
    Mileage growth in our contracted London business, which accounts for around a third of the division by revenue, was 3.4 per cent.
    We continue to work with Transport for London trialling new and green technologies, and we were pleased to welcome six new Volvo hybrid double-deckers to our fleet in June.
    The Original Tour sightseeing business is trading well, with a promising summer season so far.

    UK Trains

    UK Trains revenue was £376.2 million (2008: £415.5 million), with operating profit falling to £10.4 million (2008: £14.8 million). The division’s fall in operating profit is largely attributable to slower passenger revenue growth together with an increase in fuel costs of £2 million.
    The Rail Regulator’s review of charges has reduced both headline revenue and costs by approximately £47 million in the first half of the year. The economic impact of this review is broadly neutral. The 2009 full year effect for the division is expected to be a reduction in both revenue and costs in the region of £150 million.


    As we have reported previously, to maintain 2008 levels of profitability, against a background of reducing franchise support payments, CrossCountry needs to achieve passenger revenue growth of around 10 per cent in 2009, from a 2008 base of £319 million. Actual passenger revenue growth for the franchise for the first half of the year was 1.8 per cent. Despite encouraging cost saving measures in areas such as replacement bus and coach services, sales commission, marketing, station services, catering and cleaning, the growth achieved was insufficient in the period to offset the decline in franchise support payments.
    The franchise is operating efficiently, recording excellent improvements in the level of trains arriving at their destination within 10 minutes of schedule – 91.6 per cent for the six months to 30 June 2009, up from 90.2 per cent for the same period in 2008.
    We have almost completed plans to increase capacity by 35 per cent at peak periods. All five refurbished High Speed Trains are now in service and refurbishment of the 57 Voyagers, adding around 4,000 seats to our fleet, is on track for completion in early September.
    We have significantly improved online ticketing facilities. After introducing e-ticketing
    nationwide in December, our customers have been able to purchase and print tickets at home, by 6.00 pm the day before departure.
    The sharp contraction in UK economic activity suggests slower passenger revenue growth may continue for some time into the future while our contract provides for reducing franchise support payments. From November 2011, 80 per cent of any shortfall in passenger revenue below 94 per cent, and 50 per cent of the shortfall between 98 and 94 per cent, against the annual franchise target, is recovered through the risk sharing mechanism with the Department for Transport. This arrangement continues to the end of the franchise in March 2016.

    Arriva Trains Wales

    At Arriva Trains Wales, passenger revenue growth was 8.2 per cent, after compensation for timetable changes in December 2008.
    Arriva Trains Wales’ strong operational record continues to improve, with 95.1 per cent of services arriving at their destination within five minutes of schedule, up from the already high 92.9 per cent in 2008, making Arriva Trains Wales one of the best performing train operators in the UK.
    Arriva Trains Wales continues to work closely with the Welsh Assembly Government to develop rail services in Wales and the border regions, and in May 2009, increased the frequency of the service between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff.
    Cash generation continues to be strong. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, goodwill impairment and intangible asset amortisation) was £165.6 million, an increase of 11 per cent over the comparable period (2008: £149.2 million). A working capital outflow of £40.7 million (2008: outflow of £29.9 million) includes recurring outflows in respect of retirement benefit obligations (pension scheme contributions exceeded costs by £10 million in the first half year) and release of provisions for acquired loss making contracts (£7 million). The balance of the outflow principally represents timing differences. Cash generated from operations was up five per cent to £124.9 million (2008: £119.3 million).
    We continue to invest in the future of Arriva. Net capital investment was £100.1 million (2008: £84.8 million), principally reflecting investments in new buses in the UK, and mobilisation of rail and bus contracts in mainland Europe.
    Payments of interest, taxation and dividends totalled £60.3 million (2008: £52.2 million), reflecting a five per cent increase in the 2008 year end dividend, the increased level of debt from June 2008, and the £3.1 million impact of translating euro interest costs at a higher exchange rate.
    Translating overseas debt into sterling at £0.85 to the euro, compared to £0.97 to the euro at 31 December 2008, reduced net debt by £73.6 million. Net debt overall fell by £38.2 million to £785.2 million.
    Total shareholders’ equity was £568.7 million (31 December 2008: £682.5 million) at the end of the period. Retained profits contributed £4.3 million to group distributable reserves. Actuarial losses on employment benefits, reflecting a reduction in liability discount rates and an increase in long-term inflation expectations, reduced equity by £99.6 million whilst the fair value of cash flow derivatives caused an increase of £13.6 million. The fall in the value of the
    euro since the year end has resulted in a foreign translation loss, after tax, of £36.8 million in respect of unhedged overseas assets. Gearing, the ratio of net debt to equity, for the group at 30 June 2009 was 130 per cent (31 December 2008: 115 per cent).
    The interest cover for the 12 months ended 30 June 2009 (the ratio of EBITDA to net finance costs) was 10 times (year ended 31 December 2008: 13 times). The ratio of net debt to EBITDA, for the 12 months ended 30 June 2009, was 2.3 times (year ended 31 December 2008: 2.5 times). Arriva remains comfortably within the financial covenants set by its lenders, the principal covenants being that the ratio of EBITDA to net finance costs is not less than 3:1 and the ratio of net debt to EBITDA is not more than 3.5:1.


    As previously reported, the total anticipated increase in fuel costs is around £60 million for the whole of 2009, of which approximately £18 million fell in the first half of the year.

    75 per cent of the approximate 100 million litre annual fuel requirement for CrossCountry remains fixed at 26.5 pence per litre, until 2016.
    Borrowing facilities
    The principal sources of credit to the group have historically been the banking markets of the UK and mainland Europe, and the group has continued to raise finance from these sources, with over £250 million of amortising and term facilities being raised in 2009 to date.
    The headroom on committed borrowing facilities has increased from £258 million at 31 December 2008 to £327 million at 30 June 2009, reflecting the raising of additional amortising facilities of £134 million in the period partially offset by repayments on existing facilities. Subsequent to the period end, a €100 million bilateral term facility has been obtained, coterminous with the £615 million syndicated revolving credit facility that expires in August 2012, together with £38 million of amortising facilities, further strengthening the group’s funding position.
    Group net debt of £785 million comprises the drawdown of £946 million in the table above, less cash balances of £161 million.
    The existing fleet of 29 trains for the Jutland rail contract is likely to be recognised on the balance sheet in the second half of the year, with a book value of around £60 million. These
    will continue to be financed by the existing provider. A further 12 new trains are required by the new contract by the end of 2010, with a related investment of around €40 million.


    Arriva continues to show its strengths as a broadly-based group with a balanced portfolio of operations which prevent it from becoming over-dependent on a single contract or a single source of revenue. The group has a secure funding position, an extensive contract order book providing visibility of long-term diverse revenue streams, and a proven strategy for medium and long-term growth. This is underpinned by tight management and cost control across the group.
    Our strong and consistent cash generation enables investment in new contract wins and renewals, and returns to shareholders. The competitive landscape for contracted business is encouraging, and there are further opportunities for growth as shown by recent new business wins in mainland Europe.
    During the second half of 2009 the group will experience still higher fuel prices locked in by forward fuel purchasing. The results for the first half of 2009 show the effectiveness of actions already taken to absorb the fuel cost impact for the year. During 2010, fuel costs are set to recover by approximately £30 million.
    The short-term outlook for passenger revenue growth remains difficult to predict. As previously reported, a reduction in the second-half profitability of our UK Trains division can be anticipated, due to softening passenger revenue growth coupled with reducing support payments. The CrossCountry franchise will benefit from the availability of the contracted revenue risk sharing regime from November 2011.
    We remain confident in the underlying resilience and growth potential of the business, and that it will continue to demonstrate the delivery of long-term value to shareholders

  • August 25, 2009 /  Uncategorized

    Bus operators to be probed over high fares – The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today announced that it is referring the local bus industry to the Competition Commission over concerns that passengers are being charged unfair, high prices. A five-month investigation into the £3.6 billion bus sector by the OFT found evidence of limited competition that may have led to "higher prices for bus users", prompting the referral to the Competition Commission for a more detailed investigation.

    The bus industry is dominated by a small number of companies with a monopoly over local routes. A series of takeovers has led to increasing concentration in the sector, with almost two thirds of bus services controlled by only five large operators: Arriva, Stagecoach, Go-Ahead, First Group and National Express. The OFT said it had received a “substantial volume” of about 30 complaints of “predatory” behaviour by existing operators “designed to eliminate competition” from new entrants to the market.

  • August 24, 2009 /  Uncategorized

    Roadwork’s on Exchange Street

    Information Courtesy of Bucks CC


    There will be lane closures in Exchange Street, Aylesbury from the 3rd August for around 4 weeks. Thames Water will be undertaking works to the sewer connection for the new theatre. The works will be phased to minimise disruption, but when taken together with the works on the gyratory system there are likely to be traffic delays. The public are advised to avoid the area and seek an alternative route where possible.

    For more information call 0845 2302882 or email hoc@buckscc.gov.uk

  • August 24, 2009 /  Uncategorized

    Essential Gas Mains Replacement – Aylesbury

    Information Courtesy of Bucks CC

    Transport for Buckinghamshire

    Southern Gas Networks (SGN) have started work on replacing old gas mains in the Stoke Road area of Aylesbury.

    The £90,000 project will see 400 metres of metallic mains in sections of Walton Road, Wendover Road and Stoke Road, replaced with plastic pipe, which has a minimum lifespan of 80 years. The public are advised to avoid Exchange Street and find alternative routes.

    This essential work started on 20 July, to coincide with the school summer holiday, and is expected to be completed before schools resume on 3 September. It will start in Walton Road at the junction with Wendover Road, progressing through the gyratory into Stoke Road, towards the railway bridge.

    Due to the nature of the work and to ensure everyone’s safety, it will be necessary to implement lane restrictions throughout the course of the project. All the area’s roads will remain open.

    SGN Team Manager Bob Taylor said: “We have been working closely with Buckinghamshire County Council and the emergency services to minimise inconvenience to road users, businesses and residents. Access to homes will be maintained and shops will be open for business as usual.

    He added: “We understand that people can get frustrated by roadwork’s, and there may be some short-term disruption, but our work will produce a long-term safe and reliable gas supply for this part of the town.”

    SGN would like to take this opportunity to thank residents and road users in anticipation of their co-operation and patience. Progress updates will be available by visiting www.scotiagasnetworks.co.uk.

    For more information call 0845 2302882 or email hoc@buckscc.gov.uk

  • August 19, 2009 /  Uncategorized




  • August 19, 2009 /  Uncategorized


  • August 15, 2009 /  Uncategorized


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  • August 14, 2009 /  Uncategorized


    Here are a few pictures I hope they are alright and you can use one of them.

    The ride did not start till 6pm and we had to be off the track at 8pm.

    I did manage to do five (5) laps in 55:03minutes.

    Fastest lap was 10min 10sec avg speed 17.6 top speed on that lap was 23.7mph.


    Cottle bike rode cottle 3 #

    cottle bike 2 cottle 4

  • August 9, 2009 /  Uncategorized

    Tiger Line T2Tiger Line T2

    Another Tiger Is Roaring!  Welcome to T2

    On Monday the 17th of August 2009 Tiger Line launches its second commercial bus route, Tiger Line T2.