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Archive for tag: General News



 

Eurolines.Com on mobiles

In just 12 months Eurolines.com has seen a 166% increase in users accessing the site from mobile devices.

Launched this week, anyone accessing Eurolines.com from a mobile device will be served a new mobile platform version of the website. Very user friendly and easy to navigate, the mobile version delivers the key information that customers want:

* Tell us where you'd like to go - Destination information about 26 European countries

* Where you want to depart from - Contact details on where to book a Eurolines ticket in each European country

* Brief overview of Eurolines

The mobile version includes the facility to switch to the full version of Eurolines.com and it is anticipated that versions will be available in Spanish, German and French by the autumn.

Mobile Site



 

Passenger rights are all very well, but what about the passenger experience, asks John Gilbert

European commission vice-president for transport Siim Kallas has made passenger rights one of his policy priorities. Earlier this year, he scored a success with the adoption of new measures to apply common rules to bus and coach operators. Straight away, Eurolines saw the significance of this as more of an opportunity than a threat.

The proposals for bus and coach passenger rights would improve the performance of the worst-performing operator - and this was good news to companies like Eurolines, which pride themselves on good standards of customer service. We met with members of the transport committee working on the dossier so that we could share with them our practical experience of operating long distance cross-border services.

It was useful for members to understand the difficulties of putting in place some of the original commission's proposals which would have imposed prohibitive costs and even put some good operators out of business.

The key message for policymakers to understand was that although some basic rights were required to squeeze out the rogue operators, heavy-handed regulation would only force up the price of tickets, meaning passengers would travel instead on low-cost airlines.

This would have had the perverse consequence of increasing carbon emissions in the transport sector. Coach travel is, per head, one of the greenest ways to travel and it was important that the commission encouraged an increase in coach travel to keep emissions low rather than reduce it. This was an important part of our message to MEPs, ministers and of course the commissioner.

It became clear to us when engaging with the EU institutions that there was a very limited understanding of the bus and coach sector. Did the MEPs voting on this really understand our passengers and what was important to them? While our passengers no doubt welcome the new rights they will have in EU law, what is more important to them are the facilities they might require at bus stations, the location of the city centre terminals and the ability to connect easily from another form of transport. Passenger rights alone will not improve the passenger experience.

That is why we believe the European commission can do more to improve the overall passenger experience. The commission has long trumpeted the need for inter-modality, but our experience is that the ability to connect with trains or planes is getting worse, not better. Eurolines has been talking to the European rail and airport sectors to try to find an agreement on a roadmap which commits the authorities to tackling the obstacles to interconnectivity. But policymakers need to play their part too.

The recently-published transport white paper gives only a cursory nod to the need for improving infrastructure for inter'- modality. The draft strategy has nothing at all to say on the lack of accessible, centrally located, secure and equipped coach terminals or centralised multimodal transport hubs in the major European cities.

This is a missed opportunity for the commission to support coach passengers and tackle the enduring obstacles that passengers face. Bus and coach travel are on the rise again and some are even talking about a new age of the coach being around the corner.

Operators like Eurolines have improved their fleet to make the journey even more comfortable, but transport authorities should do their bit also to help improve the passenger experience.

 



 

Eurolines champion better facilities for Europe's coach passengers

The Eurolines Organisation today urged key transport leaders across Europe to support the long distance coach network and the urgent need for greater investment in infrastructure and passenger facilities.

At an event hosted by Michael Cashman MEP in the European Parliament, John Gilbert, President of Eurolines, outlined the vital role of coach travel acrossEuropeand the unnecessary barriers operators and passengers face in many locations.

With coach now accounting for 25% of all public transport trips in Europe, Eurolines is calling for policy-makers to recognize the role and contribution of coaches to safe, environmentally friendly and affordable travel.

John Gilbert, President of the Eurolines Organisation, said: "Coach plays a vital, but largely unrecognised role in keeping Europe moving. Passengers choose coach because it's an affordable, convenient way to travel cross border but there's a lot that public authorities could to make the passenger experience better.

Empowering travellers to make intermodal journeys is a key objective for the European Committee, but at present coaches are denied access to a number of key terminals acrossEurope- making it difficult for passengers to switch between train, coach and plane. We would welcome increased support for coach acrossEuropeand a commitment to investing in passenger facilities to ensure coach travellers enjoy the same high standards as train and air passengers."

Eurolines also highlighted the trend towards increased border checks for international coach services - even within Schengen. This can result in unnecessary, cumbersome delays for passengers and acts as a major deterrent for choosing coach in the future.

Michael Cashman MEP, said: "I'm pleased to see that Eurolines has taken this initiative to campaign for better quality infrastructure for long distance coach passengers. If we are serious about getting people out their cars and into low cost, green public transport, then cities across Europe need to invest in the infrastructure that will help passengers access the services they need".

The event was attended by a number of transport leaders including Keir Fitch from the Cabinet of Commissioner Kallas, Oleg Kamberski from IRU and Andrew Cleaves, Managing Director of National Express.

Eurolines announced plans to launch a series of awards in 2012 for the best equipped terminals and the most improved stations to help raise awareness of the role of coach travel.

John added: "We're focused on providing the highest standard of coach travel with free wifi and low prices, but we can't control the experience before and after the journey. Next year we're introducing a series of awards to recognise Europe's most coach friendly towns and cities."

Europe's largest scheduled coach operator is also supporting an initiative by the Smart Move campaign calling for an EU Transport Policy to 2050 on buses, coaches and taxis.  They want to establish a group of industry experts and politicians to help deliver a strategy which doubles coach passenger numbers over the next 15 years.

 

 



 

John Gilbert re-elected Eurolines president at annual conference

The Eurolines Organisation has reappointed John Gilbert as President for a second term at their annual conference in Ulm, Germany.

The Eurolines group is composed of 32 independent transport operators which together form Europe's largest regular coach network. As well as being President of the Organisation John Gilbert is also Managing Director of Eurolines, part of National Express.

Eurolines members from across Europe, including representatives from Veolia Transdev and Deutsche Touring met at the two day conference in Germany. Key items on the agenda included customer care and safety as well as the proposed multimodal journey planner for Europe. Pawel Stelmaszczyk from DG Move, who are championing the single journey planner, gave a guest presentation on the proposal and the possibilities for Eurolines.

Speaking after the conference newly re-elected John Gilbert commented on his role as President and what the future holds for the Eurolines Organisation during his two year term:

"We see big opportunities for the European coach network over the coming years. Today's passengers are very savvy and demand value for money, easy accessibility and a reliable service. Eurolines already offers some of the competitive fares inEuropeand we have a robust network of routes covering 500 destinations.

"The priority over the next two years is to focus relentlessly on our customers - not only delivering what they want, but exceeding their expectations too. We'll also work closer as an organisation to strengthen the Eurolines brand across Europe. A major part of this will be re-launching our website early next year and better utilising social media to engage new audiences.

The Eurolines Organisation also has exciting growth plans and will be extending further into Portugal. This means Eurolines services now operate in a total of 29 countries spanning from Dublin to St Petersburg and Naples."