Sector Focus

Business Travel Sector Focus The latest news from the sectors that matter to business Bus firm pledges to slash fares

National Express West Midlands will reinvest all the money it has earned from the Government’s Job Retention Bonus into cutting bus fares. The Birmingham-based bus giant

says it will slash the price of fares when the current Covid-19 restrictions on public transport are lifted. Very few buses were running in

the early days of lockdown because people were staying at home, so thousands of the company’s drivers, engineers and back-office employees were furloughed, although most of them are back working now. Under the Government’s Job

Retention Bonus scheme, employers are able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who was furloughed and stays employed to the end of January 2021. National Express UK managing

director Tom Stables said: “This is the right thing to do for our customers. And by using our allowance from the Chancellor’s Job Retention Bonus to reduce fares across the West Midlands, we are investing in the future of our region. “Making bus travel cheaper will

help get our local high-streets back on their feet, lock in the environmental benefits that came out of lockdown and get the people of the West Midlands back to work. “We know that 77 per cent of all

job seekers, and 87 per cent of young jobseekers, have no access to a car, van or motorbike and are

National Express: cheaper fares on the way

completely reliant on their local bus networks, and 75 per cent of bus users have jobs which mean working from home is not possible. So buses are part of the solution. “And of course as a transport

operator, we always want to persuade more people to get the bus. It’s good for us and it’s good for the environment - travelling by bus is the quickest and easiest thing we can all do to bring clean air to our cities and tackle climate change.” West Midlands mayor Andy Street

said: “This move by National Express is an incredibly innovative one, and one that will help the West Midlands economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. “Not only will cheaper bus travel allow more people to get to town

and city centres to support local shops, but it also helps those travelling to work or to a job interview. Keeping people in work or supporting those who fall out is a critical part of our region’s recovery plans, and there is no question this gesture by National Express will help us achieve that.

‘Making bus travel cheaper will help get our local high-streets back on their feet’

“On top of the economic benefits,

lower fares stand a better chance of persuading people to leave the car at home and use public transport,

which we know is critical in the fight against climate change.”

• National Express has been recognised for the support it gives the UK’s Armed Forces, veterans and their families. The transport operator has had its Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) gold award renewed for five more years. The ERS recognises businesses

that are exemplary supporters of the Armed Forces Covenant - a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. National Express was chosen as the first company to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014 and re- signed for another five years in 2018.

HS2 Ltd signs research agreement

Birmingham-headquartered HS2 Ltd has signed an agreement with railway research centres in UK universities. The agreement with the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) will enable HS2 Ltd to be at the ‘forefront of innovation in the rail sector, and help accelerate new technologies and products from research into market applications globally’. The University of Birmingham will co-ordinate UKRRIN activities in

support of HS2 Ltd under the agreement, and support research and development activities at the three UKRRIN academic centres of excellence. HS2’s head of innovation, Howard Mitchell, said: “HS2 is a major opportunity for British academia and UK plc to come together and meet the challenge of delivering what is a huge investment in the country’s future. “The programme’s scale and longevity creates the right conditions to

develop solutions for HS2 and also the wider rail industry – both of which are crucial in helping Britain to decarbonise.”

54 CHAMBERLINK October 2020 The first project under the new agreement will be led by the University

of Birmingham and will be research into the performance of expansion joints used on high-speed rails. Professor Clive Roberts, director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway

Research and Education (BCRRE), added: "BCRRE works very closely with our industry partners to develop and deploy world-leading technologies onto the railway. “High speed rail is a vital part of the future of rail innovation in the UK

and we’re delighted to be joining forces with HS2 to play our part in that future.” Professor Stephen Jarvis, head of the College of Engineering and

Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham, said: “By supporting HS2’s research programme we can help accelerate advances that will improve the UK’s railways through increasing capacity and decreasing the system’s carbon footprint. “Through initiatives like this we can put the UK at the forefront of rail innovation and play our part in restoring the UK’s economy.”

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72