Bus patronage in Britain predictably plummeted in the early days of 2021 after strengthened movement restrictions were introduced. But it has not plumbed the depths seen in the earlier stages of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT).Outside London, on the year’s first working day – Monday 4 January – buses carried 29% of the passenger volume recorded in the third week of January 2020, which DfT uses as a reference. That figure dropped to 24% by Wednesday 6 January. It rallied slightly to 26% on Monday 11 January, the most recent day for which data is available.Weekend ridership is at similar levels. Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 January saw 25% and 31% respectively, declining to 23% and 25% respectively seven days later. In London, usage figures have hovered in the mid- to low-30% area, bottoming out thus far for 2021 on Friday 8 January with 31%.Outside the capital, the last full working week of December saw patronage peak at 58% on Tuesday 15 December 2020. That return has been bettered on only 10 days since 18 March 2020.Bus patronage in London for the early part of January 2020 was ahead of that in the remainder of Britain, but it is still much lower than late 2020January’s decline in bus patronage has undone most of the good work done by operators during the second half of 2020.But the figures for early 2021 thus far are stronger than those seen during the first period of movement restrictions in the early months of that year.Outside London during that period, bus use was at 20% or below for 81 of 82 consecutive days from 24 March to 13 June 2020. No data was recorded on 8 May 2020. Patronage bottomed out at 10% on four of those days.Despite the low figures in the early days of 2021, bus patronage both within and outside London as a percentage of previous figures is ahead of other public transport modes. Neither national rail nor London Underground services have exceeded usage of 20% since 29 December 2020, although differing methodology is used in both those instances. In the former case, some returns are provisional.
By Saumojyoti S Choudhury New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) Back to the country after exactly a year, former chief coach Neil Hawgood was supposed to join the Indian womens hockey team as an assistant to Matthias Ahrens this time but in a sudden turn of events, the Australian will now resume duties in his previous capacity. Hawgood served as the Indian womens hockey teams chief coach for a period of more than two years before quitting in November last year citing personal reasons. A day back Hockey India, however, announced that the Australian will now return to the country only as a coach. But things changed overnight as after detailed discussions with Sports Authority of India (SAI), Hawgood told PTI that he will join the team back as chief coach and not as an assistant. “Hockey India approached me and enquired with me whether I was interested to join the womens team again. Once I got the offer I didnt have a second thought as I always maintained that I am open to return to the girls with whom I shared a special bonding,” Hawgood told PTI in an interview. Asked whether he had any apprehensions in joining the team in a much lower capacity offered to him this time, the Australian said: “They didnt mention any particular position. My original brief from Hockey India was that whether I am interested to be a part of the coaching team again. And I just yes. “But things changed yesterday after discussions with SAI officials. I will now join the team back as chief coach. I have signed the contract and it is beyond December 2016. Matthias too didnt have any problem. I knew him for a long time and all parties are quite happy with the situation,” he said. Hawgood, who coached the Indian womens squad from July 2012 till November 2014, enjoyed a good stint with the side having led the girls to the bronze medal in the 2013 junior World Cup. Under Hawgoods leadership, the Indian womens team showed a lot of progress. India won the bronze in the 17th Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea besides a first-ever bronze medal in the junior World Cup. PTI SSC PM PMadvertisement
Embattled Macau hotel The 13 is no longer the proud owner of the world’s largest Rolls-Royce fleet after reaching an agreement to sell 24 of its 30 vehicles.Parent company South Shore Holdings revealed on Thursday that it was disposing of the famed bright red Rolls-Royce Phantoms for a total consideration of HK$24 million (US$3.1 million), or HK$1 million each, in order to pay down part of its bank loan. The buyer is named as Ms Cai Yanping.It is less than three years since The 13 first took delivery of the fleet in September 2016 at an estimated cost of US$20 million. At the time, the cars were touted as some of the most luxurious ever produced with a specially formulated “Stephen Red” exterior paint designed by then Chairman Stephen Hung, bespoke 21” wheels and an interior clock by master jeweler Graff. The fleet also included two special ‘gold’ phantoms reserved for select guests.The 13 finally held a soft opening in August 2018 after a disastrous development period that included a total of seven deadline extensions due to difficulties in financing the lavish property – located south of Macau’s Cotai Strip. Although it now accepts guests for private events, a number of rooms remain unfinished due to a lack of funds.South Shore Holdings has recently been involved in ongoing negotiations with an unnamed party regarding a potential investment of up to HK$1.5 billion.