Driving To Deliver Your Business


Why travel brands see ground-based transport on the road ahead

The online skies may be crowded with companies selling flights but digital companies in the rail, bus and car sector see boom times ahead. Senay Boztas reports Bus travel is taking off – certainly if you talk to entrepreneurs who are moving from the crowded space of selling air flights online to trains, buses and car trips.

Clare Gilmartin, chief executive of the Trainline online ticket seller which has just added coach journeys to its offering, said that she sees clear tracks ahead for expansion in ground trips. “Rail and coach is a £250bn global market and 70% of it is bought offline,” she told the EyeforTravel Europe[1] summit in London earlier this month. “My phone is full of pictures of ticket queues across Europe. We added coach [travel] because it was very adjacent – the first ticket we sold was for someone who had missed their train at midnight.”

Rail and coach is a £250bn global market and 70% of it is bought offline

Some travel businesses believe that rail could have more barriers, though, for international travellers who don’t understand the network in a new country – and this is an opportunity for businesses to offer more personalised service.

Didier Pinson, CIO at Rail Europe, explained that the key to encouraging people to stay on the ground is a helping hand. “Most of our customers don’t understand the train system in Europe and in some cases are scared of it,” he said. “How to go from Paris Gare du Nord to the Gard du Lyon is scary for foreigners. Or using the subway in London. We have backpackers, families, businesses, seniors and we have to cope with their requests and requirements.”

Online ticketing does not suit all markets, he added: “Japanese customers expect you to print a ticket, put it nicely in an envelope and send it to their home address – while Americans complain that you haven’t sent the bar code to their phone.” Room for growth Rod Cuthbert, chairman of Rome2rio travel search engine agreed that the ground transport has space to grow. “Trainline sells half a million tickets a week online – we just don’t give a lot of prominence to these companies as Expedia and others haven’t got to rail yet,” he said.

“A very small percentage of road, rail and ferry is booked online. There’s tremendous opportunity for us as a company and for the industry to integrate that into their business.” Meanwhile, Brenda van Leeuwen, chief executive of Eurail – selling rail passes for Europe – said that the everyday nature of rail might have stopped travellers considering it for holidays. “Is air more attractive and rail seen as a commuter transport for work, or is it to do with technology?” she wondered. “Teaming up with Skyscanner or Expedia is the right way to go.

There need to be more talks to give rail a prominent place.”

There need to be more talks [with the likes of Skyscanner and Expedia] to give rail a prominent place

She believes that rail has a great advantage in connecting travellers to local communities. “People travel by train to get in contact with locals, and we are thinking about connecting travellers to help each other too,” she added. Meanwhile some start ups see opportunities in personal drivers: Tomas Turek, chief executive of Daytrip Europe[2], which connects tourists to English-speaking car drivers in 29 European countries, said: “There’s definitely a lot of growth ahead. We are teaching people to use ground transport instead of flights or trains.

For Americans coming to Europe, it’s a great relief to have someone drive them, show them around, and help with the local language.” Cutting down on flights could[3] be a quick way to reduce your environmental impact[4] too. So perhaps it’s time to save the skies, and look at the world from the ground.

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Join us at one of our upcoming events in Las Vegas or Amsterdam [5][6]


  1. ^ EyeforTravel Europe (www.eyefortravel.com)
  2. ^ Daytrip Europe (mydaytrip.com)
  3. ^ could (www.eea.europa.eu)
  4. ^ environmental impact (footprint.wwf.org.uk)
  5. ^ Las Vegas (events.eyefortravel.com)
  6. ^ Amsterdam (events.eyefortravel.com)

Bharat Forge Invests $13.5 Mn in UK’s Electric Truck Startup Tevva

Home startup funding[1][2]

India’s auto component giant Bharat Forge has made a strategic investment of £13.5 million (GBP10 million) or about Rs.90 crores in Tevva Motors, a British and Israeli electric truck company incorporated and registered under the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 carrying out its operations from Chelmsford, UK. As part of this investment, Bharat Forge has also acquired a license for commercialization of the Tevva technology within India for strengthening its Research and Development activities in the e-mobility space. Founded in 2012 by Asher Bennett, a former submarine officer in the Israeli Navy, Tevva provides electric power-train solutions for Commercial Vehicles & buses in the 7.5-14 T weight category.

This is soon to be extended for the development of new Commercial Vehicles, especially trucks and buses.

The investment in Tevva will help Bharat Forge to move at the forefront in the fast-growing Electric Vehicle market to identify technology trends and co-develop solutions for electric mobility in India and abroad. Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge Limited, commenting on the investment said, “This will also bring very focused and state-of-the-art EV powertrain solutions to our customers in India and worldwide. This investment coupled with the ongoing work at Tork Motorcycles will enable Bharat Forge to gain better understanding of the 2-wheeler and the Commercial Vehicle EV space.”

It must be recalled that, besides Tevva, in February Bharat Forge made another strategic investment[3] of about Rs 300 million to acquire 45% stake in Pune-based electric vehicle startup TORK Motors. Bharat Forge has been working on its R & D and technology strategy in the Electric Vehicle space over the last few years. This is Bharat Forge’s 3rd major initiative in the EV space, and comes shortly after the start of the ‘Engineering and Development Centre’ at MIRA, UK and the investment in Tork Motorcycles Pvt.

Ltd., India. Tork Motorcycles mainly focused on electric two wheelers and/or premium electric motor cycles. Via – ET Auto[4]

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Bharat Forge Invests $13.5 Mn in UK’s Electric Truck Startup Tevva

An engineer by education and writer by profession, Suman keeps tab on startup ecosystem of India and leads the research team of IndiaWeb2 for covering funding deals, merger & acquisition and market reports.

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£4 million announced to tackle killer Shropshire A-road

Five people have died on the A529 between Hinstock and Audlem since 2012. Now Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP has awarded Shropshire Council GBP3,888,000 to spend on improving safety. Between January 2012 and July 2017 there were five fatal, 12 serious and 60 slight crashes on the road.

Along with the people killed there were also 16 serious injuries and 98 slight injuries as a result of the crashes. Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said today: “This is great news and I welcome the award of this money that will enable us to carry out essential and much-needed safety work on this dangerous stretch of road. “I’m delighted that our bid, combined with lobbying the government, has been successful and I look forward to work starting at the earliest opportunity.”

The council’s bid for funding highlighted the need for changes at the Mount Pleasant crossroads and the A41 junction near Hinstock, where there have been a number of serious accidents. However, it also said that the problems with the road were not limited to those two areas, and that the entire route needed assessing. It stated: “While there is an accident cluster at the Mount Pleasant crossroads, the majority of the accidents are dispersed along the whole route.

This reinforces the approach of proactively addressing and reducing the known risks that could result in serious or fatal injuries along the route as a whole.”

Advertising Changes could include signs, shoulder rumble strips, shoulder sealing, roadside barriers, skid resistance, clearing roadside hazards, central hatching, traffic calming and a cycle lane. Specific measures are also planned to address the Mount Pleasant crossroads and the A41 junction near Hinstock.

The award was one of the largest from Department for Transport’s GBP100m Safer Roads Fund, which has been split between the 50 most dangerous stretches of ‘A’ roads in England. Councillor Davenport said the authority and their consultant WSP are now going through the detail of the announcement, and will draw up plans for the work.

Advertising It will involve various safety improvements at key locations on the A529.

They will include junction and visibility improvements, and better road markings and signing. The work is set to start before the end of March 2019, and will initially focus on the design of the scheme.

Police welcome funding announcement

Shropshire police today welcomed the funding announcement. Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell, policing lead for Shropshire and Telford, said it would help improve safety.

He also moved to remind people about the dangers of drink driving. “We’re really pleased with the Government’s announcement to invest in some of the most dangerous stretches of A roads in the county, in particular in our rural areas,” he said. “Our Safer Neighbourhood Teams work very closely with our Operations Policing Unit to make our roads even safer and a lot of work has been done recently to highlight the importance of road safety, this work will continue and we will be supporting the Safer Roads Partnership drink drive campaign launched to coincide with the start of the World Cup.

“Drink driving is one of the four most likely causes of a collision where someone dies or is seriously injured and our advice is simply don’t do it. “During the summer months we also see more and more people going out on motorbikes and would urge motorists to always think bike. “Everyone has a part to play in road safety and by working together we can all play a part in making our roads safer.”

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said the funding would help make roads safer. He said: “Too many people are dying or seriously injured on our roads, and it is excellent news that the government are making this a priority. The national investment in resources for policing and the significant progress so far is great news for our communities, particularly those in rural areas where the risks can be higher.

“I am also reassured by the progress of West Mercia Police locally, with extensive work around enforcement, and awareness to target and change driver attitude.

Road safety continues to be a high priority for me, and I will continue to ensure everyone is working together to keep road users safe.”

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