Almost exactly four years after its high-profile launch of Megabus Gold, Stagecoach has announced that the genuinely groundbreaking service is to cease on 21 May.The lower deck seats 17, converting into 10 berths, and the upper deck 38, converting into 32 berthsIn a statement it says: “While our sleepercoach services have proved popular with a loyal core base of customers, unfortunately the overall level of demand has been below the level required for us to be able to continue the routes.“Despite our efforts, it has not been possible to develop a sustainable customer base to ensure the longer term financial viability of the services.“The long-distance travel market is extremely competitive, and we have faced strong competition from low-cost airlines, rail services and the private car benefitting from low fuel prices.”The pilot service, using converted Volvo B10M artic-coaches, started in 2011 under the Megabus brand. The arrival of 10 new Van Hool TDX29 14.7m tri-axles in April 2013 – each costing £500,000 – was followed by three more as the routes expanded.Three sleepercoach coach routes from London to Glasgow-Aviemore-Inverness; Edinburgh-Ferrytoll-Dunfermline-Falkirk and Cumbernauld-Perth-Dundee-Aberdeen run each way overnight. During the day the coaches are used on luxury Megabus Gold routes in Scotland.At the launch, the project was said to be the realisation of a 30-year ambition for then CEO Brian SouterThe lower deck seats 17, converting into 10 berths, and the upper deck 38, converting into 32 berths.At the launch, Stagecoach said the break-even point was 40 berths.Now, 10 of the vehicles are used on Megabus Gold, based at Cumbernauld, the other three are driver trainers at Rugby, Cwmbran and Cumbernauld. Stagecoach says it is “looking at options regarding the vehicles.”At the launch, the project was said to be the realisation of a 30-year ambition for then CEO Brian Souter, and had to overcome many technical hurdles. Average yields were expected to be £40; four years on, prices have changed little – single tickets can easily be had for £29.
Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT) celebrated National Homeownership Month at Putney resident Dennis Miller’s new home at Locust Hill Mobile Home Park Tuesday. Miller is the first homeowner to purchase an energy efficient modular home through USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program.“Manufactured homes have long offered an affordable housing option for many Vermonters, however older manufactured homes often have high maintenance and operational costs,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire State Director. “The energy cost savings of new manufactured and modular homes, combined with USDA’s long-term, low-rate, no-down-payment mortgages, offer existing and potential manufactured housing park residents new financing opportunities.”Miller, a Putney resident employed by the Putney School, purchased a Vermont-made Net Zero Energy Capable VERMOD and placed it in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park owned by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Miller’s purchase, coordinated by Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, was completed with financial support from Champlain Housing Trust, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Efficiency Vermont and USDA Rural Development.USDA Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program allows low income homebuyers to purchase a high-performance modular or manufactured home in a manufactured home park using a 30 to 33-year mortgage at 3 percent. Very low income homebuyers may be eligible for an interest subsidy down to 1 percent. Brady noted that park tenants seeking a mortgage to purchase a new home and site it on a leased manufactured park lot traditionally face short-term, high-interest mortgages.Two models of high-performance homes have been approved for purchase through the pilot program, the Better Homes AHEAD Manufactured Home and the VERMOD modular home. Homeowners in Rural Development-approved parks are eligible for participation in the program. More information on Rural Development’s Energy Efficient Manufactured Home Pilot Program can be found on the Rural Development website or by contacting Jill Chapman at (802) 828-6022 or by email at [email protected](link sends e-mail).Rural Development and Windham & Windsor Housing Trust celebrated Miller’s new home and Homeownership Month during a service project in the Locust Hill Mobile Home Park. Park residents and community members joined staff in cleaning the park and in planting a community garden.The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust has been strengthening the communities of Southeast Vermont through the development and stewardship of permanently affordable housing and through ongoing support and advocacy for its residents since 1987. WWHT now provides 707 affordable apartments throughout Windham and Windsor counties, coaching to families to help them prepare for and navigate the home buying process, and direct loans to homeowners for repairs, energy upgrades and accessibility improvements. For more information, visit our website at www.w-wht.orgor(link is external) call us at 802-254-4604.USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of $213 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/vt (link is external)) or contact USDA RD at (802) 828-6000.PUTNEY, VT. (June 21, 2016)- The U.S. Department of Agriculture