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New Van Breakdown Assistance Launched

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Motor News | New Van Breakdown Assistance Launched | Andover & VillagesAllianz Global Assistance is launching a roadside assistance service for van owners, offering three different levels of cover, starting from as little as £46.50. With the new Van Breakdown Assistance cover, van owners, including sole traders, can minimise inconvenience in the event of their vehicle breaking down.

Allianz Global Assistance is a specialised brand of Allianz Worldwide Partners, a company with 35 plus years expertise in providing premium manufacturer branded roadside assistance schemes, supported by its own dedicated and extensive network of industry accredited motoring technicians across the UK.

“The launch of our new Van Breakdown Assistance cover follows the recent launch of our Car Breakdown Assistance, extending our expertise to benefit all van and light commercial vehicles owners, and enabling them to enjoy the same premium level of customer care as all car travellers,” explains Kate Walker, Head of Strategic Market Management for Allianz Worldwide Partners in the UK. “With highly qualified roadside assistance technicians, trained to manufacturer standards, we offer affordable breakdown cover that’s designed to keep drivers moving.”

Available online at www.allianz-assistance.co.uk, the Bronze, Silver and Gold packages offer van drivers various levels of cover, depending on their motoring needs. Twenty-four hour breakdown assistance and local van recovery for the driver and up to seven passengers comes as standard with all packages, including up to five call outs per year.

Bronze provides breakdown cover for those who are one mile or more away from their home and local recovery to the nearest garage if the van can’t be fixed by the roadside. Silver adds home assistance if the vehicle breaks down before the customer has even started a journey. Gold includes all the benefits of Bronze and Silver plus national recovery, the convenience of alternative transport, van hire or overnight accommodation, for less than £79.

Kate Walker adds “The launch of our 24-hour roadside assistance service for vans means we’re helping even more motorists get back on the road as quickly as possible. We aim to get vans fully fixed by the roadside, not a short term repair that will only get customers as far as a local garage, which is why we provide an hour of repair work at the roadside on all cover levels.

“Having a van stuck on the side of the road is more than an inconvenience, particularly for sole traders, as it compromises the level of service they can provide; it could lead to lost revenue and customers, and a damaged reputation. Our 24-hour roadside assistance is designed to help van drivers stay on the road, enjoying the same benefits as car owners.”

 

All Aboard For Better Bus Journeys

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Andover News |  All aboard for better bus journeys| Andover & VIllagesBus journeys in Hampshire are on the rise, and Hampshire County Council continues to work with bus operators to make bus journeys better for everyone.

With financial support from the County Council, bus operators in Hampshire are, for the first time, investing in contactless payment technology. Stagecoach has unveiled the first of their 395 buses fitted with the cash free option for passengers to hop on the bus as quickly and easily as possible.

Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “Modern ticketing technology means people can catch the bus without bothering about having the right change, or, in fact, any money on them at all. As passengers board buses quicker, this speeds up bus journey times and also means less waiting for others on the road as buses pick up passengers at bus stops.

“With free WiFi on board, audio/ visual next stop announcements, USB charging points on new buses, and now contactless payments, bus travel in Hampshire offers an up-to-date, comfortable and reliable travel choice – as bus journeys in Hampshire buck the national trend and journey numbers continue to rise.”

Edward Hodgson, Managing Director at Stagecoach South, said “The introduction of contactless is yet another demonstration of the practical improvements bus operators are making for passengers. This is a new fast, easy and secure way for customers to pay for bus travel and complements the many other technology solutions we have introduced recently. “More of our customers are using contactless cards to pay for coffee, sandwiches and many other day-to-day activities. Transport is a key part of people’s lives and this is another great reason for people to choose greener and smarter bus travel.”

As a result of additional Government funding for bus travel, the County Council has been able to support operators to bring forward investment in technology improvements for passengers. This means a total investment of over £1.6 million has been made in Hampshire buses, speeding up the installation of contactless technology in 2017.

By the end of this summer, around 900 buses in Hampshire will be fitted with contactless payment facilities. In Hampshire 31,507,986 bus journeys were made during 2016/2017, an increase on 31,422,811 in 2015/2016, which was a 20% rise on the total number of journeys ten years before.

Traffic Officer Advises How to Avoid Breakdowns

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Motor News | Traffic Officer Advises How to Avoid Breakdowns | Andover & VillagesWhether it’s a breakdown, collision or any other emergency on the roads, Highways England traffic officer Siobhan Wares is used to helping drivers during a crisis.

Now the 47-year-old mother-of-three is using her skills to help motorists heading off on holiday this summer get their vehicles ready for the road in a bid to cut the number of breakdowns.

Almost half of all breakdowns are caused by simple mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks and nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems.

Meanwhile, around 22 motorists broke down each day during July and August last year because they had run out of fuel.

Highways England is producing five short instructional videos on how to check tyre pressure, tyre tread, oil and water levels and lights to help prevent needless breakdowns and cut the unnecessary delays they cause.

Siobhan, from West Sussex, a South East-based traffic officer patrolling the M25 and other major routes, appears in each of the videos. She warned breakdowns can lead to more serious incidents.

She said: “We deal with lots of breakdowns, often caused by people running out of fuel or their engine seizing up, because they haven’t carried out the basic checks.

“What you have to think about is if you breakdown you’re not just putting yourself at risk. If you have family with you it’s your passengers as well as other road users too.”

Siobhan joined Highways England’s traffic officer service eight years ago as an operator in the South East Regional Control Centre, before becoming an on road traffic officer three years ago.

“A motorist breaking down on the M25 can end up completely blocking the motorway,” she said. “We recently had a motorist who told us he was heading for work and noticed a problem with the oil gauge. He thought he’d deal with it later and ended up breaking down on the motorway.

“It’s not rocket science; check your fuel, tyres, oil and water.”

The videos cover

Checking tyres: Prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.

Checking engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you're topping up more than usual.

Checking water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.

Checking lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MoT.

Motorists are also urged to:

Check fuel: Before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination.

Highways England Chief Executive, Jim O’Sullivan, said: “I want all drivers to arrive at their destinations safely during the summer holidays. We are urging motorists to make sure they are ready to go on their journeys by checking their fuel, tyres and oil. With a few simple checks everyone will be safer.”

For more detailed information on how to carry out your vehicle checks, visit http://think.direct.gov.uk/carchecks.html

Those wishing to find out more about driving on smart motorways can head online to: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway for further information.

More information can be found on our website or by calling our information line (0300 123 5000) they can keep up to date with conditions on the roads.

 

Investment In Hampshire Road Improvements Set To Rise By 40%

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Andover News | Investment in Hampshire road improvements to rise by 40 per cent | Andover & VillagesHampshire’s residents can expect to see a 40 per cent increase in investment into major road improvements over the next three years, following a decision this week by Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Rob Humby.

At his decision day meeting on 11 July, Councillor Humby approved plans to increase spending on major highway schemes. Investment in these programmes of work is set to increase from £34 million (spent in 2016/2017) to a projected £48.2 million in 2018/2019.

Councillor Humby explained: “All of our major improvement schemes aim to support Hampshire’s growing prosperity, and enhance quality of life, as more and more developments are built. We have already successfully delivered seven schemes across the county in the last financial year, and we are rapidly securing finance from Government to deliver more in the next three years.

“The quantity and scale of schemes we are delivering are rapidly growing, partly in response to demand but also as funding bids submitted to Government are becoming more and more successful. Indications from Government are that there will be an increase in funding for road schemes, and Hampshire County Council is well placed to bid for this funding. This is all thanks to the capacity, scale and expertise that our planners, designers and engineers put into realising these projects for the people of Hampshire.”

The seven major schemes completed in 2016/2017 were:

A30 Winchester Road Roundabout, Basingstoke

A340 Aldermaston, Basingstoke

Whitehill and Bordon Relief Road phase one

St Margaret’s Roundabout, Fareham

Peel Common Roundabout, Fareham

Asda Roundabout, Havant

Queens Roundabout, Farnborough

Four other major schemes are currently underway: two to improve journey times and reduce congestion on the A27 Fareham; one on Newgate Lane South in Fareham; and the fourth to support the regeneration of Whitehill and Bordon, by building a new relief road. In addition, major improvements to Crockford and Great Binfields Roundabouts in Basingstoke will begin in the next month.

Councillor Humby continued: “Ambition still runs high, and there is no let up for our teams at the County Council as we wait to hear about our £6.4 million bid submitted to Government to extend the successful BRT scheme in South Hampshire.”

For more information on all of Hampshire’s major highways schemes visit:

www.hants.gov.uk/transport

Campaign to Combat Fraudulent Sales of Vehicles Online Launched

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Motor News | Campaign to Combat Fraudulent Sales of Vehicles Online Launched | Andover & VillagesThe new campaign launched by Wiltshire Police and Get Safe Online, promotes two new check lists created by VSTAG, of which Get Safe Online is a member – one for buyers and one for sellers – to stop them getting caught out by fraudsters in an auto fraud scam.

Auto fraud scams happen Wiltshire Police and Get Safe Online have launched a new campaign today to help people buy and sell when unfortunate buyers get tricked into paying deposits or transportation fees for cars, vans or other vehicles that don’t exist, or buying a vehicle without checking its history, only to find out that it’s been written off by a previous owner.

Sellers can get tricked into handing over the keys or documents to a fraudulent buyer based on trust, without checking that there are cleared funds in their account.

Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online said: “Millions of transactions take place online every day of which only a small fraction are fraudulent but who wants to get caught out by a scammer when you’re dealing with a high value sale such as buying or selling a car? Our checklists created with VSTAG has been designed to help people buy and sell vehicles online safely so the experience from beginning to end is positive. We urge anyone who is thinking of buying or selling online to take the time to read our easy to follow checklist to make sure you don’t become a victim of auto fraud.”

VSTAG Buyers Checklists

• Paying a deposit: If a deposit is requested or agreed, don’t pay more than you are willing to lose and confirm with the seller that they will refund the deposit if you don’t purchase the vehicle

• View the vehicle before paying the full amount: We recommend researching the seller as well as their vehicle. Most fraudulent sellers will try to persuade you to transfer money before you’ve even laid eyes on the vehicle. Often, they will insist on communicating only via email rather than on the phone

• Always check that the price of the vehicle is in line with the market value: If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is: If the vehicle seems ‘too good to be true’, it can be a sign of fraud. Research other similar vehicles or perform a free valuation on Auto Trader. If the vehicle is below market value, beware. Ask the seller questions about its valuation, there may be underlying reasons if the vehicle is under-priced

• Take the vehicle for a test drive: Be sure to thoroughly inspect any vehicle you are looking to purchase, and take it for a test drive. This should always be done from the seller’s premises or their home; never let the person meet you halfway

• Always carry out a vehicle history check:?This will tell you if the vehicle is recorded as stolen, written off, scrapped, or is subject to outstanding finance

• Payment advice Never send money for a vehicle you haven’t seen. Don’t carry large amounts of cash VSTAG Sellers Checklists

• Be prepared: Have all the relevant paperwork together, such as the V5C, service history and MOT certificate, for a potential buyer to review. Buyers may wish to check details such as the address on the V5C and the mileage in the most recent MOT certificate. Never let the buyer photograph your documents

• Beware of scammers: Always meet the buyer. Request?the potential buyer’s contact details, such as their phone number and full home address. Proof of identity such as driving licence is ideal. This should give you further reassurances, and?a legitimate buyer should be happy to provide this information

• Test drive advice: Make sure you ask the buyer to bring their driving licence and proof of insurance if they want to test drive the vehicle. Check their level of insurance to test drive, this should prevent you being liable for damages

• Stay on home ground: Always arrange to meet a buyer at your home, never meet halfway or at their premises

• Never allow a buyer to test drive the vehicle alone: Never leave a potential buyer alone with the vehicle, nor give them the keys. If you have a keyless fob, keep hold of it at all times, even on a test drive. However, never jeopardise your personal safety and if you feel uncomfortable at any time, walk away

• Payment: Never release the vehicle until you have confirmation that the payment to you is cleared funds. If you accept a cheque or bankers draft for payment, be aware it can take days for these funds to clear

Lee Stripe, Cyber Crime Manager said: “Though not every transaction is a potential scam, you will need to be cautious. Scams aren’t just something for buyers to be aware of, sellers can be targets too.

“Buying or selling a vehicle online can be quick and easy and there is potential for good deals to be had, but by following these checklists from VSTAG you can reduce the likelihood of falling victim to auto fraud scams.

“If an offer seems too good to be true it probably is, do your research into the vehicle, seller or buyer and never part with your hard earned money without seeing the vehicle first.”

M3 gets first ‘Orange’ Smart Motorway Emergency Area

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Motoring News | M3 gets first ‘Orange’ Smart Motorway Emergency Area | Andover & VillagesThe first of a new-style smart motorway emergency area, where drivers can stop in an emergency, is being trialled on the M3 in Surrey.

The redesigned emergency area has a highly visible orange road surface and better signs to help improve its visibility make it more obvious to drivers on smart motorways. It is also hoped that it will encourage drivers to only use them in emergency situations.

Andover Advertising with Mr TyresThe first of the new emergency areas went live on the M3 near Camberley this morning (Friday 14 July). More upgrades are planned should the trial be successful. This change is part of an ongoing review into the design and spacing of emergency areas on smart motorways that is due to report in the autumn.

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: "We recognise the public concern about smart motorways and we also believe that changes such as these will help drivers have confidence when using them and be clear about where they can stop in an emergency.

“That is why we are trialling these highly visible new style emergency areas. The bright orange colouring will make them as easy as possible to spot and should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations.

“This is just one of the ways we are helping drivers to understand smart motorways and their benefits. I hope it helps drivers feel more confident about using a smart motorway.”

Smart motorways use variable speed limits to manage traffic and tackle frustrating stop-start congestion, new technology to give drivers better information on road conditions ahead and – in smart motorway upgrades delivered since 2004 – convert the hard shoulder into an extra traffic lane. Evidence shows that smart motorways are successfully adding extra capacity, improving journey times and are just as safe as conventional motorways.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our roads are some of the safest in the world but we are always looking at making them safer.

"Smart motorways are adding extra lanes to our busiest motorways and – as recent evidence shows – reducing the rate of crashes.

"We are making emergency refuge areas more visible to ensure motorists in trouble can easily identify where to stop safely."

The redesigned emergency area supports Highways England’s drive to improve awareness of smart motorway driving, including what to do in an emergency and when to use an emergency area. It sits alongside a national TV, radio and social media campaign covering key themes such as not driving in lanes closed by Red X signs, how to stop in an emergency and the importance of carrying out appropriate vehicle checks, like checking fuel levels, before setting out on a journey to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.

If the redesigned emergency areas are successful and drivers find the changes beneficial, more orange emergency areas will be introduced across England’s network of smart motorways.