Thursday, 20 November 2014

give a shit and save the planet

Britain's first bus powered by human waste is taking to the streets.

The 40-seater "Bio-Bus" is fuelled by biomethane gas generated by the treatment of sewage and food waste at a processing plant.

A single tank of the gas, which is produced using the typical annual waste of five people, is enough to power the vehicle for 190 miles.

Bosses said the ground-breaking vehicle will improve air quality and proves there is value in human poo.

The maiden voyage will see the first passengers travel on the route from Bristol Airport to the historical city of Bath, Somerset.

The gas is being produced at a Wessex Water sewerage plant run by energy firm GENeco.

Mohammed Saddiq, director of GENeco, said: "Gas powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities.

"But the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself."

The annual waste of a bus-load of people would provide enough power for a return journey from Land's End to John O'Groats while producing less emissions than a diesel engine.


Charlotte Morton, chief executive of eco-friendly organisation Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, said: "The bus also clearly shows that human poo and our wasted food are valuable resources.

"Food which is unsuitable for human consumption should be separately collected and recycled through anaerobic digestion into green gas and biofertilisers, not wasted in landfill sites or incinerators."

GENeco this week also became the first company to start delivering gas generated from human waste directly to 8,300 homes by the national grid.

The waste plant in Avonmouth, Bristol, treats 75 million cubic metres of sewage waste, and 35,00 tonnes of food waste, every year.

Using anaerobic digestion - the process of using bacteria to break down substances in the absence of oxygen - the plant is able to produce 17 million tonnes of biome thane a year.

Story taken from The Telegraph

Friday, 7 November 2014

Lego gets ready for Christmas

Simple, stylish and spot on  - this series of posters give a great reason to get your kids (or yourself) into Lego.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

is social media right for public transport operators?

At mhd we're quite partial to a bit of social media of an evening (and lunch hour to be honest), and so are lots of our friends. It's great.

We all follow people, subjects and brands that interest us - celebrities, sports people, actors, musicians, television shows, hobbies, friends etc.

To help with their daily commute, some of our friends even follow their local bus/train/tram company. As they know where we work and the clients mhd works with, we often get quizzed as to why transport companies don't make their social media messaging service specific.

Why does Neil get updates on all Northern Rail's services when he only ever catches the train from Huddersfield? Likewise, Judy wants to know why she has to receive tweets on all buses from Nottingham City Transport, when, day in day out, she only gets the 17 to the hospital?

Well, because it would be virtually impossible to have a Twitter/Facebook feed for every service you operate. Right?

So unless you're a heavy Twitter/Facebook user or you spend time looking for your service, you'll probably miss an important update on your service anyway.

Surely service updates are better off served to the customer and personalised for them? This could be done via your website, SMS text messaging or via an app that customers can subscribe to and then pops up alerts when their service is late or held up etc. Most importantly, you don't have to go looking for it, it's a transmission.

So far, we're not aware of any companies offering services like this. Are we wrong? Let us know!

Which brings us onto the other big downside of social media - complaints, negative feedback and the general slagging off of public transport companies.

Of all the transport companies we follow, about 90% of all tweets and comments seem to be people moaning and about the service. And they're there, in public, for all to see!

You wouldn't put all the letters of complaint you recieve on your website, so why have them on Facebook/Twitter? This just adds to the negative stigma attached to public transport that we are all constantly trying to fight against.

Let's face it, in the real world nobody ever tweets to say 'Hey my bus was on time today!'. Nobody comments on Facebook saying 'Lovely clean bus on the way to work this morning' (unless they are being ironic). Why would they? It should be.

We know getting real-time information to your customers is vital. But make it relevant. Don't make them look for it. Keep it private.

Most of your customers don't want to 'engage' with a bus or train company. They're too busy with their day-to-day life. They just want their service on time, clean, politely staffed and good value.

Have you ever wondered why the biggest, most profitable brand in the world - Apple, isn't on Facebook or Twitter and disables comments on their YouTube videos? Because they believe in power of traditional media, with all complaints and 'customer engagement' kept private.

So have a think. Is social media actually a benefit to your business or is it more of a hinderance using up valuable resources that could be used in a better way?