Stagecoach Group have announced it is to invest around £60million in hundreds of new greener vehicles for local communities across the UK.
The Perth-based transport group has placed initial orders for 390 buses and coaches for the 2012-13 financial year for its regional bus networks outside London. Further orders will be placed later in the year.
It follows an annual competitive tendering process and brings Stagecoach’s total investment in new vehicles for its regional bus operations over the past five years to more than £370m.
The first of the new vehicles will be delivered from May 2012. All of the new vehicles meet the latest Euro 5 emissions standards, further driving up the quality of bus travel for local people in Scotland, England and Wales.
Included in the fleet are the UK’s first orders for new 15m state-of-the-art interdeck coaches, which will run on Stagecoach Group’s growing megabus.com budget coach operations in the UK.
The new orders come only weeks after independent research again officially recognised Stagecoach as Britain’s best value major bus operator. Transport specialists TAS found weekly travel with Stagecoach was on average 17.5% cheaper than other bus operators.
Recent research by Stagecoach also found that travelling by bus instead of commuting by car could save drivers around £150 a month.
Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This latest multi-million-pound investment is part of our commitment to give local communities high-quality, good value bus travel. With sky-high fuel prices and the increasing cost of running a car, it makes more sense than ever to switch to greener, smarter bus travel.”
The latest orders include:?
• 11 Volvo B11 Plaxton Interdeck coaches, a new model for the UK. The 72-seat coaches are designed to allow level access wheelchair boarding. The coaches will be introduced on Stagecoach’s megabus.com services in the UK, which carry more than 3million passengers a year.
• 8 more vehicles for the highly successful Cambridgeshire Guided Busway – the longest in the world – which has now been used by more than a million passengers since it opened in August last year. The new buses – three ADL 400 Scania double-deckers and five Wrightbbus Eclipse Scania single-deckers – will run on 100% recycled biofuel on the transport link between Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge.
• 19 hybrid-electric vehicles, as previously announced, which are due to go into service in Perth and Aberdeen this summer. The ADL Enviro E350 single deck hybrid buses, which are also a new model to the UK, have been purchased through the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund at a total cost of £5.3 million, including a grant of £1.8million from the fund.
Vehicle manufacturers ADL, Scania, Plaxton, Volvo, Optare, Wrightbus and Van Hool will supply a total of 95 double-deckers, 87 single-deckers, 141 midi-buses, 11 mini-buses, 37 coaches and 19 Hybrid vehicles. All of the new vehicles are expected to go into service by January 2013.
Details of the new orders are as follows:
• 19 ADL Enviro 350H single-deckers (9 for Perth, 10 for Aberdeen)
• 38 ADL Enviro 400 Dennis Chassis double-deckers
• 57 ADL Enviro 400 Scania Chassis double-deckers
• 54 ADL Enviro 300 Dennis Chassis single-deckers
• 28 ADL Enviro 300 Scania Chassis single-deckers
• 5 Wrightbus Eclipse Volvo single-deckers
• 140 ADL Enviro 200 midi-buses
• 1 Optare Versa midi-bus
• 11 Optare Solo mini-buses
• 9 Plaxton Elite Volvo B13R coaches (15m)
• 10 Plaxton Panther Volvo B13R coaches (15m)
• 11 Plaxton Interdeck Volvo B11 coaches
• 7 Van Hool Astromega coaches
Stagecoach is already the UK’s biggest investor in green hybrid electric buses, which produce 30% less carbon emissions than standard buses. In the past year, Stagecoach has purchased 123 green hybrid electric buses at a cost of £23.5million to go into service at its operations in England, with a further £11million of funding coming from the Government’s Green Bus Fund.
A total of 26 ADL Enviro E400 hybrid buses are in operation in Oxford with a further 30 already serving passengers in Manchester. In addition, 21 of the state-of-the-art vehicles are in service in Sheffield, and 26 now operate in Newcastle. An additional 20 ADL Enviro E400 buses have also been ordered for Manchester and are due to go into operation in March this year.
For more information: www.stagecoachbus.com