The £60 million which bosses plan to spend on fleet improvement will buy almost 400 new vehicles during 2012 and 2013, with more orders anticipated in the next six months.
Stagecoach has already spent significant amounts of capital on new vehicles and fleet improvement programmes, and this latest announcement brings the company’s total spending over the last five years to well over £350 million.
As well as being able to offer improved services to customers, all the new vehicles – which will start to be delivered in May this year – meet European environmental standards on emissions. Stagecoach already has an impressive reputation when it comes to green operations, having invested £25 million on over 120 hybrid buses which claim to reduce emissions by up to 30%.
The Government’s Green Bus Fund contributed £11 million to these purchases and many of these buses are already in operation in cities across the UK, from Oxford to Sheffield. A further 20 ADL Enviro E400 vehicles will be added to the Stagecoach fleet in Manchester later in 2012.
Perth, in the Scottish Highlands, and Aberdeen will be the first cities north of the border served by the environmentally-friendly ADL Enviro E400 buses when another 19 vehicles start operations in the summer. Stagecoach bought the vehicles at a cost to the company of just £3.5 million, with the Scottish Government’s Green Bus Fund adding another £2 million.
As well as these environmentally-friendly buses, the £60 million investment also includes a number of new Interdeck vehicles, which have been bought for the company’s Megabus long-distance coach services. Wheelchair accessible and able to seat over 70 people, the Interdeck models offer more room and more comfort than the standard coaches currently servicing Megabus routes all over the UK.
Stagecoach is also buying another eight specially-designed vehicles for the successful Cambridge guided busway; five single deckers and three double deckers which run on recycled bio-fuel. The busway, which has already been used by more than a million people since it opened in August 2011, is the longest transport system of its type in the world, linking the towns of Cambridge, Huntingdon and St Ives.
Based in the Scottish town of Perth, Stagecoach is now one of the most successful public transport companies in the UK and was recently recognised as the best value bus operator in the UK by an independent survey. Transport research group TAS looked at routes and costs across the country and found that Stagecoach, which now has some kind of presence in most regions, was over 17% cheaper for weekly travel than its competitors.
Research carried out by Stagecoach themselves suggests that commuters could save almost £150 each week if they took the bus to work rather than driving. Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, Les Warneford, said that now was the right time for Stagecoach to be investing in more vehicles as rising fuel prices and environmental concerns were causing many drivers to leave the car at home and take the bus instead.