During October 2010 it was announced that the Department for Transport would fund 26 new hybrids double deck Enviro 400's for Newcastle. http://www.focustransport.org.uk/fhybrid1.aspx#green
Apparently the first of these vehicles has been delivered to Stagecoach Walkergate depot with others to follow shortly. A picture of the first vehicle can be found on
At the time of the announcement in October, a Stagecoach press release contained a statement from Newcastle Councillor Wendy Taylor saying that “We recognise that the benefits of hybrid engine technology extend beyond those than can be measured purely in terms of fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. This new fleet of buses will have a significant role to play in the social and economic success of the city and they are an important resource for residents, commuters and visitors. “The city council will actively support these services by introducing an environmental zone and air quality management area in a central location and stepping up enforcement measures to improve reliability. We continue to work with partners to seek funding for further major investment in key routes in the city as we strive to remain at the forefront of innovation in transport and energy.”
Unfortunately these were just words and there will be no measures put in place, in fact the situation appears even worse, as the council are said to be cutting short the extremely useful bus lane on Barrack Road, Newcastle which will force buses to re-join a single lane with other vehicles before again taking to the next bus lane beyond the junction with Strawberry Place. The roadworks involved in this madness are causing immense delays to Stagecoach services resulting in the company diverting buses and missing out stops.
Are Newcastle Council failing in their duties? It would appear so.
As for stepping up enforcement measures, only the police can can enforce moving traffic offences in the very heart of the city where every few minutes an illegal vehicle enters the Blackett Street bus lane. Unfortunately the police are lazy and say "we don't have the resources" so this is the welcome that the new buses will receive when they enter service, congestion, late running and bungling officials who just don't care.
David Gambles 13/06/11