Thursday, 28 April 2016

FIRSTGROUP ANNOUNCES £70M INVESTMENT IN 305 NEW BUSES

FirstGroup, has announced that its bus division has ordered 305 new vehicles worth £70m.

·        All new vehicles fitted with free on board Wi-Fi
·        More customers to benefit from on board USB charging points
·        FirstGroup continues to be one of the largest operators of Low Carbon Emission Buses in the UK
·        87% of buses are DfT ‘Low Carbon Certified’ saving 4 million kgs of CO2 every year
·        98% of order to be manufactured in UK

The order by First Bus underlines its commitment to provide high quality services for its customers and partners and brings the company’s investment over the last six years to £455m in 2,500 new vehicles.


The order also consolidates First Bus’s position as one of the largest operators of Low Carbon Emission Buses in the UK. 87% of the new vehicles will be Department for Transport approved ‘low carbon certified’, which First Bus estimates will save 4 million kg of CO2 per year. The 2016/17 investment will bring the company’s fleet of low carbon certified vehicles to around 1,000, believed to be one of the largest in the UK, saving in total an estimated 14.5 million kg of CO2 annually.

All 305 new buses will be fitted with the latest Euro VI engines, which produce 95% less oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions compared to buses with Euro V engines and as a result will help improve air quality in the towns and cities in which First Bus operates.  



The order is good news for customers.  All the new buses will feature the latest technology, with complementary on board Wi-Fi providing passengers with free internet access, and by the end of the financial year around 60% of the 6,300 First Bus fleet will be Wi-Fi enabled.  Most passengers will also benefit from leather seats, while some of the new vehicles will be fitted with next stop audio-visual display screens and around 30% with USB charging points, allowing customers to charge their phones and tablets on the move.

The investment in technology to help keep customers connected on board reflects the commitment by First Bus to deliver a customer centric service that is simple, smart and seamless.  Many First Bus customers are already benefiting from smart ticketing options and Real Time Information, while all customers can use their mobile phones as bus tickets through the company’s m-Ticket option.  The company’s drive for innovative customer friendly improvements will continue through 2016/17.

With 98% of the order to be manufactured in the UK, the fleet investment by First Bus provides a big boost to British manufacturing helping to support hundreds of UK jobs.  Scottish firm ADL will manufacture 204 vehicles, while Northern Ireland’s Wrightbus has secured an order for 91 buses, and Volvo has won a contract to build 10 coach chassis in Sweden, with the bodies manufactured by ADL.  


Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said the order, which comprises 204 double deckers (the largest ever First Bus order of double deckers), will help encourage more customers across the UK to use the bus: “This is great news for First Bus customers.  We are determined to make the bus a more compelling proposition, attract more customers and grow our business.  Ensuring that our customers travel in modern, comfortable, fit for purpose vehicles which provide added value such as free Wi-Fi and USB charging is pivotal to our customer engagement strategy and our future success.”

He continued: “In 2015, we announced the largest order on record in the UK for vehicles with Euro VI engines, complementing efforts from our partners in local councils to improve air quality in our towns and cities.  Our 2016 order again reflects our commitment to working with our partners to reduce emissions and improve the environment.”  

“First Bus is proud to continue supporting British bus manufacturers,” he added.  “Our manufacturing partners continue to lead the world in quality, innovation, fuel efficiency and value for money.  I’m pleased that we’ve again invested heavily in our fleet and our tradition of supporting the British manufacturing industry remains strong.”

Recognising the commitment by First Bus to its partnerships, by way of many examples 14 new buses will enter service in Doncaster this month (April) marking the start of the ‘Doncaster Bus Partnership’ in May.  The successful Sheffield Bus Partnership will benefit from a further 10 new vehicles. The strong developing partnership in Cornwall will see First Bus invest £7.1m in 30 new vehicles.  Meanwhile thanks to high profile partnerships in the West of England, particularly Bristol, 68 new vehicles worth £18.1m are earmarked for its operations.

Full details of the First Bus order:

Manufacturer
Vehicle Model
Quantity
ADL / Volvo
Plaxton (ADL) body / B11R (Volvo) chassis coaches
10
ADL
Enviro 200 MMC single decker
71
ADL
Enviro 400 MMC double decker
80
ADL
Enviro 400 MMC Gyro double decker
8
ADL
Enviro 400 double decker (exact spec to be confirmed)
45
Wrightbus
StreetDeck double decker
71
Wrightbus
StreetLite Max single decker
20

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