Wednesday 31 May 2023

Wrightbus 'GB Kite Electroliner' Classed As The Most Efficient On UK’s Roads.

Wrightbus has hit another green milestone after its single deck Zero Emission Bus was classed as the most efficient on the UK’s roads.

Official assessments undertaken at UTAC’s Millbrook proving ground, using the ZEMO-accredited Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) test showed that the GB Kite Electroliner achieved a result of 0.66 kWh/km. 
This is around three-quarters of the energy consumed by its closest electric single deck UK rival.

Not only is it more energy-efficient, but according to ZEB test calculations, the GB Kite Electroliner also produces an impressive 86 per cent less CO2 per km than the diesel baseline.

The results mean operators using the GB Kite over its rivals could prevent 3.8 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere per year for each bus in their fleet, as well as saving over £4,300 per bus in running costs.

For a fleet of 100 buses, over a 15-year lifecycle, that is the equivalent of a reduction of 5,650 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and a saving of £6.5 million.

Jean-Marc Gales, Chief Executive at Wrightbus, said: “We are rightly proud that our Streetdeck Electroliner is recognised as the world’s most efficient electric double deck bus, and we have taken that technology into the development of our single decks.

“The GB Kite, which we unveiled at the end of 2021, shares 85% of the components and technology that make up the Streetdeck and the rationale behind this is borne out by the impressive results from UTAC.

“We have a tremendous reputation for our zero-emissions fleet, both BEV and hydrogen fuel cell, and we continue to build on that. We have the best brains in the business working at Wrightbus and we will take these innovations forward as we develop the next generation of zero emission buses.”

Tuesday 30 May 2023

Bus Partnership Celebrates First Year of Progress

 A PIONEERING partnership between local bus operators and Leicester City Council has already made 75 per cent of its planned improvements to services and routes within its first year.

The Leicester Bus Partnership was launched in May 2022 to bring together all local bus operators and the council, working and investing together under an agreed long-term plan.

It set out 100 key improvements to be made by 2025, focusing on making bus travel electric, reliable, frequent, easy and great value to use.

A year on from its launch, 75 of those pledges have been delivered, with the rest on track by summer 2024.

The improvements already made include:Award-winning contactless ticketing, giving travellers a capped best value fare for any combination of trips undertaken over a day or week – a UK first outside London

Six Greenlines routes with 24 brand new electric buses, including the recent free Hop! city centre circular
The brand-new eco-friendly St Margaret’s Bus and Coach Station
Over 600 real time displays and 450 new shelters at key bus stops
An optimised bus network with co-ordinated timetables and duplicated services removed
Discounted ticketing for unemployed people, Park and Ride users, eligible pupils and health workers
New bus lanes in the city centre, Groby Road, Melton Road and Abbey Park Road
A new website with ticketing and service information across all operators

Improvements due to be delivered over the next year include:86 electric buses over the First network, with most coming in from May to September this year

24 electric buses on key Arriva routes

Significant bus priority on Abbey Lane, Anstey Lane and Bennion Road
More real-time information displays on key routes

By the end of the year, half of all Leicester’s bus travellers could be using electric buses along routes which have been significantly improved to make them far easier and better value to use.

Leicester deputy city mayor for transportation, climate emergency and clean air, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “This is fantastic progress, and shows what can be gained by working together on a common goal to improve transport across the city and nearby areas.

“The partnership approach has enabled us to look at what changes would really benefit passengers, and to support the bus operators in making improvements as part of an overall plan for the city.

“It’s been a very positive process, as shown by the amount of work we’ve achieved already as a partnership. It has enabled us to work together on taking a big step forward in making Leicester’s public transport greener, more reliable and more easily accessible for all users.”

Chair of the Leicester Bus Partnership Forum, Dawn Badminton-Capps, added: “Despite the lack of Government funding, Leicester City Council Enhanced Partnership has achieved some excellent results in just its first year.

“The board and its partners will continue to build on this success and strive to deliver the best services possible for Leicester's buses.”

First’s Interim Managing Director for Midlands and South Yorkshire, Mike Watson, said: “It is a privilege for First to be involved in this pioneering partnership and it shows what can be achieved with a combination of exceptional civic leadership, highly-skilled officers and collaborative industry partners.”

More information is available on the Leicester Buses website here.

Monday 29 May 2023

Translink Unveils New Zero Emission Foyle Metro Bus Fleet

Translink has unveiled its new zero emission Foyle Metro bus fleet at a special preview event in Derry~Londonderry.

State-of-the-art Wrightbus single decker and double decker buses were on display at Guildhall Square, providing key stakeholders and members of the public with the opportunity to step on board and experience the future of public transport first hand.

The 38-vehicle fleet made up of 
GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV's will be in operation later this year, making Derry~Londonderry one of the first cities in the UK and Ireland to run a fully zero emission urban bus service.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Sandra Duffy, said: “We are delighted that the Foyle Metro fleet will soon become a zero emission fleet. As the first Council in the North to declare a climate emergency, this step fully aligns with our aspirations to meaningfully tackle this important issue. I would encourage all of our citizens to make the most of this service and leave the car at home where possible.”

Ian Campbell, Director of Service Operations, Translink, said: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to showcase this new fleet and I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came along and to the Department for Infrastructure for essential funding to deliver these new buses.

“Transport has a significant role to play in tackling the climate crisis. This project supports Translink’s vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and operate a zero emissions fleet across Northern Ireland by 2040 – all of which is vital for tackling the climate emergency and driving change for a better quality of life for future generations.

“More people making the switch to cleaner, greener public transport and active travel will help deliver a better future for our people, our planet and our prosperity. As a new era in emissions-free public transport emerges, we look forward to welcoming you on board the new zero emission Foyle Metro service later this year,” said Ian.

The buses are being supplied by Northern Ireland-based manufacturer Wrightbus.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Translink in the drive to transform transport in Northern Ireland and help build a more sustainable future.

“Our electric buses - the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV - are manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.

“We’re proud to say our StreetDeck Electroliner BEV is the world’s most efficient double deck battery-electric bus and we have taken that technology into the development of our single deck which has also been classed as the most efficient on the UK’s roads.

“We’ve created the most efficient vehicles by combining optimum power with a class-leading rapid charge, meaning our electric buses spend more time on the road than any other.

“We’re confident passengers in Derry~Londonderry will enjoy the experience.”

Work is also underway to install 22 electric vehicle chargers in the Pennyburn Garage, enabling 44 buses to be charged sequentially overnight, with future proofing for an additional 19 bus charging stations.

The zero emission Foyle Metro project forms part of Translink’s transformational plans to support the decarbonisation of transport in Northern Ireland.

For more information visit: and follow @Translink_NI #BetterConnected.

Sunday 28 May 2023

London Underground 160th Birthday Special Trains Using 1938 Stock

 Celebrate 160 years of London Underground with journeys on a vintage Tube train

In 1863, the world’s first underground railway opened in London. Since then, London Underground has grown to become an iconic part of London life for residents and visitors alike.

To commemorate the Tube’s 160th birthday this year, LT are running return journeys from Acton Town to Heathrow T4, and journeys via Heathrow T4 to Northfields, on the beautifully restored Art Deco style 1938 Stock train - a relic of London’s transport past and one of the capital’s longest serving Tube trains.

Activities will take place at Acton Town station before embarking the trip. Chat to costumed actors to be transported to key moments in the Underground’s history, take a selfie with our #LoveTheTube wall, get crafty making an Oyster card holder, and check out transport collectibles and ephemera at London Transport Museum’s Friends stall.

Refreshments are available from local cafes in Acton Town. Please note that no food or drink can be taken onto the train.

About the 1938 Stock

The 1938 Stock was the first kind of Tube train to have all of the electrical equipment underneath the floor, combining the latest technology of the era with quintessential late 1930s style.

These trains served London, on several deep-level Tube lines, for half a century. The beautifully restored electrified train is made up of four cars complete with green and red moquette seating, grab handles and distinctive Art Deco light fittings.


Departure times

The route for this event is between Acton Town station and Heathrow Terminal 4 (return). There are four journeys per day.

Please note that the second journey each day will travel from Acton Town to Heathrow Terminal 4, then terminate at Northfields station, rather than continuing through to Acton Town.
Journey departure times and routes Saturday 10 June 10:49 – 11:49 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
12:35 – 13:25 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Northfields
14:45 – 15:39 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
16:05 – 16:59 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town

Journey departure times and routes Sunday 11 June10:57 – 11:58 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
12:38 – 13:33 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Northfields
14:58 – 15:58 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town
16:18 – 17:18 – Acton Town – Heathrow T4 – Acton Town

Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the departure time on your ticket.

Stewards will be on board the train throughout the journey.

Saturday 27 May 2023

More Frequent Trains and New Journey Options Mark One Year of Elizabeth Line Operation

The full peak Elizabeth line timetable was introduced on Sunday 21 May 2023 resulting in trains running roughly every two and a half minutes between Paddington and Whitechapel at peak time, with frequencies increased to up to 24 trains per hour in both directions with new timetable.

Services will also run all day between Shenfield and Heathrow Airport (Terminal 5) for the first time, with two trains per hour providing direct connectivity between Essex, east London and west London. In total, six Elizabeth trains per hour will run all day
Unfortunately the plan to run direct trains between Reading and Shenfield will not now take place in these latest timetable changes.

Peak time frequencies will increase from 22 to up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, with 16 trains per hour running off-peak. There will be 12 trains per hour running between Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood in the peak, restoring the frequency that was in place between May and November 2022 to a train around every five minutes. The peak will also now last for longer, increasing capacity even further.

 There is also the addition of more services at peak time between Liverpool Street National Rail station (platforms 15 -17) and Gidea Park, providing a faster route for those exiting to Bishopsgate.

In the west, there will be an increase in peak services from Reading, with some trains that were previously operated by Great Western Railway transferring to become Elizabeth line services with reduced stops.

There will also be the removal of any significant pauses for trains between Paddington and Acton Main Line, as has been the case with some trains waiting between the stations since November 2022 while they waited to join Network Rail tracks or enter Elizabeth line tunnels. These pauses were built into the timetable, but customers on these services should see reduced journey times between Reading and Paddington and improved journey times for customers travelling from the west into central London.

Customers will receive more frequent services to and from Heathrow Airport as part of this timetable. The airport overall will receive six Elizabeth trains per hour all day. All Heathrow trains stop at Terminal 2&3, with four per hour continuing to Terminal 4, and two per hour continuing to Terminal 5.

Heathrow Airport has also improved signage at the airport, which should make it clearer for customers, particularly those visiting London or using the Elizabeth line for the first time.

Wednesday 24 May also marks one year of Transport for London (TfL) operating the Elizabeth line, and more than 140 million customer journeys have taken place so far, with around 600,000 journeys now being made each weekday.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Delivering the Elizabeth line has been transformational for our city, with hundreds of thousands of Londoners and visitors now enjoying the fast and reliable trains each day. The introduction of the final timetable next month marks the last milestone of the Crossrail project and will enable the Elizabeth line to provide even more frequent, speedier journeys and better connect the capital."

Andy Lord, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "The Elizabeth line has transformed the lives of Londoners and the experience for visitors to the city in just under a year of TfL operating the service. With this new timetable, those travelling through central London will have a train arriving around every two and a half minutes, those using Heathrow Airport will have more regular services, and time will be shaved off many journeys from Reading, Heathrow and into central London. Those on the east will also benefit from twice hourly services to the airport, linking Essex and west London on the line for the first time."

The introduction of this timetable will mark the final milestone of the Crossrail project and provide higher frequencies, greater connectivity and faster journey times for those using the Elizabeth line. Step-free access is available at all 41 stations on the route.

Friday 26 May 2023

National Express Carrying More Manchester Passengers to London Than Ever Before

National Express has announced that more people than ever before are travelling on its Manchester - London services.

The UK’s leading scheduled coach operator has seen an 83%* increase in passengers than it used to before the pandemic. It now operates 12 services a day to London from Chorlton Street coach station, with advance tickets from £8.90 one way, offering customers an affordable, reliable and greener way to travel to the capital.

Caetano Levante IIIA fitted with Orlaco’s ‘Mirroreye’ system, replacing conventional mirrors

Andy Leonard, National Express’ Senior Coach Station Manager for the North, said: “We know many of our passengers have had a difficult time on the West Coast Mainline recently and have chosen to travel on our coaches, some for the first time.

“It’s great to see that customers are switching to us and enjoying hassle-free, great value travel. As a result we’re putting on more coaches than ever before to serve the growing demand.”

National Express is also expanding its Transpennine network. From 5 May, the 170 and 171 services linking Leeds, Manchester, Manchester Airport and Liverpool will increase from eight to 13 services a day. The company has also invested in three new vehicles to serve this route.

Passengers can expect a safe and comfortable experience on board, with leather reclining seats, free wi-fi, air conditioning, USB power sockets and a generous luggage allowance of up to 20kg.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund Phase Two Launched at Alexander Dennis Headquarters in Larbert

Alexander Dennis, a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. has announced that it hosted the launch of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund phase two (ScotZEB 2).
The Scottish Government launched the second phase of the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund at the Alexander Dennis global headquarters and factory in Larbert, where it was announced that ScotZEB 2 will have up to £58 million available in grant funding.

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies (2nd from left) and Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart (centre) with Alexander Dennis apprentices Matthew Calderwood, Ben Malcolm and Luke Przybylinski, who are about to embark on support function roles in Quality, Process Engineering and Continuous Improvement for the next generation of Alexander Dennis electric vehicles, which will be built in Larbert. They are all completing a Higher National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at Forth Valley College.

Introduced in 2021, the aim of the ScotZEB challenge fund is to encourage significant change in the bus market in favour of zero-emission technologies, creating sustainable and inclusive growth. By supporting the swift transition to zero emission vehicles and infrastructure, ScotZEB aims to help achieve targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to the delivery of Low Emission Zones, encourage inward investment and growth in the supply chain of zero carbon vehicle and energy solutions in Scotland, with associated employment, economic and social benefits.

This second phase of the challenge fund expands eligibility to include financiers, manufacturers, community groups and others in the industry to work together collaboratively on applications to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses.

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to host the Scottish Government’s launch of ScotZEB 2 right here in our Larbert facility, which we are currently upgrading to make it a manufacturing centre of excellence for our zero-emission buses. As a proud member of the bus decarbonisation taskforce, we have stepped up to the mark and delivered on the ask to create a small electric bus with our Enviro100EV. We are committed to supporting the just transition of decarbonising transport and funding from ScotZEB will be a welcome support for the jobs the industry offers in our communities if it benefits us and other Scottish suppliers.

“The Enviro100EV is a real all-rounder, offering an unbeatable 354kWh of battery capacity delivering a range of up to 285 miles in a manoeuvrable vehicle that will be just as much at home in housing estates of bigger cities as it will be in the more rural parts of Scotland. Alongside this big small bus available for delivery in 2024 we have our next-generation Enviro400EV double decker, creating the perfect proposition for bus operators of all sizes looking to electrify their fleets.”

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: “The Scottish Government has already invested £113 million towards 548 zero-emission buses and supporting infrastructure, and I’m really pleased to now be making a further £58 million available.

“Launching the second phase of the ScotZEB Challenge Fund honours this Government’s pledge to drive forward a fully decarbonised future for Scotland’s buses; supporting operators of all sizes, including community transport, school bus and coach operators to transform their vehicles to zero-emissions and install infrastructure which can be shared with other fleets to help them make the switch too.

“We all have a part to play in tackling the global climate emergency. Bus is currently one of the most climate friendly transport choices the public can make, and I want to keep it that way for communities across all of Scotland.

“I will continue to challenge the bus and finance sectors to deliver excellence for Scotland and by launching ScotZEB 2, I hope to see truly transformational, collaborative change in the bus market towards a zero-emission future.”


Wednesday 24 May 2023

National Express Coventry Trialling Yutong E12 Electric Single Decker Bus

National Express Coventry is trialling a fully electric Yutong bus on the city’s roads this month.

Yutong’s single decker E12 bus can carry up to 70 passengers and is currently on loan to National Express from Welsh bus operator Newport Transport.

It is in service on National Express Coventry’s 20, 20A and 20B services between Coventry, Bedworth and Nuneaton from Tuesday 16 May 2023.

Customers boarding the bus can expect to notice the super smooth and quiet journey, as well as features such as air conditioning and USB chargers.

National Express Coventry’s trial period will enable the local bus operator to gather driver and customer feedback while testing the E12’s zero-emission capabilities.

The region’s largest bus operator is already leading from the front with its transition to zero-emission vehicles. In 2019 National Express announced it had bought its last diesel bus and pledged to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2030.

It currently has over 100 fully electric double decker buses serving routes across Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry. A further 20 hydrogen double decker buses operate on its 51 service between Birmingham and Walsall.

In January this year National Express announced it was investing a further £150 million in 300 UK-made electric zero emission buses to be deployed across the West Midlands. The brand-new buses will be delivered by the end of 2024.

David Bradford, Managing Director of National Express Coventry, said:

“Buses are the most used form of transport here in the West Midlands. Not only do our bus services play a key role in keeping people connected, they are also critical to driving down harmful emissions.

“Getting more people to ditch their cars and switch to the bus is vital to tackling climate change and we’re proud to be leading the way with more and more sustainable transport choices for our new and existing customers.

“We’re grateful to Newport Transport for allowing us to borrow their Yutong bus and look forward to testing it on our routes operating out of Coventry so we can better understand capabilities and efficiencies under our usual operating conditions.”

Official tests show that Yutong’s E12 single decker bus can operate up to 250 miles on a single charge. It takes less than two and a half hours to fully charge the vehicle.

To date, Yutong’s zero emission vehicles have travelled over 21.2 billion miles and claim to be the most tried, tested and proven zero emission bus in the world.

See here to read the posting about the National Express Coventry trial of the eCitaro that took place earlier this year

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Biggest Timetable Shake-up As GWR Responds to Changes in Passenger Travel Patterns

Following an extensive review to give those travelling the right services at the times they wish to travel, the new spring timetable will deliver almost a 5% increase in train services every day across the GWR network.

As part of these improvements, 65 extra trains a week will be provided in South Wales, and 44 additional train services every day will serve the wider Bristol area.

The changes will help deliver on long-planned ambitions across the network and will see around 20% of all trains retimed to better suit passenger needs, providing greater value for money for taxpayers and leaner and greener travel options on public transport.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “I am really excited to say that this new timetable provides the biggest shake-up in service levels since the introduction of Intercity Express trains – providing more trains where they are needed most and reflecting changes in travel patterns.

“We will deliver more train services, serving even more stations, and providing greater value for money for taxpayers.”

This includes changes to London and Thames Valley services, bringing greater connectivity with Elizabeth Line destinations; a significant number of extra trains in South Wales better connecting Carmarthen to Swansea and beyond towards London. Further enhancements as part of the MetroWest scheme will take place, doubling GWR services between Gloucester and Bristol, and adding an extra train an hour between Westbury and Bristol.

The number of GWR services on an average weekday will increase from 1643 in May 2019 to 1720 in May 2023.

Passengers will also benefit from carbon reductions from changes in the type of train used on some routes. 

Detailed service changes are now available in online journey planners and through GWR’s Journey Check service and those used to catching a specific train should check their journey in advance.

Monday 22 May 2023

Stagecoach Launch The First of Thirty New Electric Buses in Cambridge

Passengers have begun to travel on the first of 30 new Volvo BZL Electric double-deck buses – the first of their kind to be delivered into a UK customer’s fleet – as part of the largest investment in Cambridge’s bus network in a decade. The new vehicles will help to tackle air pollution and encourage more people to travel by bus.

The zero tailpipe emission buses are being introduced into service between 14 May and mid-June, across multiple Park and Ride sites. At this point the five Cambridge Park and Ride and Citi 2 services will be fully electrified, and Stagecoach’s Cambridge bus fleet will be 31 per cent electric.

 The launch of the vehicles took place in Duxford on 12 May, signifying a major milestone in the commitment to a rolling bus replacement programme to replace 30 vehicles a year across the Combined Authority area, with an ambition to convert the region’s entire bus fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2030.

From left - Cllr Rosy Moore, Gwen Jones Operations manager of Stagecoach, Steve Zanker Commercial Director of Stagecoach, Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Cllr Ian Bates, Rachel Stopard Chief Executive of Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cllr Tim Bick


Each vehicle has been funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Stagecoach East and the Department for Transport following a successful bid to the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.

 Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “It’s fantastic to finally see these buses in Cambridge. This is a landmark moment for our bus network, and these 30 electric vehicles are marking a turning point for public transport in the region.

“Removing 30 diesel buses from our historic city and replacing them with these new vehicles will not only have a positive impact on the health of our region by reducing air and noise pollution, but will also help in the broader fight against climate change as we embrace these new and exciting technologies. I look forward to seeing these buses on our roads and to the next steps we will be taking to ensure that all buses and taxis operating within the Combined Authority area are zero emissions by 2030.”


Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “Everything about the design, build and specification of our new 100% electric buses is premium, and these first 30 vehicles are ready to deliver the cleanest, quietest, and most comfortable journeys of any vehicle in the Stagecoach East fleet. For the local community and drivers alike, they mark a real upgrade in service, and we are confident they will play a key role in supporting Stagecoach East’s ambitious sustainability goals.”


Cllr Elisa Meschini, Chair of the GCP’s Executive Board, said: “This new fleet of vehicles is a major step forward in transforming the bus network and demonstrates our collective commitment to improving journeys and tackling the climate challenge.

 “We hope these cleaner, greener vehicles will encourage more people to get out of their car and take the bus to work, school or to see friends – helping to cut congestion and improve air quality to make our city a better place to live, work and visit.”


Darren Roe, Managing Director at Stagecoach East, said: “Cambridgeshire has always led the way when it comes to encouraging a greener and cleaner approach to transport. That’s why we're thrilled that this fleet of electric buses will give people a greener way to travel. It means nearly a third of our Cambridge fleet is now electric. It’s a big investment and part of Stagecoach’s sustainability strategy as we work alongside councils and other partners to decarbonise our nationwide bus network and transition to a 100% electric bus fleet by 2035. Everyone who switches to zero emission buses is doing their bit to tackle air pollution and helping to cut carbon emissions across our communities."


The Volvo BZL Electric buses provide a fantastic passenger experience, with zero tailpipe emissions and near-silent journeys. Drivers will also benefit from a calm and quiet workspace, which reduces stress and improves comfort, aided by a world-class ergonomic design and logical layout.


Volvo’s chassis makes the most of the smooth electric propulsion, resulting in less vibration when driving. Plus, for residents and business situated along the routes, they benefit from cleaner air and reduced noise.


The driveline has been developed entirely by Volvo using the Group’s breadth of experience in zero tailpipe emission technologies, including for trucks, construction equipment, marine and industrial power units. It uses a 200 kW electric motor coupled to a two-stage automated gearbox, which increases wheel torque at low speed and evens out current peaks, thereby reducing energy consumption and sustaining motor and battery health. This ensures optimum performance for Stagecoach East’s busy operations.


Like the Volvo BZL Electric single deck buses already in service within other parts of the Stagecoach operation, Volvo Buses has worked in close partnership with MCV Bus and Coach to develop the aluminium double-deck bodywork for the new range, tailoring it specifically for UK fleets. 

 To accommodate its expanding fleet, Stagecoach East is also investing £2 million into charging infrastructure for its Cambridge depot, to provide smart charging overnight.

Sunday 21 May 2023 and Jet2holidays Celebrate Brand-New Airbus A321 neo Aircraft Coming Into Operation and Jet2holidays have celebrated the first of their brand-new Airbus A321 neo aircraft coming into service/

To support their ongoing growth and to refresh their existing fleet, Jet2 plc has purchased 98 firm ordered Airbus A321/A320 neo aircraft, which could eventually extend to 146 aircraft. With a capacity of 232 passengers. The new Airbus A321 neo aircraft enables and Jet2holidays to grow more sustainably in line with the demand for award-winning flights and holidays.

To celebrate the first of their new Airbus A321 neo aircraft coming into operation, the airline and package holiday specialist surprised customers on a flight from Manchester Airport to Malaga with a voucher offering them £100 per booking off their next package holiday with Jet2holidays. Customers also received a VIP welcome at Manchester Airport with a red-carpet, as well as refreshments and goodie bags handed out to them at the departure gate.

The new Airbus A321 neo aircraft demonstrates Jet2’s commitment to sustainability and its vision to become one of the leading brands in sustainable air traveli and package holidays, as they deliver an almost 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per seat against previous generation single aisle aircraft models.

The flight follows the recent announcement by Jet2 plc that it is making a major investment into a new Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) production plant to be constructed in the North West of England – one of the first such deals in UK aviation. 
The agreement will see Jet2 plc invest an equity stake in the Fulcrum NorthPoint facility and expect to receive more than 200 million litres of SAF over a 15-year period, which would be one of the longest SAF supply agreements currently.

As well as further reducing emissions per passenger, the fleet of new aircraft will support the ongoing growth at and Jet2holidays, which has seen the companies put their biggest ever flights and holidays programme on sale for Summer 2023. 
This summer, a fleet of 119 aircraft will operate from across the companies’ ten UK bases, flying to 56 sunshine destinations. This represents 15.2 million seats on sale for Summer 23, a capacity increase of over 7% when compared to Summer 22.

Steve Heapy, CEO at & Jet2holidays said: “The first of the brand-new Airbus A321 neo aircraft to come into operation this week is a real milestone in the history of and Jet2holidays. 
As more of these new aircraft come into our fleet, they will play a huge role in supporting our continued growth, whilst providing more choice, comfort and quality than ever before for our customers.”

He added: “As well as ensuring that we continue to deliver our award-winning customer experience, in our view the Airbus A321 neo is one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in its class. 
As such, these aircraft are ensuring that we deliver a VIP customer service whilst further reducing emissions per passenger. This makes this week a very exciting time for and Jet2holidays as we welcome the first of the brand-new aircraft into the fleet, and we look forward to welcoming even more customers onboard.”

Saturday 20 May 2023

Taunton's Berrys Coaches Partners with FlixBus to Offer New Routes to Northern Cities

A Somerset coach company has agreed a new partnership to offer new routes to the North of England.

Berrys Coaches has doubled its partnership with FixBus ahead of summer to offer a new route between Taunton and Newcastle. The new daily service, which launched on April 27, offers journeys to cities including Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bristol University of West England and Bristol city centre.

Berrys, Established in 1920, began working with FlixBus in 2021 and made the partnership official in April 2022, with Berrys joining the green FlixBus network to launch the Plymouth-London line. Berrys Coaches is now expanding its fleet with the brand.

Andreas Schorling, managing director of FlixBus UK said: “This is a fantastic partnership, based on our shared values and entrepreneurial spirit of the Berrys team. The company has significant experience in express coaches which means they consistently deliver high quality.

“We’re delighted that Berrys has doubled their commitment to our network, bolstering the long-term partnership with new connections in line with passenger demand. We look forward to working together for decades to come!”

In addition to FlixBus work, Berrys has a diverse portfolio, including day tours, coach hire as well as a superfast service to London from Somerset and Wiltshire, which launched in 1983.

James Berry, transport and general manager of Berrys Coaches added: “FlixBus’ vision for long-term expansion appealed to us from the off and we’re witnessing their ambition to become the UK’s largest coach provider coming to life! Berrys has extensive experience in long-distance express work, which has helped us to assess the Flix model as the right choice.

“We have had a really enjoyable year building a truly equal relationship, and we’re looking forward to delivering more routes than ever before. Embarking on a partnership at an early stage in FlixBus’ growth journey has proved a strong strategic decision for Berrys, and we’re proud to be a part of the revolution of the UK coach industry.”

The recent network expansion, which coincided with FlixBus’ second anniversary in the UK, means that the sustainable travel tech company now serves 50 destinations across England, Scotland and Wales.

Flixbus website here 
Berrys website here

Friday 19 May 2023

Oxford Bus Company Invests in New Fleet as Popularity of Airline Service Takes Off

Go-Ahead owned Oxford Bus Company has invested £2M in a new range of luxury coaches and will increase its airline services to Heathrow Airport to every 20 minutes.

An additional 12 departures will go between Oxford and Heathrow Airport daily from 28 May onwards, providing an extra 4,536 seats weekly. The upgrade in services from every 30 minutes to Heathrow Airport to every 20 minutes is being made to meet passenger demand.

The fleet of coaches is being increased by two, with seven new Mercedes Tourismo 2023 plate vehicles replacing five vehicles, meaning passengers can travel in style and enjoy the latest in comfort and luxury. The additional coaches take the overall fleet to 18 vehicles. Services between Oxford, High Wycombe and Gatwick Airport will remain the same.

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director said: “It’s fantastic to see the levels of international travel fully return, which has resulted in increased demand for our airline services.

“Our airline services provide crucial connectivity between Oxford, High Wycombe and Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. The latest investment in our fleet and increasing our services further underpins our commitment to the service and providing our passengers with a first-class service.”

The new coaches are fitted with the latest green technology and are ultra-low Euro 6 rated for emissions. They also include luxurious seating and seat trays to use laptops and tablets, plus USB charging points, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

The coaches provide wheel-chair access, toilets and extensive luggage capacity for passengers’ suitcases and bags. There are also monitors on board, with sat-nav displays to enable passengers to check progress on their journey, just as they would when on an aeroplane.

Tickets for the airline service can be purchased online, at the Gloucester Green Travel Shop or on the Oxford Bus Company app. The Oxford Bus Company also offers free travel on any of its local buses to airline stops with the airline flyer ticket.

Matthew Wooll, Route Development Lead in Heathrow’s Surface Access Team, said: “Travelling more sustainably to Heathrow is very important, and our partnership with Oxford Bus Company is delivering some great improvements to the bus and coach network.

One of the previous batch of vehicles now being replaced

“We want to see many more passengers and colleagues choosing to use public transport to the airport, which takes cars off the road and reduces emissions and congestion, in line with our sustainability goals.”

Thursday 18 May 2023

Two Orders for Volvo Totalling 189 Electric Buses for Stagecoach Including Its Largest Electric Bus Order to Date

Stagecoach will take delivery of 170 Volvo BZL Electric buses for operation in Stockport commencing summer 2024. The 150 double deckers and 20 single deckers will feature MCV bodywork built to Transport for Manchester specifications.

This landmark deal has been followed by an order for 19 Volvo BZL Electric single deckers from Stagecoach for operation in London, reinforcing the strong and growing collaboration between the two companies. All 19 buses are expected to enter service between late 2023 and early 2024.

These latest orders take Stagecoach’s investment in Volvo BZL Electric buses up to 244 vehicles, securing its place as Volvo’s largest electric bus customer so far. This follows the delivery of 25 single deck Volvo BZL Electrics to Stagecoach in Scotland in March, and with 30 double-decks due to enter service in Cambridge during May.

 A global surge in demand demonstrates how Volvo Buses’ expertise in electromobility is supporting the drive towards sustainable public transport.

“Stagecoach was our first Volvo BZL Electric customer in the UK, so it’s an honour to now be supplying these buses at scale.” says Anna Westerberg, President of Volvo Buses. “The strengthening of this partnership illustrates how our product and expertise can support public transport networks to reduce emissions. We offer the world’s most responsible electric bus systems, and I’m pleased that Stagecoach’s passengers are amongst the first in the UK to experience Volvo electric buses first-hand.”

Sam Greer, Engineering Director for Stagecoach, says: “We're excited to be announcing our largest electric vehicle order to date, which will be a major step forward in improving air quality locally. This builds further on the investment being made by Stagecoach across the country to support the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.”

Above & below, Volvo displayed a BZL at EuroBus 2022 at the NEC in Birmingham

The Volvo BZL Electric is offered in the UK with bodywork developed in partnership with MCV, enabling tailored specifications to meet the needs of local fleets. Lengths are offered from 9.7m to 12.9m, with a low-entry full low floor option, together with models featuring either single or twin door configurations. For passengers, the buses offer a quiet and comfortable experience. Drivers also benefit from a calm and quiet workspace, which reduces stress and improves comfort.

Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, says: “Our industry is transforming to electromobility, and that’s why we’re focusing on making our processes, from material sourcing and manufacture to operation and recycling, as sustainable, safe and reliable as possible.”

In April 2023 Volvo Buses signed a Letter of Intent with MCV with the intention to expand the relationship further, taking the successful formula adopted for the UK and expanding it to produce electric buses for the wider European market, in the city and intercity segments.

Volvo Website here

Wednesday 17 May 2023

New Technology To Control Speeds of Buses on Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

New technology designed to automatically reduce the speed of vehicles entering safety zones is being rolled out on Cambridgeshire guided busway services.

Stagecoach East says the rollout marks the first time this technology has been used this way on board buses in the UK, and globally on a guided busway vehicle.

Terry Absalom, engineering director for Stagecoach East, said: “Our number one priority is the safety of local people, which is why we have worked tirelessly over the last two years alongside our partners at Volvo Buses to develop and adapt this innovative system for use on our Cambridge busway.

“This is the very first time that Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology will be used in the UK to automatically reduce a vehicle’s speed using the vehicle’s retarder, and we are very proud to be the first bus operator in the world to launch this system on a guided busway setting.”

He added: “We have provided extensive training for our drivers and look forward to the prospect of having this technology rolled out to other bus operations in the future.”

The ISA technology is designed to automatically reduce the speed of vehicles entering speed safety zones.

Stagecoach East has been working with Volvo Bus, which developed the software, in the UK and Europe over the past 18 months to make the system operational.

The guided busway was opened in 2011 and is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council.

It carries three million passengers a year between Cambridge, Huntingdon and St Ives, with two guided sections making up 16 miles of the route.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the council’s highways and transport committee, said: “I’m pleased Stagecoach has fitted their buses with this new intelligent system. I look forward to it being rolled out across the guided busway.”

The system is set to provide effective speed limit compliance, with flexibility to cope with numerous and different speed safety zones, to improve road safety and reduce the risk of accidents.

Domenico Bondi, managing director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, added: “We see this level of technology as being key to creating smoother and safer urban transport for the future, and it’s an integral part of what we can offer to customers as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles.”

Video of the busway here

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Northern Depot Upgrades Enables Longer Trains to Run Between Cumbria and Manchester

Northern has invested in its safety, welfare and production capabilities by installing a new train fuelling and servicing facility at Barrow-in-Furness LMD.

The new facility is essential for Northern to operate six-car Class 195 trains between Cumbria and Manchester Airport as part of the Manchester Recovery Task Force. This doubles the on-board capacity and provides more reliable services for Northern’s customers along the route.

The new 75m servicing road means that up to three carriages can be serviced and re-fuelled simultaneously, whereas previously, the site could only service one carriage at a time. A steel canopy has been constructed to provide shelter for staff and house the new equipment, as well as upgrades to pumps and energy efficient lighting.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work, including the support provided by our engineering team.

“The new facilities have meant that trains are able to be serviced faster, keeping them out in-service for our customers – improving reliability for the region and beyond.

“Of the 3,000 new services a week introduced in our December 2022 timetable, 2,000 were in the North West. With this uplift, there was a need for a facility equal to that growth.”

The work was carried out in a successful partnership with RTS Infrastructure Services

Chris Reid, managing director at RTS Infrastructure Services Limited, said “It was a privilege to play a part in delivering the investment in the local area. I would like to personally thank the depot team for their support and proactive attitude that was fundamental in delivering the depot enhancements in a safe and timely manner. 
 A masterclass in teamwork and flexibility. The results demonstrate the RTS team’s capabilities to deliver large scale depot enhancement programmes while minimising impacts to depot operations."

Craig Wood, project manager at Northern said: “This project was delivered to very tight timescale's and was made possible by a truly collaborative approach by all stakeholders. Our delivery partner, Northern’s engineering and facilities team together with our project team worked closely together to implement innovative ideas to ensure that the project was delivered to schedule."

On Sunday 21 May, Northern’s new summer timetable comes into effect and all customers, especially those who have made regular journeys on the same train times, are advised to check before they travel. For more information, visit:

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.

Monday 15 May 2023

Autonomous Buses Commence Passenger Service in Scotland

The 14 mile AB1 service is believed to be the first registered bus service in the world to use full sized autonomous buses. From 7.30 this morning, the project’s fleet of five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV autonomous buses are now operating a scheduled passenger service seven days a week on Stagecoach’s new AB1 route. Buses depart Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife for Edinburgh Park interchange every 30 minutes.

Scotland’s Transport Minister Kevin Stewart joined partners Stagecoach, Fusion, Alexander Dennis Ltd and Transport Scotland on Thursday 11 May to officially launch the UK’s first autonomous bus service, AB1,
ahead of it beginning passenger service 

The trial, on route AB1, which will now run until 2025, aims to demonstrate autonomous technology in a real-world environment transporting up to 10,000 passengers per week. During this time, the partners will make improvements and monitor the benefits for passengers, operations and society.

This key milestone in autonomous technology is the result of almost ten years of research and development from Fusion Processing Ltd, with their CAVStar system having covered over 1.8million kilometres in tests.

A fleet of five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV vehicles are covering the new 14-mile route, in mixed traffic, at up to 50mph across the iconic Forth Road Bridge from Ferrytoll Park & Ride, in Fife to Edinburgh Park Transport Interchange.

The service will initially have two members of staff on board: a Safety Driver in the driver’s seat to monitor the technology, and a ‘Captain’ in the saloon to take tickets and answer customers questions. The Captain is there to demonstrate what a full-size autonomous bus might feel like in the future, when one member of staff can leave the cab while the computer does the driving, and engage with passengers, much like a conductor would have done.

The recently announced CCAV funding for CAVForth II, sees the project extended to 2025, challenging the partners to extend the route north to Dunfermline City bus station in 2024.

Scottish Transport Minister, Kevin Stewart, said: “It is really exciting to see the innovative and ambitious CAVForth Project take to the roads in earnest after all the hard work of the partner organisations involved in bringing this world first to Scotland.

“We want Scotland to continue to be at the forefront in the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and the start of this live trial will really help the country establish its credentials on the world stage.

“I am excited to see how this technology can help to support our vision for a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system.”

Ray O’Toole, Executive Chairman for Stagecoach said: “This is an incredibly exciting time, and we are delighted to see the hard work of all partners involved, pay off on the official launch by Scottish Transport Minister, Kevin Stewart.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of transport innovation with this project, marking a significant milestone for public transport and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board.”

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director, Paul Davies, said: “Our participation in this exciting project is testament to the great expertise of our engineering team, who continue to lead technology development for tomorrow’s mobility. 

We believe that automated driving systems like the one we are trialling in CAVForth will further improve safety by reducing reaction times, as well as offering the ability to drive buses in a more efficient manner by optimising acceleration and deceleration to deliver significant energy savings and reduced wear and tear on the vehicle. 

We look forward to gaining further experience through CAVForth and continuing to develop this promising technology for our customers.”

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Principal of Research & Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “CAVForth is a world-leading project, and one we are proud to be involved in. 
Automation offers an opportunity to transform the ways we get around in years to come, while improving safety and reducing energy consumption. As this trial gets underway, we look forward to contributing Edinburgh Napier University’s transport research expertise to understand more about the passenger experience on the AB1 service.”

Jim Hutchinson, CEO, Fusion Processing, said: "CAVForth is an exciting showcase of how our CAVstar® Automated Drive System can safely operate in a very complex driving environment. This pilot is globally significant and marks a step change in the operation of autonomous commercial vehicles on public roads.”

Below - views of the first day in service.

The buses that have entered service today are driven manually for some sections of the journey, as this is the first phase of the project. For instance when catching up a very slow vehicle today on a dual carriageway section the driver took control to carry out a lane change and overtake before returning to the inside lane and the bus returning to autonomous control.

Stagecoach link here