|As TFL extends the New Routemaster fleet to 1,000,|
CT Plus orders the Enviro400H city for their route 26 contract.
In my previous article I wrote about route 59 and 91 receiving New Routemaster buses and now Wrightbus have just published their press release, so I need to break this news.
New order for 195 New Routemaster buses protects 300 jobs at Wrightbus
• New Routemaster supply chain supports UK businesses from Cornwall to Darlington
The Mayor of London is in Northern Ireland today (29 February) where he is confirming an order with Wrightbus for another 195 of the iconic New Routemaster buses.
Billions of pounds are invested by Transport for London on products and services from businesses outside the capital every year; and the deal with Wrightbus will safeguard 300 manufacturing jobs, as well as support a supply chain of companies across the United Kingdom.
The Mayor is confirming the order during a visit to the Wrightbus chassis plant that was created as a direct result of orders for London’s New Routemaster bus. While there he will tour the factory floor and meet the team building London’s iconic red buses.
Transport for London has a productive relationship with businesses in Northern Ireland and in 2015 they spent £93m with suppliers based there.
Later in the day the Mayor will head to Magherafelt to meet staff at Windell Ltd. They are glazing specialists who have supplied glass for projects including the Emirates Air Line. He will then head to Lisburn to meet staff at Boomer Industries Ltd, one of the most respected names in the plastics industry, and a supplier of materials for the New Routemaster.
The day will conclude when the Mayor addresses guests at a business reception at Hillsborough Castle hosted by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with Wrightbus.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm a further order for these superb buses. They are a masterpiece of British engineering and design, and they prove that we are capable of building a bus in the UK with cutting edge technology that simultaneously delivers jobs and growth around the country.”
The production of 1,000 New Routemaster buses in Northern Ireland by the family-owned Wrightbus Group – which employs 2,000 local people – has sustained 300 jobs, created 100 brand new jobs and supported 120 apprenticeships. Today’s order was made at a reduced rate of £319,000 per bus, which is comparable to the cost of a standard hybrid bus.
Welcoming the deal, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP said: “This is brilliant news for Ballymena-based Wrightbus and all the Northern Ireland firms in the supply chain who stand to gain from this significant investment by TfL.
“I have been deeply committed over recent months to helping get this over the line for Northern Ireland so I am particularly pleased with this deal. These iconic buses represent a powerful link between Northern Ireland and Greater London, as well as with all the other UK firms whose expertise contributes to the outstanding qualities of this world class vehicle.”
The buses have two staircases and three sets of doors allowing large numbers of passengers to board and alight and will be supplied with opening windows on the upper and lower decks following feedback from passengers.
The buses boast the latest Euro 6 engines and will increase the number of hybrid buses in the Capital to 1,900 – representing 20 per cent of the overall fleet – when they enter service in summer 2017.
As well as the manufacture of New Routemaster chassis and superstructures in Northern Ireland, a number of components for New Routemaster buses are made by companies from around the UK; including engines from Darlington, seats from Telford, seat moquettes from Huddersfield, wheelchair ramps from Hoddesdon and flooring from Liskeard.
Transport for London figures show that investment in the capital’s transport network is safeguarding jobs across the whole of the UK, with more than 60 per cent of TfL’s spend through its supply chain going to suppliers outside of London. It buys from a wide range of suppliers across the UK including insulated tools engineered in Wednesbury, bolts forged in Oldbury, vehicle flooring from Liskeard, timber milled in Jarrow, cable made in Co Durham, steel rails from Scunthorpe and new trains from Derby. Altogether investment in London’s transport network supports 60,000 jobs in the UK supply chain.
London's Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: "Northern Ireland is a vital link in the supply chain for TfL, and today's visit demonstrates that investing in transport infrastructure in London means investing outside it too, creating and safeguarding jobs across the country."
Mark Nodder OBE, Chairman and CEO of Wrights Group, said: “We are delighted to receive this contract extension for a further 195 New Routemasters from TfL. This will secure employment of around 300 of our workers for a further 12 months, and will benefit our extensive supply chain both in Northern Ireland and throughout the rest of the UK. For us the New Routemaster has combined innovation and cutting edge technology in a way which showcases the best of British manufacturing excellence.
“We would like to thank Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and TfL for this endorsement of our company’s capability, and also acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragement we have received from both our local MP Ian Paisley, and also Secretary of State The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP.”
As the price has gone down to £319,000 does it mean that private bus operating companies can buy these New Routemaster buses? Also, the design of the New Routemaster will be handed back to TFL as this will allow Wrightbus to sell similar bus types to the New Routemaster bus.
The original purpose of the New Routemaster was to bring back the open platform and conductor, but since mid 2015 TFL modified the rear door to make it open outwards like the middle doors do. The disadvantage with the 3 door 2 staircases Hybrid Bus is they provide the open boarding system which increases the risk of fare evasion. Hopefully TFL will increase the number of revenue protection inspectors in order to maintain revenue protection.
The competitor to the New Routemaster is the Enviro400H City manufactured by Alexander Dennis. They have designs based on the New Routemaster such as the glazed staircase. The bus is a standard 2 doors and single staircase which enabled bus operating companies to buy them. The interior decoration of the Enviro400H City is based on the New Routemaster bus, so hopefully we may see more new bus types with designs based on the NRM.
Routes that are currently served by New Routemaster buses are 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 24, 38, 55, 68, 73, 88, 137, 148, 149, 159, 168, 390 and 453. I have recently announced that routes 59 and 91 will be converting to New Routemaster buses and I'd also like to mention that as TFL leases the New Routemaster buses to private bus operators, they have to pay £1 per New Routemaster bus a year for rental lease as part of the contract.
The Enviro400H City is currently in service on route 78; those buses are bought by Arriva London. Route 26 will soon be converted to those buses as CT Plus has recently placed an order for them as part of their new route contract.
The Enviro400H City deserves more publicity as the bus is the competitor to the New Routemaster bus.
Unfortunately, I don't have any updates about the new shortened design of the New Routemaster bus which was announced by London Bus Club during December 2015.
The next TFL Board meeting is on 17th March 2016 and hopefully when the papers are published I'll be able to update you with the progress of the extra 195 New Routemaster buses.
The reason for this quick article is to raise awareness about the Enviro400H City bus as well as the update of the New Routemaster project.
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