Monday, 31 October 2016

Arriva Merseyside to purchase 12 electric buses; Reading Buses to trial dual-door buses and three-door two-staircase Enviro500 MMC

Britain is to see another increase in the number of electric buses!

First up we have some news from BYD and Alexander Dennis
The partnership of Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD, which is well advanced on the delivery of 51 12m single decker’s to Go-Ahead London, has won its first order outside the capital. Arriva North West, the Merseyside operator, has ordered 12 of the BYD ADL Enviro200 EV model 12m buses for service on the City Centre Circular Routes 26 and 27, known as The Belt.

The order follows a joint bid under the Government’s OLEF scheme by Arriva North West (Merseyside) and Merseytravel. The new buses, which will be delivered by mid-2017, will provide an intensive service from the Liverpool One bus station and be based at Arriva’s Green Lane bus depot in Liverpool. Eight BYD chargers are being installed in the depot and the garage.

The buses are expected to cover 150 to 190 miles per day and will be charged overnight. In line with all BYD ADL joint products, the new buses in Merseyside are designed to operate a full day’s duty cycle on one charge, without the need for intrusive ‘top up charging’ during the working day and enjoy the benefit of lower cost off peak electricity. The BYD ADL solution ensures that operators do not have to purchase additional buses beyond the number of their current diesel fleet in order to maintain service on the route due to the outstanding battery capacity and range.

The BYD ADL Enviro200EVs being supplied to Arriva will feature a provincial specification with the addition of 38 seats – a mix of Esteban Civic V3 and ADL designed units. There is space for another 32 standing passengers and there are USB charging points throughout the bus.

Arthur Whiteside, Managing Director – UK Sales at ADL, which is prime contractor on the order, said: “This is a significant breakthrough for us and our partner BYD. It’s the first joint order from outside London and opens the door to a range of provincial cities wishing to upgrade their bus fleets to pure electric, emissions free standard. The Enviro200EV provides a stylish, cost effective and proven bus to meet their needs”.

Frank Thorpe, BYD’s UK Country Manager, commented: “We are delighted to be part of this significant order along with our partners ADL. Merseyside is pointing the way for other British cities wishing to tackle their air quality issues through pollution free city centre buses. We look forward to more such orders”.

Next we have a news update from Reading Buses.

Reading Buses is trialling different vehicles and propulsion systems on its purple 17 route between Wokingham Road, Three Tuns and Tilehurst Water Tower.

The cross town route, which operates 24/7 up to every 7 minutes, is Reading’s most popular bus route and currently features a Vantage Power bus which is testing a new type of electric-hybrid powertrain that could be retrofitted into existing buses, as well as an Enviro400City double-deck bus from London which is assessing dual-door operation.

“Dual-door operation has been commonplace and popular in London for many years and as door and step safety systems have improved, we are now seeing other town and city regions such as Brighton and Oxford return to these types of buses for some of their busiest routes,” says Martijn Gilbert, chief executive officer, Reading Buses. “With increasing congestion and demand for travel we’ve got to look at all possible ways of reducing journey times to keep our network moving. The dual-door bus trial will give us the opportunity to test this”.

In November, the operator will also trial a higher capacity double-deck bus.

“Should we adopt dual door buses on the route in the future then we will need to work with highways colleagues at the council to re-visit bus stop arrangements, especially raised kerbs,” adds Gilbert. “But whatever we do, our customers can be assured that we are putting a lot of thought into getting everyone’s views to obtain the best buses for Reading.”

The company plans to replace its fleet of 16 double deck buses currently on the route with new vehicles towards the end of next year.

This is not the first time Reading Buses have trialled an ‘Iconic’ London Bus, last year Reading Buses trialled the three-door two-staircase hybrid bus known as the New Routemaster.

There is some news in from Singapore where Alexander Dennis has showcased their tri-axle Enviro500 MMC with three doors and two staircases:

Alexander Dennis Limited’s Enviro500 full flat floor, 3 door, 2 staircase double deck stole the show at the LTA-UITP Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition (SITCE) in Suntec City, Singapore from 19 – 21 October 2016.

The Enviro500 concept bus, commissioned by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), is the result of close collaboration between the transport agency and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), the world’s largest double deck bus manufacturer.  Exhibited at a series of Bus Carnivals at venues across Singapore in March and April 2016, visitors were encouraged to provide their feedback on the design of this brand new vehicle designed specifically for Singapore.  Positive feedback on the design and specification has also been received from international visitors to this week’s SITCE event.

The concept bus retains many of the features which have made ADL’s Enviro500 the most popular high-capacity double deck bus in the world.  The most significant difference is the third door and second staircase. The second and third doors act as the exit points for all riders, the result being an efficient, two-stream passenger flow throughout the vehicle which speeds up boarding and alighting, reduces vehicle dwell time at bus stops and enhances the passenger experience.  Ease of access for all passengers is guaranteed thanks to the absence of any internal steps in the lower saloon.

The bus has a range of sophisticated on board specifications including luxurious high back contoured seating, WiFi, USB charging points at all seats, mood lighting and passenger information screens.  Improvements for the driver include a comfortable, ergonomically designed seat within the spacious cab area.  A large curved windscreen offers excellent visibility, and a CCTV monitor gives the driver all round clear views of staircases and exit doors for the added security of passengers.

Paul Davies, Director and General Manager of Alexander Dennis Asia Pacific, commented: “As a global business, we embrace this type of major customer involvement initiative. The LTA challenged ADL to design and build a double deck bus with three doors and two staircases which they believe will transform the passenger experience. A series of engineering workshops with the LTA, in addition to passenger feedback, has enabled us to further refine the initial design into a viable technical solution.  We are confident the vehicle will deliver the operational advantages the LTA require while improving the passengers’ on board experience.”

When asked about the complexity of engineering this unique concept vehicle, Bill Thong, General Manager of Alexander Dennis (Singapore) Service Pte Limited, responded, “It’s not a question of difficulty it is a question of desire. If the market is calling for a 3-door bus solution then the challenge is for manufacturers to respond and that is what we at ADL are doing.”

Paul Davies added, “Our collaboration with the LTA to develop this concept bus underlines our commitment to this critically important market.  With over 200 Enviro500 vehicles in circulation here, we already have a strong foundation in Singapore. In summer 2015, we invested in a new, centrally based, local HQ in Tagore 8, which is headed up by Bill Thong.  We are delighted Bill joined us, bringing over 15 years senior management experience in commercially focused roles having been with Michelin, Alcoa, Akzo Nobel and Comfort Delgro, before joining Alexander Dennis Limited.

Since then we have continued strengthen our organisation in Singapore, recruiting a new Service Manager and Field Service Engineers. ADL is renowned for delivering reliable vehicles underpinned by class-leading aftermarket support, so having our own highly trained Service Engineers gives our customers the comfort of knowing their vehicles’ uptime will be maximised.”

More images of the three-door two-staircase Enviro500 MMC can be seen here.

This shows how the New Routemaster has influenced the bus industry by encouraging Alexander Dennis to build their own three-door two-staircase bus.

The question is though, are Alexander Dennis going to unveil their three-door two-staircase Enviro400H City to compete with the three-door two-staircase New Routemaster? Who knows because anything can happen. The Enviro400H City is a London Bus icon, competing with other iconic buses such as the New Routemaster and the Wright SRM.

Lastly, we have an update from LOTS:

1) Just a few more LTs have finally gone into service on Arriva route 253, allowing the start of a cascade of HVs, some initially going to Wood Green. Although LT845 has been out on training for some weeks, the initial handful of LT deliveries to Go-Ahead for route 21 remain in store. At least all of Metroline’s batch of LTs (789-811) are now at last all in service, mixed with earlier batches on the 16, 168 and 189.

2) Some of the eight StreetLites (batch WS 66-73) on order for part of Go-Ahead route 39 are now on delivery, while the delivery of BYD/ADL SEe class buses seems to have speeded up a little and those in service are running well. The first two (MEC 1 and 2) of what should be 18 Citaros off the 507/521 are now In service on route 108, having been upseated (to 33) and repainted.

3) At EOS, having had two ex-GHA Solos in use for a few weeks, it now has two 12-metre Scania N230UBs, also ex-GHA but originally with Menzies at Heathrow, in service on route 66. EOS’ route 87 Harlow – Epping is still running but has been deregistered from 17 December. Also in Essex, Amber Coaches has deregistered its routes 14 and 261 in mid-December.   

4) After West Croydon Bus Station finally re-opened on 8th October, albeit with some features not yet finished, from Monday 31st the Bus Station at East Croydon Station is being closed until March 2017. There are no alternative bus stops and although the 64/433 stop close by in Dingwall Road, the eastbound 119/194/198/466 have no stops between Park Lane (in the Town Centre) and Lebanon Road, passengers being advised to use the tram between the Rail Station and Lebanon Road.

As always, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

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