Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Gas buses for Nottingham and three-door two-staircase buses for Switzerland

A brief news update on the bus scene - Nottingham City Transport (NCT) unveiled their gas buses on Friday 19th May 2017 at the Market Square, Nottingham.

This is the press release from NCT which was released on 16th May 2017.

Local people invited to be the first to see the greenest buses on the road at fun event on the Old Market Square on Friday 19 May

Five of the buses – one from each route the first 30 buses will be operating on – will be parked in the square from 10am until 6pm, and will be officially launched by Nottingham’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Edwards at the start of the event.

This occasion marks an exciting time for Nottingham’s award-winning bus operator, as it sees a £17m investment in the greenest buses on the road finally begin their journeys in and around the city this summer.
The innovative move to bio-gas vehicles began last July when NCT, working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, successfully bid to receive £4.4m in funding from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Since that time, and adding its own investment of a further £12.4m, the bus operator has worked closely with manufacturers Scania and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), together with local companies Roadgas and ZF Transmissions, to create bio-gas infrastructure at Parliament Street Garage and state-of-the-art buses that will pave the way for Nottingham’s public transport of the future.

“We are hugely proud of our new bio-gas buses,” says NCT Engineering Director, Gary Mason. “This is the largest order for gas double decks in the world and is the culmination of our extensive research into alternative fuels.”

Gary Mason provides a further explanation of the proven bio-gas technology, “Bio-gas is produced naturally through anaerobic digestion, using food waste, farm waste and sewage. The methane emitted from the digestion process is captured, treated and turned into fuel. When this fuel is used, emissions are 84% lower than their diesel counterparts, thereby making them – from ‘Well-to-Wheel’ the greenest buses on the road.”

The engines and chassis of these sleek new Enviro400CBG City vehicles have been developed by Swedish giant Scania and are bodied in Britain by the country’s largest bus manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL).

Tony Tomsett, Bus, Coach and Engine Sales Director for Scania (Great Britain) Limited added: “Nottingham City Transport has a long-standing reputation for innovation and is once again leading the way with these vehicles, which represent the world’s largest ever order for bio-gas-fuelled double-deck buses. We now look forward to working with the Nottingham team to ensure the city realises the maximum environmental and operational benefits offered by these vehicles.”

Richard Matthews, Sales Director at ADL, commented, “We’re delighted to partner with NCT and Scania on this significant order which responds to the city’s requirements to improve street level air quality, while delivering a first class on-board experience for passengers. We’ve seen the increase in bus ridership our Enviro400 City styling and enhanced interior specifications bring – USB power sockets, comfortable seats and a bright, airy environment from the increased glazing all add to the premium feel which we know passengers appreciate.”

With a stunning exterior design, characterised by smooth flowing lines, large areas of the front are painted in the bus routes’ colours, making it easy for passengers to identify their bus from a distance. Once on board, a glazed staircase brightens the way to the upper deck where the deep side windows and glazed rear dome further add to the light and airy contemporary styling. Elegantly-designed, comfier seats and USB power sockets at most seats, plus NCT’s standard free 4G Wi-Fi will keep passengers connected.

Local people – many of whom will be regular NCT passengers – will be invited to hop on board these exciting new double decks, and meet the team behind the scenes, including representatives from Scania, ADL, ZF Services UK and Roadgas. Amongst NCT’s specially-created green scenery, there’ll be lots of information, ‘green giveaways’ and complimentary teas and coffees provided by local company Blend.

“Our bio-gas buses will be cleaner, quieter, smoother and we’re encouraging everyone to come on down to the Old Market Square on the 19th May to experience them for themselves,” says Gary Mason.

Councillor Jon Collins, Nottingham City Council’s Leader and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Infrastructure, said: “This provides a great opportunity to see just how Nottingham City Council and NCT have been working together to significantly improve our city’s air quality. We are leading the way for the UK’s future bus travel and shaping our future as the UK’s greenest transport city.”

NCT’s first 30 bio-gas buses will begin operating on routes 6, 10, 24, 25 and 44 from the summer, with a further 23 being added to the fleet early next year on routes 36 and 45.

You can read more on their gas buses here.

It’s interesting how NCT used the Enviro400 City design which holds design cues from the London New Routemaster bus, such as the glazed staircase.

Nottingham City Transport is owned by Nottingham City Council; 18% of the stake is owned by Transdev, a French-based international private public transport operator.

Nottingham City Transport is not the first municipal bus company to roll out buses with Enviro400 City bodywork; Blackpool Transport has rolled out 35 of the Enviro400 City buses for their routes.

Also newsworthy is that Swiss Post, a Swiss state owned postal service which runs a bus company called PostBus Switzerland has purchased 19 of these three-door two-staircase tri-axle Enviro500 buses.

Yellow double-decker buses in Eastern Switzerland

By the end of next year, no fewer than 19 new double-decker Postbuses will come into service in Eastern Switzerland. They are produced in the United Kingdom for PostBus – a first of its kind. PostBus is presenting the first of these vehicles to the media in Engelburg today, and to the local population on 20 May.

Eastern Switzerland has become the PostBus hub for double-decker buses with the addition of 19 new vehicles. Double-decker Postbuses have been part of the fleet in Eastern Switzerland since 1995. The third generation is now being produced, as the double-decker buses used up until now are becoming outdated. The first two of the new vehicles will come into service soon. They will mainly be used on the Engelburg–St. Gallen–Heiden routes and then subsequently in the Obertoggenburg and the regions of Rorschach and Goldach. Double-decker buses are well suited for winding roads that are frequently used. Passengers are more comfortable on these routes in double-decker buses than articulated Postbuses as there are many more seats: they offer 78 seats and 55 standing spaces, whereas articulated Postbuses have more standing spaces than seats.

These are the first Postbuses to have been produced in the United Kingdom and the first ever British double-deckers in Switzerland, and are supplied by the company Alexander Dennis, the market leader in this sector. The vehicles ordered for Eastern Switzerland are based on their Enviro500 standard model, but the company has adapted them to PostBus’s needs and Swiss regulations. The first new double-decker was presented to the media in Engelburg (canton St Gallen) on 19 May. During an open day event on 20 May, the local population was able to view the vehicle at the regional PostBus garage.

Between now and the end of 2018, the 19 double-decker Postbuses used in Eastern Switzerland up until now will be replaced gradually by the new vehicles. The new double-decker buses are also equipped with two sets of stairs to the top deck, and they have three doors instead of only two. Both decks have dual display screens and free WiFi. The vehicles are 13 metres long, 4 metres high and meet the strict Euro 6 emission standard. Besides Eastern Switzerland, PostBus uses double-decker buses for regular services and leisure traffic only in Graubünden and in Central Switzerland. Although there will no longer be such a vehicle in Central Switzerland by the end of the year, the four in service in Graubünden will be replaced in the next two years by new double-decker buses.

Last year, Singapore (Land Transport Authority) unveiled the Enviro500 tri-axle mock up which contains three doors and two staircases - you can read the article here.

Since the New Routemaster has three doors and two staircases, will bus companies around the world buy a three-door two-staircase bus with New Routemaster bodywork? Post your opinion in the comments section below.

Here’s a small update from LOTS:

1) A few of Tower Transit’s new StreetLites (batch WV 46201+) went into service in the past week on routes 236 and 444. Beginning to appear on 20th May were the first few of London United’s new E20Ds (DLE 30041-48) on route 110 and the new E20Ds (8171-3) at Abellio on route 464, taken over from G-A Metrobus on that date.

2) The first few of what will be 54 E20D(MMC)s for Arriva Southern Counties have commenced delivery; most are for Medway and Maidstone although eventually 12 of them are due at Harlow. Another 31 E20D(MMC)s are due soon for Arriva the Shires, split over Luton, Milton Keynes and High Wycombe garages.

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Related article
Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City for London

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