Arriva’s Darlington gas bus launch

John Rochford

Arriva has launched 11 gas powered MAN EcoCitys in Darlington. They represent an investment of £2.2m and are part of a wider £26.7m spend by the company on environmentally friendly buses. £4.5m of that money was provided by the government’s Green Bus Fund. The 11 buses will run on routes 2, 11 and 12/12a in the Darlington area. During their launch, the operator has attached 1,000 balloons to one of the new vehicles and asked the public to guess how many it would actually take to lift the bus off the ground? The competition runs until 30 April and the person who is the nearest will win a UK ballooning holiday for two. 

Area MD for Arriva North East, Nick Knox, said, ‘Our green fleet not only offers a comfortable way to travel, but it is an environmentally friendly way to travel. We really believe the people of Darlington will love travelling on these new buses.’

Pic: GM of Arriva’s Darlington depot, John Rochford.

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Lothian Volvo hybrids unveiling

Lothian Volvo
Lothian Buses is to unveil its ten new single deck Volvo hybrids at an event in Edinburgh city centre on 13 April from 11.00 to 15.00. Visitors will be able to take away goodie bags and a sapling as part of the promotion. The vehicles will go into service on 15 April, serving on the No. 1 route from Clermiston to Easter Road. They feature pneumatically controlled inward gliding entrance doors, a plush interior and free wi-fi access. The new hybrid fleet has been partially funded by a £750,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s Green Bus fund. A further 20 single-decker hybrids will be introduced in 2014 following the most recent round of Government funding, with the operator receiving a £1.5m grant towards the new fleet. Over 60% of the company’s fleet now use the latest in carbon reducing technology.

MD of Lothian Buses, Ian Craig, said, ‘Our vision is to provide world-class, socially inclusive transport for Scotland’s capital city. As a company we are always looking for ways to offer greener and more sustainable travel, both for our passengers and the local environment. With the financial support from the Scottish Government we are delighted to continue to add to our existing green fleet.’www.twitter.com/bus_coachbuyer

UK Bus Awards entries sought

The 2013 UK Bus Awards contest is now officially under way. Entries are invited to compete for 21 awards covering the full range of skills required to plan, promote and deliver high quality bus services. The closing date is 7 June, with judging taking place in July and August. The awards ceremony is to take place at the London Hilton on Park Lane on 19 November.

UK Bus Awards Chairman, John Owen, said, ‘We are delighted to be entering the 18th year for the awards. In that time we have seen impressive change within the industry, with major innovation and real passion driving operating standards and marketing initiatives to new heights. The increasing quality of entries over recent years has made judging a real challenge, but it’s one we relish because it is all contributing to making using the bus a much more viable alternative to using a car.’

Nomination forms can be obtained online via the UK Bus Awards website (www.ukbusawards.org.uk).

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Stagecoach East Midlands developments

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There have been a number of developments for Stagecoach East Midlands of late. Firstly, following the opening of Mansfield’s new £9m bus station, the operator was involved in the re-launch of the town’s bus network under the Mansfield Move banner. The day before the opening, the company played a key role in a Family Fun Day, providing a vintage bus for free tours of the town. As part of the Statutory Quality Bus Partnership which accompanies the new station, Stagecoach has ordered new buses worth over £1m. 

Also in Mansfield, the pronto service run jointly by Stagecoach and trentbarton has seen an increase in frequency to every ten minutes between Mansfield and Nottingham. It previously ran every 15 minutes. Staying in Nottinghamshire, the operator’s Sherwood Arrow service has been improved, with hourly buses between Ollerton and Nottingham and a new link to Retford. The route is run as a partnership between Stagecoach and Nottinghamshire County Council. It will also feature a new look, with the rear of each vehicle celebrating a different location on the route. There is also an improved service on the InterConnect 6 between Lincoln and Skegness, with the addition of faster journeys on the key corridor designed to appeal to car drivers. 

Stagecoach Regional Director, Gary Nolan, said, ‘The main InterConnect 6 has been growing for many years and we were looking at what we could do to continue this upward trend. Our new 6x journeys are 20% faster than the main service, fantastically competitive with driving times and are the same great price as the normal trips. We are promoting the service as Lincoln to Skegness – the quick way. It’s always nice to be improving services and to have so many improvements happening at once is fantastic. The strength of our partnerships can be seen in the changes we have made particularly with Nottinghamshire County Council. Working together we have been able to secure better buses.’

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