Stagecoach has announced that it will be investing £3.2 million into the fleet of subsidiary megabus.com to meet increasing demand for inter-city travel. Megabus.com carries about five million passengers a year and runs services in about 60 destinations across Britain. This investment, which will give the fleet the biggest coaches in the country, will see 11 coaches at 15 metres long each delivered to the company this December. The investment also includes a special metallic version of the company’s livery to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.
The Plaxton Elite i coaches will be manufactured by Alexander Dennis Limited, are based on a tri-axle Volvo B11RT underframe and are powered by a 10.8-litre Euro 5 engine. They will be equipped with free wi-fi access and have 75 seats. Compared to a standard 15-metre coach, these will be able to offer 20% extra capacity, as well as more room to store luggage. The coaches will deliver lower per passenger emissions, along with a reduced carbon footprint for the business. They will also have roll-on level access for disabled passengers – which will be particularly useful for people who have to use a wheelchair. This has eliminated the need for a special lift. Additionally, they will have a toilet and tinted double-glazing.
The new megabus.com coaches will mostly operate on two routes: Preston-Manchester-London and Glasgow-Newcastle-Sheffield-London. However, there’s a possibility they will be run on some London-Exeter-Plymouth and London-Leeds services as well.
Megabus.com general manager Ian Laing says that demand for inter-city travel at a great value continues to grow. This has become particularly evident with the increasing cost of operating and owning a private vehicle, as well as the financial pressure currently weighing on household budgets. These new coaches will be state-of-the-art and deliver more capacity on the major routes they run in the UK.
Laing added that they have worked close to Plaxton in the last ten months to develop this new model. It will set new standards for the accessibility of travellers with impaired mobility while offering great comfort to everyone. The new fleet will provide greener travel for consumers and a lower carbon footprint for the company as well.
This isn’t the only investment Stagecoach is making across its group fleet. Just over a week ago, the company announced that it has introduced greener fuel to nearly 1,000 buses and coaches. The new fuel blend includes 30% biofuel and 70% regular diesel. Of these vehicles, 400 are in West Scotland and 530 are in East Scotland. The new B30 fuel blend is expected to substantially reduce the company’s carbon footprint by cutting CO2e emissions up to 22%.
Stagecoach’s regional director for Scotland, Sam Greer, said that they are working all the time to make their business more sustainable. They believe using greener biofuel will make a difference in their carbon footprint, and that public transport can have a key role in reducing climate change. New technology is vital if the company wants to get travellers to switch from owning a vehicle to riding on greener, smarter buses and coaches.