Stagecoach North East
Enviro 300 27739 is now in service sporting its new Stagecoach ‘Local’ livery with MAN/Enviro 300 24108 now in the paint shop for its livery ‘make-over’.
Stagecoach South West
Repaints have now started again at Exeter with Optare Solo 47520 being a recipient of the new Stagecoach ‘Local’ livery with MAN/Enviro 300s 24142/47 being next to get the repaint treatment.
With several Busway saloons currently on loan to Bedford and working the X5 Oxford-Cambridge services another Busway vehicle was on the route this morning when Scania/Enviro 400MMC 15292 was out on a Cambridge-resourced duplicate working into Cambridge.
Stagecoach East Midlands
Now operational at Skegness is Open Top Trident 18473, the new ‘Pierre’. However, when photographed yesterday it was carrying Fleet Number 18437 on the front destination panel. The bus currently retains its original registration of LX55ERU.
Relicensed are Scania K410-EB6 coaches 3 and 7, the first of the National Express coaches here to return to the operational fleet. Also relicensed is Heritage Fleet AEC Regent 644.
National Express West Midlands
News Reaches us that National Express West Midlands is making good on its promise never to buy another diesel bus. We will let National Express West Midlands explain.
At 0637 on Sunday 5 July 2020, the company’s first fully electric double decker left Yardley Wood garage to carry passengers on the 6 route to Solihull, via Hall Green and Shirley.
Bus number E008 'Laura' was soon followed by her sisters - there are 19 electric buses based in Birmingham. Ten more are due from ADL for the National Express Coventry operation and will be out in service this autumn.
Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express UK, said: “Earlier this year, we announced that National Express had bought its last diesel. Our bus fleet will be zero emission by 2030, and our white coach fleet by 2035.
“Buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel. For four years, we’ve been working as part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance to tackle climate change and improve air quality. We’ve retrofitted nearly a thousand older buses with new exhaust systems, and since 2015, we’ve bought only the cleanest diesels on the market.
“And now we’ve gone all out with these beautiful buses which are fully electric - even the heaters run off the battery. They cost more than a Rolls Royce Phantom, and as well as being great for the environment, they come with all the top-spec kit our customers expect from a Platinum bus - extra space, USB chargers and free wi-fi.
“We’re very proud that National Express is bringing fully electric buses to the people of the West Midlands. I’d like to thank all the drivers, trainers, engineers and managers who have worked so hard behind the scenes to make this happen.”
Bus drivers have to be specially trained to drive electric buses. The vehicles behave completely differently to combustion engine-driven buses, and drivers have to drive to preserve the charge for as long as possible and extend the range. Engineers too have been trained in a whole new kind of maintenance.
It’s not just the people who’ve had to change their ways. National Express’ 80-year-old Yardley Wood garage has been retrofitted with a shed-sized battery, a charging station for each bus and a system so engineers can monitor the buses’ performance from screens up in the depot or their laptops. The buses charge up in four hours, and can run for 190 kilometres before needing another charge.
National Express West Midlands was awarded £3 million by the government in 2016 to help fund the extra cost of an electric bus and the necessary equipment, and the bus company has invested £11 million in the project.
National Express West Midlands says that anyone wanting to spot one of these hi-tech buses should look out for the number on the back of the vehicle. After reaching fleet numbers in the 7000s, National Express West Midlands has literally reset the clock - the electric buses start from 001 and carry the prefix “E”. There won’t be too long to wait to see an electric bus - they come along every seven minutes.
The future is already here.