19/02/2013

Firstgroup places £76m bus order for 2013/14

Firstgroup last week announced that its bus division has ordered 464 new vehicles worth £76m for delivery in the 2013/14 financial year. This order will bring First’s investment in new buses to around £240m in three years.

First also confirmed that more than 95% of its 2013/14 manufacture will be in the UK. The bulk of the order will be built by Falkirk based Alexander Dennis Limited (222 vehicles) and Ballymena based Wrightbus (179 vehicles). Volvo Group UK will manage its 37 bus contract from its headquarters in Warwick, while Leeds company Optare will manufacture 18. A further eight vehicles will be ordered, but as yet no decision has been taken as to the manufacturer.

The interior of each vehicle will be laid out to First’s specification which was designed last year following extensive customer research. This seeks to maximise the flexibility for both buggies and wheelchairs whilst providing additional grab rails for all passengers whether seated or standing. All vehicles will be fitted with Wi-Fi so that customers can stay connected whilst on the move, they will also all be fitted with either leather or e-leather seating.

First’s new buses will be fitted with EURO V engines. The £76m order consists primarily of single decker and midi buses with 42 double deckers. It follows the delivery in 2012 of a very high number of double deckers for First’s Olympic Shuttle services.

According to Gerard over on the X1 Blog 22 of the new double deckers included in this order are for the long distance X1 route which links Peterborough, King's Lynn, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, they are said to be Dennis Trident II (Cummins) based Alexander Dennis Enviro400's and could start arriving as early as May this year.