Mon­ster Ed­in­burgh bus will be big­gest in UK

Loth­ian un­veils first of 131-ca­pac­ity dou­ble deck­ers for cap­i­tal in Jan­uary

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By ALASTAIR DALTON Trans­port Cor­re­spon­dent

Ed­in­burgh pas­sen­gers are to get the largest buses in the UK with 100-seat dou­ble deck­ers to start run­ning in Jan­uary.

Loth­ian’s fleet of 42 Falkirk­built ve­hi­cles will also see trav­ellers alight­ing through mid­dle doors for the first time in a decade, to speed up ser­vices.

The 45ft-long buses will be able to ac­com­mo­date a to­tal of 131 pas­sen­gers – 50 per cent more than Loth­ian’s oth­ers.

Other fea­tures on the sixwheel­ers in­clude high-back seats to give pas­sen­gers more per­sonal space.

Loth­ian manag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Hall said they would be in­tro­duced in late Jan­uary, on routes still to be de­cided.

He said: “We are try­ing to cre­ate an at­mos­phere that feels com­fort­able, safe, warm and wel­com­ing.

“We want bus travel to be some­where nice to be that de­lights the pas­sen­ger.”

Mr Hall said en­tic­ing peo­ple out of their cars re­quired “some­thing that re­ally gives them a first-class ex­pe­ri­ence”.

Loth­ian scrapped mid­dle doors in 2009 but will be the first in Scot­land to re­in­state them, in an at­tempt to re­duce de­lays at bus stops.

Mr Hall said: “We wanted to look at how to speed up alight­ing and jour­ney times, and im­prove pas­sen­ger flow.

“It can take up to three min­utes to empty a dou­ble decker, and peo­ple can’t get on and off at the same time.”

How­ever, he pre­dicted few would try to board through the mid­dle door to dodge fares.

He said: “There is more CCTV and we have in­spec­tors, so the rev­enue risk is ab­so­lutely min­i­mal.”

Alexan­der Den­nis chief ex­ec­u­tive Colin Robert­son said the un­veil­ing of the bus at its fac­tory in Camelon was a “mo­men­tous day” for the firm.

He­said: “Asacom­pa­ny­head­quar­tered in Scot­land, build­ing buses again for Ed­in­burgh is a great source of pride for the em­ploy­ees at our Falkirk fac­tory and we look for­ward to fur­ther de­vel­op­ing our re­la­tion­ship with Loth­ian.”

The buses are the first it has built for Loth­ian since 2011 and the first fleet for 20 years.

The En­vi­ro400xlb ve­hi­cles com­prise a Alexan­der Den­nis body­work on top of a Volvo en­gines and chas­sis.

Their diesel Euro 6 en­gines will com­ply with a low emis­sion zone due to be launched in Ed­in­burgh by 2022.

Trans­port sec­re­tary and Falkirk West MSP Michael Math­e­son said: “There was al­ways that miss­ing piece of the jig­saw in not hav­ing Alexan­der Den­nis buses on the streets of Scot­land’s cap­i­tal city.”

Gavin Booth, di­rec­tor of pas­sen­ger watch­dog Bus Users Scot­land, said: “Loth­ian’s new mega dou­ble-decker com­bines com­fort and ca­pac­ity for bus pas­sen­gers.”

adal­ton@scots­man.com

The 45ft-long busses will be built by Alexan­der Den­nis, the first time the Falkirk based com­pany have work with Loth­ian since 2011

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