Monster Edinburgh bus will be biggest in UK
Lothian unveils first of 131-capacity double deckers for capital in January
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.”
The 45ft-long busses will be built by Alexander Dennis, the first time the Falkirk based company have work with Lothian since 2011