Bio-buses arrive for Stagecoach in Canterbury

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Buses to operate on Unibus route, which has seen passenger numbers grow from 290k to 1.25m in six years

The first bio-buses in east Kent have entered service in Canterbury. The six ADL Enviro400 double deckers run on 100% biofuel, are being used on the Unibus route between the University of Kent and Canterbury Bus Station. They represent an investment of £1.1m.

Philip Norwell, Managing Director of Stagecoach in East Kent said: “We have a responsibility to look after our environment while continuing to provide the public transport which people are increasingly choosing to use to get around east Kent.

“We work very closely with the University of Kent and the Unibus route has provided sustainable transport for their expanding Canterbury campus. Passenger numbers on the Unibus have grown from 290,000 in 2006 to 1.25 million in 2012, saving vast numbers of car journeys in the city.

“Our investment in these ultramodern vehicles is testament to our commitment to providing quality bus travel in Canterbury to help cut traffic congestion, while also continually reducing our own carbon footprint.”

Speaking at the launch, John Gilbey, leader of Canterbury City Council, said: “We are determined to try everything we can to reduce pollution and congestion in our city. Buses play a key role in that strategy, so Stagecoach’s investment in a fleet of new biofuel vehicles is very welcome and I have no doubt that their introduction on such a well-used route will improve the situation greatly.”

The University of Kent has also invested in the bus upgrade by contributing to the cost of the new infrastructure installed at Stagecoach’s Herne Bay depot to house the environmentallyfriendly fuel.

The buses are powered by Euro 5 engines and Stagecoach expects the combination of biofuel and engine to result in a 50% reduction in pollutants.The buses also provide free WiFi for passengers and a dedicated team of specially trained Unibus drivers will be behind the wheels.

The introduction of bio-buses in Canterbury is part of a nationwide environmental policy adopted by Stagecoach Group, with the first biofuel project in Kilmarnock, Scotland resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions by 80%, winning a top honour at the 2010 Green Business Awards. Stagecoach in East Kent has also recently installed an eco-driving system in all its buses which is expected to reduce fuel consumption by encouraging better driving practices.