First West of England invests in 77 new gas buses for Bristol

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.

New vehicle deliveries to First Bristol will see the second metrobus route converted to biogas operation, whilst some other services in the city will also benefit from new biogas-fuelled buses early next year

Delivery of 77 brand new buses for First West of England is currently in progress. The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles are all are based on the Scania N280 UD4x2EB chassis and bodied by Alexander Dennis with the Enviro400 CBG City model.

Four of the new metrobus vehicles are seen being prepared to enter service. TOM HUGHES

Managing Director of First West of England, James Freeman told CBW following delivery of the first 10 vehicles: “We have 67 one-door buses coming for our core network. They all feature a second wheelchair space, as per Reading Buses route 17 buses.

“The first batch of 27 will replace Volvo B9s bus-for-bus on the 42-45 routes from the city centre to east Bristol. These use a deep red colour which will look very good once Ray Stenning, of Best Impressions, branding is added.

They’ll be going on the road in January, using the new gas station at Lawrence Hill depot. The works to install this station are going well.

“13 more buses are arriving in February are to upgrade the South Glos Lynx Y1 and T1, which are fast routes from Thornbury and Yate to Bristol, and are doing very well.

“More red buses will be used on service 6, 7 and 17 in place of Volvo B7TLs and a new colour will be carried by the last batch of nine for route 73 Temple Meads to Filton, which will be the last into service.

“Meanwhile the gas metrobuses for the m3 have been launched this week, running from Parson Street until the Lawrence Hill filling station is up and running.”

Two of the first batch of vehicles to be delivered are in First Bristol’s spare lilac version of the Urban 2 livery. ALEX BAIN

10 vehicles from the order, 39841-5/7-9, are delivered ready for the conversion of metrobus route m3 to biogas buses. They will replace diesel-powered 17/67-plate Alexander Dennis Enviro400-bodied Scania N250 UD’s 36801-6/2, which will be moved onto to other work in the city. 39491-2 are also delivered and are in spare livery.

This means that both the m1 and m3 services are operated with biogas-fuelled buses, with the m2 continuing with the existing diesel fleet.

In addition to the conversion of the m3 to biogas vehicles, service changes have been announced from 5 January 2020.

First West of England reports that the number of customers using the city’s metrobuses has grown steadily, with more than four million passengers carried across the three routes since the launch of the services.

Rob Pymm, Commercial Director at First West of England, said: “As metrobus grows in popularity, we continue to learn more about people’s travel patterns and this helps us to adjust the services and make sure we have the right number of buses in the right places at the right times. Peak time services are exceeding expectations, so we are pleased to be able to put extra peak buses on the busiest section of m1 from January and also launch a Sunday service on the m2 from April, but to make these investments we need to ensure that we have the right level of service during the quieter periods as well.”

Full details of the January service changes to metrobus and other routes in the Bristol area can be found at www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west