New buses for Metrobus and Brighton & Hove

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36 new vehicles due to enter service in the coming weeks for two sister Go-Ahead Group operating companies

Go-Ahead Group-owned Brighton & Hove Bus Coach Company (B&H) and sister firm Metrobus are set to benefit from 36 new buses in the coming weeks.

The investment of more than £6m is part of the firm’s drive to exceed compliance with the newly launched Brighton and Hove low emission zone.

Two dozen Wrightbus Streetdecks are due for delivery in mid March and are expected to enter service at the end of the month on the high-profile route 12, which links Brighton with Eastbourne, via Newhaven and Seaford. The Streetdecks will replace Scania OmniDekkas, which in turn are being cascaded internally to allow the withdrawal of Dennis Tridents. The new vehicles will carry revised Coaster branding, with blue and green in a similar style to the current B&H livery, the work of Best Impressions. The vehicle rears will sport promotional messages for attractions along the route. Internal features will include power sockets and WiFi provided by Icomera. Contrary to previous intentions however, in order to meet revised requirements without compromising too greatly on the seating capacity, there will now only be one table on the upper deck.

Entering service in early March in a revised Metrobus livery will be a batch of 10 ADL Enviro 200s. Four will be branded for ‘Gatwick Direct’ route 200, which connects Gatwick with Horsham. Another four will be branded for route 270, which links East Grinstead with Brighton, via Forest Row and Haywards Heath. There will also be two spare buses. All 10 will be equipped with free onboard WiFi.

Notably however, the Enviro 200s will be fitted with GKN’s Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid system. As previously reported, instead of a battery, the Gyrodrive system uses a magnetically loaded high-speed carbon-fibre flywheel to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop. It then utilises the stored energy to power a GKN EVO electric motor which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating significant fuel savings of up to around 25% at a considerably lower cost than battery-hybrid alternatives.

Nick Hill, Head of Commercial Development and B&H and Metrobus, told CBW: “The flywheel technology is particularly suited to interurban routes like the 270 and 200, where the buses travel at main road speeds.”

Not to be forgotten are the two new Wrightbus-bodied Volvo single-deckers which are due to enter the Metrobus fleet to replace the Scania OmniCitys currently used as spares for the Fastway.

“The Volvos are fantastic buses. We’re delighted with their performance, look and feel,” enthused Nick.

Martin Harris, Brighton and Hove Buses Managing Director, said: “This investment totalling in excess of £6m is a huge sign of the value we place in providing a high quality bus service to a growing market in our city.

“It has been made possible with no cost to the tax payer because we have the freedom to operate buses frequently where our passengers tell us they need to go.

“However, we will not be resting on our laurels as we continue to work with our local partners to improve services further and invest in technology and buses that will enable us to reduce emissions even further.”