New coaches for Oxford Bus Company

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New tri-axle Plaxton Elite I Volvos to replace Plaxton Panther Volvo B12Bs on X90

A new £2.5m fleet of coaches is being introduced to cope with increasing demand on the high-profile Oxford Bus Company (OBC) X90 Oxford to London service.

The new coaches are Plaxton Elite i-bodied Euro 6 Volvo B11Rs. Internally, they boast 63 seats with 4G WiFi, USB points and power sockets. The coaches have been gradually introduced into service over the last two weeks.

Phil Southall, the Managing Director of OBC, said: “The new vehicles will provide an extra 15,000 seats a month to meet increasing demand. The new Volvo/Plaxton Elite coaches will have more seats than the coaches they replace but will still offer the most legroom of any scheduled coach service in the country.

“We’ve resisted the temptation to cut down on legroom to get more seats in, as we know our passengers really value the comfort provided on the X90. It’s most important to be able to stretch-out especially after a long day in London.

“The latest coaches join five similar vehicles introduced just over a year ago. It brings our recent investment in the X90 service to over £4m. It reflects how important the X90 London route is and shows our commitment to giving the best possible service to our passengers. We’ve seen an encouraging increase in passengers travelling on the X90 and we want to ensure there’s space for everyone. That’s why we are increasing the number of seats available and this week we improved our X90 timetable to make afternoon and evening departures from London more resilient. We are particularly keen to ensure that passengers are able to board our coaches at all the stops in London, including the popular final London pick-up on Marylebone Road.”

Asked by CBW what was happening to the 08-plated Panther Volvo B12B coaches dedicated to the service until now, an OBC spokesman replied: “Three are being retained until June and the remainder are being returned at the end of their lease.”

Mark Ballam, Commercial Manager at Plaxton Coach, commented: “We are delighted to be working with OBC again and to be introducing even more of our stylish Elite i models into their fleet. These coaches are fast gaining iconic status, offering not only greater capacity and operational efficiency – but a stylish new look that sets them apart, particularly on high profile routes like the X90 service to-and-from-London.

“Couple this with state-of-the-art technology and exceptional levels of passenger comfort and it is apparent why they have become so popular and are playing a key role in OBC’s inter-city routes going from strength-to-strength.”

The company recently introduced a smartphone app that allows passengers to buy their tickets on their smartphone, even while they are waiting for the coach to arrive.