The largest coach order in the history of the Oxford Tube has been deferred due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The planned £13m investment would have introduced 34 brand-new Plaxton Panorama coaches to the fleet this summer to replace 26 new Van Hool TX27 Astromega coaches which were introduced in July 2014, along with a number of former megabus examples that have recently joined the fleet to cope with the increase of customers following the withdrawal of Oxford Bus Company’s X90 service.
Plaxton’s Scarborough factory were due to start production of the Panorama bodies for 34 Volvo B11RLE chassis in March, which was around the time that Covid-19 infections were gathering pace in the UK, ultimately leading to the lockdown and temporary closure of the Plaxton factory.
A Stagecoach Group spokesperson told CBW: “We have had to review our planned investment and that means we are deferring the Oxford Tube fleet investment for the time being.”
Stagecoach Groups last Covid-19 update on 3 April said: “Prior to COVID-19 having an effect on the business, our capital expenditure plans for 2020/21 envisaged around £105m of cash capital expenditure and around £38m of new leases. For the time being, we have scaled down the planned expenditure to around £40m of cash capital expenditure and around £20m of new leases. The scaled down plans reflect vehicles ordered which are either already built or largely built, vehicles required for new London bus contracts secured, electrical infrastructure work required for new London bus contracts secured, completion of some ongoing land and buildings work, and a reduced spend on technology and change projects.“