Whippet launches new Mellor e-bus fleet

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The Universal buses are the first example of Mellor’s Sigma 12 to enter service. RICHARD WALTER

A fleet of nine new Mellor electric buses will operate on an extended Universal bus route from October, after the University of Cambridge and Whippet buses announced a new eight-year contract for the service

Subsidised by the University of Cambridge but open to everyone, the city’s service U has been operating for 20 years and operator Whippet has recently taken delivery of a new fleet of Mellor Sigma electric buses for the route.

Jonathan Ziebart, Managing Director at Whippet parent company Ascendal UK, said: “The University’s latest investment will see a fleet of fully electric buses, offering cutting-edge technology and innovative safety features to provide a truly premium travel experience. Some of the key features include a state-of-the-art camera monitoring system replacing the need for wing mirrors. In parallel, we will be cascading our former Universal buses across Whippet’s local bus network, helping to improve passenger experience whilst lowering emissions.”

Group Head of Marketing and Customer Experience Nicoletta Gennaro added: “After many months of intensive effort, we are proud of the passenger-centric environment we have created on our new vehicles. We have dedicated special attention to customer experience, providing our passengers with high-quality vegan leather seats, and other features such as wireless charging, stop buttons on each seat, and high-quality WiFi.”

Professor Andy Neely, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, said: “The U bus service supports growth and the local economy and is the only privately operated and funded fully electric bus service in the UK. The service has bucked the national trend by exceeding pre-Covid ridership levels this year. 2022/23 has been the busiest year ever on the Universal bus, with more than 719,000 passengers.”

Chair of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy Committee and Transport Working Group Professor Ian Leslie added: “The Universal bus supports the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability, in particular sustainable business travel, as well as its work to meet the access requirements of all students. From the beginning of the new academic year the bus route will enable Girton, Homerton, Selwyn, Newnham and Wolfson Colleges to have more convenient access to the service, as well as buses now going to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (Addenbrooke’s site) at the weekends as well as on weekdays.”

Phil Hale, Roger Birch, Nicoletta Gennaro, Ed Cameron and Jonathan Ziebart launch the new buses for Whippet’s Universal service. ASCENDAL GROUP