Stagecoach orders 15m coaches for Megabus

Stagecoach orders 15m coaches for Megabus Stagecoach has ordered 45 Plaxton Panthers on 15m tri-axle Volvo B12BT chassis.

THE BIGGEST UK order for 15m-long coaches has been placed by Stagecoach, which is taking 45 Plaxton-bodied Volvo B12BTs for its low-cost Megabus operation in an £11million deal. Although 15m coaches have been legal in Britain since 2004, Stagecoach is the first operator to place a large order for the type. The company has previously bought Neoplan Skyliners when investing in high-capacity coaches.

The new fleet will have Plaxton Panther bodies – the first 15m coaches to be produced by the Scarborough-based builder – and will be wheelchair accessible using a lift in the main passenger entrance. They will be 63-seaters with a toilet compartment at the rear, and with on-board CCTV.

Stagecoach already operates 56 wheelchair-accessible Plaxton B7R Profiles.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group chief executive, says: "Megabus.com offers the best value inter-city travel in Britain and this new investment will provide a further step-change in the quality of service we provide our customers.

"The new vehicles will bring our investment in Megabus.com to around £18million in the past 18 months, and we see further opportunities to attract more people to low-cost inter-city travel."

"We are delighted to have secured this, the first major order for 15m coaches for operation in Britain," adds Plaxton’s sales and marketing director, Kevin Wood. "We worked closely with both Stagecoach and Volvo to develop a specification which met the needs of the Megabus operation in terms of accessibility, comfort and carrying capacity."

The only alteration required at Plaxton’s factory is the provision of a new paint booth to accommodate the longer vehicles. Work on that is now underway, in preparation for delivery of the first of the new coaches in the spring.

Stagecoach is also pushing the environmental benefits of coach travel. Souter concludes "Bus and coach travel is the greener way to travel and far less damaging than airlines. Not only is Megabus.com easy on the wallet, it is easy on the planet."

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