North East Connected

£10.5m investment to upgrade North East bus fleet

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 07.38.14The North East’s largest bus operator Go North East is improving services by investing £10.5m in new buses. This brings the firm’s total capital spend over the last five years to £50m.

The Gateshead-based company has bought 47 new vehicles for a range of its most popular services. The new buses are part of a programme of investment to ensure its fleet is as modern and efficient as possible.

Go North East has a fleet of 660 buses and is the region’s third largest employer with 2,100 staff. The company runs services in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Teesside.

The first of the new buses to hit the road are seven double deck vehicles on the X21 Pronto, Newcastle to Bishop Auckland, service. The Pronto has been renamed The Castles Express and given a fresh new look with a blue livery that shows the castles that are near the route – Auckland, Lumley, Durham and Newcastle.

In April the firm’s Tynedale Links service, that operates in the Hexham area, will receive five brand new buses and three newer vehicles.

The other services to benefit from the investment will be North Tyne Links – set to be renamed Indigo; Prince Bishops, which operates in Durham, and some national coach trips operated on behalf of National Express.

Other services will also be upgraded with newer buses thanks to the company’s strategy of cascading the newest vehicles down to refresh the whole fleet, removing the oldest vehicles from service.

The vehicles will be phased in over the next few months and are fitted with leather seats, LED lighting, wood effect flooring, free wifi, next stop announcements and USB and plug sockets. The vehicles are also fitted with the latest micro hybrid engine technology which recovers braking energy to power on board systems that would otherwise require power from the engine, thus reducing fuel consumption and improving emissions.

Go North East managing director Kevin Carr said: “This time last year we spent £7m on new buses and this year there is over £10m being spent. These significant sums of money demonstrate how committed we are to giving our customers the best possible services. These new vehicles will ensure our fleet is one of the most modern in the country.

“We have very loyal customers and we continue to innovate commercially to ensure they stay with us, by giving them features they tell us they appreciate including free wifi, plug sockets, next stop announcements and comfortable seats.”

A series of launch events are planned over the spring and summer to introduce the new vehicles and new brands into their local communities.

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