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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Carlisle to get £4m new Stagecoach bus fleet

Carlisle is getting a fleet of brand new buses thanks to a £4 million investment by Stagecoach.

Stagecoach bus photo
Keith Little, of Cumbria County Council, with Stagecoach’s Nigel Winter

The first six of 41 new single-deck British-built ADL E200 buses entered service this week.

They feature greener engines and a striking new look, colour-coded for each route, with low-platform entry to help elderly and disabled passengers, and mums with prams.

The first buses were launched by Councillor Keith Little, the Cumbria County Council cabinet member for transport, at Carlisle Racecourse.

Nigel Winter, managing director of Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, said: “This is the largest ever investment in new buses for Carlisle.

“It represents an unprecedented upgrade in the quality of vehicles being provided to passengers in the city.

“We believe that our investment will encourage more people to try the bus and persuade them that travelling by bus not only makes environmental sense but is also a cost-effective means of transport.”

The buses will enter service over the coming weeks on the 60 from Sandsfield Park to Carleton Clinic, 61/61A Morton to Harraby, 62/62A Kingmoor Park to Morton, 67/68 Upperby to Belle Vue, and 76 St Ann’s to Durranhill.

Mr Little said: “I welcome the investment in improved local bus services and look forward to seeing the benefits that it will bring passengers.”

The first buses have arrived in time for Catch the Bus Week, which runs until May 4, and sees Stagecoach join forces with the sustainable transport group Greener Journeys to promote the benefits of bus use.

It is giving away an iPad and bus tickets as part of the campaign.

The company is also teaming up with the News & Star to find ‘Carlisle’s Heroes’.

Nominations for your Carlisle Hero can be submitted to a panel of judges. Winners get a year’s free bus travel and will be featured as a Carlisle Hero on the back of the new buses.

Full details of the competition will appear in the News & Star soon.

The new fleet for Carlisle is part of a £75m investment in buses and coaches announced by Stagecoach last year.

It is buying 430 vehicles to serve its operations across the UK and Europe.

Stagecoach’s profitability remains “satisfactory”, the company told investors yesterday.

Like-for-like revenues were up 4.8 per cent in its UK regional bus operations for the 48 weeks to March, while rail franchises saw 4.5 per cent growth.

Virgin Rail, Stagecoach’s joint venture with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, which operates the West Coast Main Line through Cumbria, saw 5.9 per cent growth.

Stagecoach is due to report results for the full year to April in June.

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