Alexander gets bulk of £70m Stagecoach bus order

Perth-based transport giant Stagecoach Group announced new orders for 340 buses worth £70 million — with Falkirk-based coach maker Alexander Dennis and its subsidiary Plaxton getting orders for more than 300 of the vehicles.

Souter Investments, the private family investment office of Stagecoach co-founder and chairman, Brian Souter, is a “lead investor” in Alexander Dennis, accoring to Souter Investments’ web site.

Stagecoach said the new fleet, most equipped with free wifi, will be introduced in the coming 2017-18 financial year.

“The latest announcement takes Stagecoach Group’s total orders of new buses and coaches to more than £1 billion in the past 11 years, delivering around 7,000 new vehicles for passengers,” said Stagecoach.

“The brand new buses and coaches will be introduced in Stagecoach’s regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as on the company’s network in the UK.

“Almost half of the new vehicles meet the government’s low carbon emission bus specification, while around two thirds feature innovative stop-start technology to help improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions.

“Most of the new vehicles are set to be built in the UK, helping to support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs and smaller businesses in the supply chain who produce key components from drivers’ seats and toilets to wheelchair lifts and destination displays. ”

All of the new vehicles meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

Each of the new vehicles will also be fitted with CCTV, USB charging points, and most will have wi-fi installed.

“The latest orders follow an annual competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles are being delivered from Spring 2017,” added Stagecoach.

Stagecoach Group chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “We are continuing to re-invest money from fares in state-of-the-art, cleaner, greener vehicles, digital technology and smart ticketing to deliver an even higher standard of service.

“These latest vehicle orders are an important part of our strategy to encourage even more people to take the bus.

“Local bus services are the backbone of the country’s transport networks.

“However, the increasing problem of traffic congestion in our towns and cities is holding buses back and it is high time our politicians stepped up and took action to support bus passengers and free up road space to help bus networks flourish.”