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First unveils £5.3m bus fleet - with Italian designed seats

PUBLISHED: 10:17 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:36 30 January 2020

Februrary will see a brand new fleet of buses for the First Eastern Counties 'excel' service. Pictured are the buses arriving in Norwich city centre. Picture: Mike Sewell

Februrary will see a brand new fleet of buses for the First Eastern Counties 'excel' service. Pictured are the buses arriving in Norwich city centre. Picture: Mike Sewell

2020 Mike Sewell

Italian-designed leather seats and wooden floors sound like features in a hipster’s house.

The interiors boast italian-designed leather seats and wooden flooring. Picture: Mike SewellThe interiors boast italian-designed leather seats and wooden flooring. Picture: Mike Sewell

But they will soon be among the elements on the buses in Norfolk, as a new fleet of posh vehicles takes to the roads.

First has spent £5.3m on 19 new buses to replace the Excel route fleet, which travels along the A47 from Norwich to Peterborough, from Monday, February 17.

A new and improved timetable for the service, which runs from Norwich to Peterborough, will also roll out in February. Picture: Mike SewelA new and improved timetable for the service, which runs from Norwich to Peterborough, will also roll out in February. Picture: Mike Sewel

The buses, which are painted red, maroon and gold, boast cutting-edge features including USB and wireless charging ports, Muirhead leather seats designed by Italian company Lazzerini, phone holders, a wireless bell push, in-built seat coat-hangers and wooden flooring.

In addition to the new fleet First Bus announced timetable changes on the Excel route which will also roll out on February 17.

Features on the bus include wireless and USB charging ports, phone holders and in built seat coat-hangers. Picture: Mike SewellFeatures on the bus include wireless and USB charging ports, phone holders and in built seat coat-hangers. Picture: Mike Sewell

From then passengers can expect journey times to reduce by 20 minutes between Norwich and Swaffham/King's Lynn.

Non-stop journeys between Norwich and Dereham will also come into effect as well as more services, with a journey time of 35 minutes.

Steve Wickers, managing director of First Eastern Counties, pictured on one of the 19 new buses part of a �5.3m fleet. Picture: Mike SewellSteve Wickers, managing director of First Eastern Counties, pictured on one of the 19 new buses part of a �5.3m fleet. Picture: Mike Sewell

Currently the service runs up to every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday and up to hourly on Sundays.

Steve Wickers, managing director at First Eastern Counties, said: "It is exciting to see how technology, design and innovation can be used to transform bus travel and these vehicles will certainly set a new benchmark in interurban bus travel in terms of comfort, access, connectivity and design, combined with the current highest environmental standards.

"Each bus cost around £280,000 and they are a high specification in order to encourage new people to use the bus."

Other additions to the bus fleet include new Euro VI engines which have the cleanest diesel technology.

Mr Wickers added: "Air quality is such a major issue and we are playing our part in encouraging more people to use public transport across the region as well as play a role in introducing more environmentally-friendly vehicles."

Ady Culpin, PR manager at First, said: "I can truly say there is nothing like this in Norwich for bus passengers.

"Everything has been done to the highest specification and we look forward to welcoming customers on the route."


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