First unveils £5.3m bus fleet - with Italian designed seats
PUBLISHED: 10:17 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:36 30 January 2020
2020 Mike Sewell
Italian-designed leather seats and wooden floors sound like features in a hipster’s house.
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.
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.
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.
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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