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New £5.3m bus fleet is about to come into service and hit the roads

PUBLISHED: 00:31 15 February 2020 | UPDATED: 00:31 15 February 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

A fleet of new state-of-the-art buses are about to hit the roads in the Eastern region as they are officially released into service.

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 Monday with changes including:

- Quicker journeys between Swaffham, Kings Lynn and Norwich via the A47 Dereham bypass with a new Sunday timetable starting on Sunday 16th February.

You may also want to watch:

- Fast buses up to every 30 minutes between Dereham and Norwich taking just 35 minutes, with extra journeys at peak times and new evening journeys.

- A combined daytime frequency of three buses per hour between Dereham and Norwich

David Jordan, marketing manager at First Eastern Counties said: "We have been looking forward to this day when we can showcase our new buses to customers on our 'Excel' service. What will also be welcomed is the introduction of a new timetable that will bring lots of new travel options and improved travel times between key locations along the Excel route".

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.

For more information on the new improved timetable - click here https://www.firstgroup.com/norfolk-suffolk/news-and-service-updates/excel-new-standard-travel-comfort-arriving-spring-202


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