New fleet of buses to roll out across Norwich and Great Yarmouth in £1.75m investment
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A bus firm has invested £1.75m in a dozen 'comfortable' single deckers, in a bid to tempt more people onto public transport.
First Eastern Counties has bought six vehicles to run in the Norwich area, and a further six for Great Yarmouth.
They will replace buses that date back to 2003, which had clocked up around 60,000 miles per year each.
The fleet of brand new Micro-hybrid Streetlite buses have a braking power system similar to that used on Formula 1 racing cars, which re-use energy to power other parts of the bus.
They will have leather seats, air conditioning and heating, free wi fi, and will be 10% more fuel efficient, bosses said.
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Buses will run on the number 14 green line Wymondham to Wroxham route, and in Great Yarmouth on routes two, four, five and six covering Caister, Gorleston, Bradwell and Belton.
Steve Hewitt, of East Norfolk Transport Users Association, has already travelled on the new buses in Great Yarmouth.
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He said: 'They are excellent. They have got great sitting room. The seats are comfortable. The road feels good, even over some of the pot holes.'
Mr Hewitt added that the new vehicles should encourage new people to use public transport.
Denise Carlo, a spokesperson for Norwich and Norfolk Transport Action Group and Green city councillor, said she welcomed any new investment in buses, but called today's announcement 'quite modest', and called for better fuel efficiency.
She added: 'I think the time has come when they needed to invest. We would like to see further investment.'
Passengers can expect to see the new buses from Monday, December 1.
Chris Speed, business manager for First Eastern Counties, said: 'We constantly look at what vehicles we have and what we need.
'Passengers haven't complained about the old vehicles, but it's always good to improve and get people out of their cars.
'They 2003 issues buses are still in good condition but this is just a better vehicle for the environment and a more comfortable ride.'
Some of the old buses will be deployed on other routes, with others to be scrapped.
Mr Speed said the increased fuel efficiency would not result in lower bus fares, and that new technology would have no bearing on whether buses ran on time.
But he said reliability had improved since the traffic shake-up of Norwich city centre, with a number of streets including St Stephen's Street closed to all traffic other than buses and taxis.
'It's really made a massive impact on our reliability,' said Mr Speed. 'The pin point in the city centre has been the main problem.'
The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Judith Lubbock, will officially launch the vehicles at The Forum in Norwich on Thursday, December 4.