BannerAd   
BannerAd

Featured Vehicles For Sale


BannerAd

        



Scania/ADL gas buses arrive in Reading

Article Image

The gas bus race is now well and truly on. Scania’s first gas buses for the UK have been delivered to Reading Transport with the first two unveiled this week, to be followed by the balance of the order for 20 buses within the next fortnight.

The ADL-bodied Scanias are based on the KUB 4x2 chassis with 9.3litre OG9 GO4 gas engine rated at 270hp. Unlike the earlier experiments with gas buses in the UK, Scania stresses that this is a purpose-built gas engine which can run on CNG or bio natural gas (BNG). A high degree of commonality with Scania’s 9.3litre diesel platform means that there are only 40 new components for the gas engine which does not require EGR. Scania, which has considerable experience having supplied more than 3,800 gas engines around the world, claims that its ‘Otto’ combustion process has a leaner fuel mixture which should lead to improved fuel economy compared to other gas buses.

Reading’s first batch of gas buses will comprise ten plus one spare for a new Reading borough council contract which starts in May. These have been finished in a new green livery with the balance of the order for 20 buses being spread between three other Reading routes.

The Enviro300 body has had some adaptations including a roof treatment to mask the eight gas tanks and additional information screens inside, influenced by Reading’s design consultant Ray Stenning. The 12.2m bus has 40 seats and will run on ‘virtual biogas’, with fuel supplier Gas Bus Alliance arranging for biogas generation to match Reading’s consumption.

Reading Transport chief executive James Freeman admits that he was very sceptical of gas buses before embarking on a trial at the beginning of last year, ironically with Scania’s gas competitor, MAN. With bitter experience of the 1990s gas bus experiments Freeman says: “The trial impressed me, and I wasn’t expecting to be impressed. It showed that new gas buses could work.”

The temptation to maintain Reading’s allegiance with Scania product however meant that the order went to them rather than MAN. And the alliance with Reading’s chosen bodybuilder ADL was an added boost for Freeman who describes the combination as “a marriage made in heaven”.

Having set a tough timetable for delivery of this order, driven by the new council contract, Freeman is now considering a second batch of gas buses. The company is investing around £800,000 in infrastructure for fuelling of the vehicles and it will make more sense if there are further gas buses in the fleet. Mains gas supply is running behind the delivery of the buses however, and the vehicles will be supplied by tanker until August, although as Freeman points out, this is how its diesel fuel arrives as well.

Work has been carried out at the Great Knolly Street depot with a ‘tin hat’ fitted in the workshops which will funnel any gas that escapes up to the roof vents. New scaffold structures have also been acquired to handle the regular inspections of the gas tanks. The vehicles will be maintained by Reading’s own engineers who will receive training at Worksop, and in addition they are going to be certified to look after the high pressure elements of the system.

The interiors have been fitted with ‘coffee shop flooring’, a first for Reading Transport, and have full audio next-stop announcements, including an external system to alert waiting passengers when it arrives at bus stops. Freeman reports that more than half of the company’s fleet is now equipped with this system and sees benefits for all passengers, not just those who are blind or partially sighted. “We think it is a big win for everybody,” he says.

The order was placed without Green Bus Funding, and Freeman points out that the project stacks up commercially, even though gas prices have risen sharply since the order was placed. Hybrid buses could not be afforded without external funding support, according to Freeman, whereas the much smaller premium for gas buses can be covered by the fuel savings. He expects the fuel costs to show be slightly lower when compared to diesel, but the main advantage is the low emissions and carbon neutral status from using ‘virtual biogas’. This was an important USP when the company was bidding for the new borough council contract as the local authority is very sensitive to environmental and air quality issues.

One of the side effects of the new gas buses for Reading may be an enforced change to its fleet replacement policy. The company currently boasts an impressive average fleet age of just four years, but uncertainty about the second hand market for gas buses - as well as Reading’s 31 Enviro400 hybrids - means it may have to consider mid-life refurbishments and longer retention for the new vehicles.

Freeman does see other opportunities however, including the possible sale of gas once it has the full onsite installation to other fleet users, including municipal vehicles and taxis.

Scania reports that it has had interest from some much smaller fleets in gas buses and it is planning to announce a partnership with a fuel supplier to make it viable to handle orders in single figures.

Bookmark and Share  


Related Content

Scania-ADL win first gas bus order

The first order for the new Scania-ADL gas bus, availability of which was announced in March, has come from Reading Buses, which is to invest £3.

Scania-ADL gas bus ready for trials

The first example of the CNG-powered bus being developed by Scania and ADL is set to start a demonstration programme this month.

Scania supports CNG with mobile fuelling

The Scania-ADL gas-powered bus demonstrator is starting a programme of operator trials and evaluations around the UK.

Scania-ADL to build gas buses for UK

Scania has entered the UK gas bus market, challenging MAN’s EcoCity, at present the only CNG-fuelled bus available.

Hybrids still rule, but other fuels gain

The government has announced £12million of support for the purchase of 213 low-carbon buses under the fourth round of its Green Bus Fund.

More Enviro hybrids for Reading

Another five ADL Enviro400H hybrids entered service with Reading Transport this week, in a new dark red colour scheme for operation on the route linking the town centre and Lower Earley via the University.



International news

RATP revenue rise

Paris-based transport group RATP reports its revenue in the first half of 2014 was €2,674million (£2,125million) up 3.

CNG for Sofia

The first 20 of an order for 126 CNG-powered MAN articulated buses are now entering service in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

Danes take Setras

Setra has delivered ten S517HDH touring coaches to three Danish operators, Papuga Bus, Dana Turist and Kobenhavns Bustrafik.

Plug-in hybrid launched

Golden Dragon has unveiled a plug-in hybrid bus which features a super capacitor and a lithium battery.

High-capacity E500 for KMB

The first 12.

Saudi school bus deliveries

Chinese manufacturer Golden Dragon has delivered 638 school buses to Saudi Arabia, valued at $27million (£16.



Product news

NX backs TruTac PSV product

Software and tachograph specialist TruTac is using the forthcoming Euro Bus Expo to announce its first tachograph analysis system specifically designed for PSV fleets and also that it has been selected by National Express to provide compliance services.

Compressor range from Voith

Voith Turbo, known for its automatic bus transmissions, is planning to launch a range of compressors for buses in the UK market.

Glass deal for Arriva Bus and Coach

Arriva Bus & Coach has appointed PSV Glass as its exclusive distributor and installation specialist for glass parts for the Van Hool and Temsa coaches it sells and supports in the UK.

Perth project for Parkeon

Parkeon is supporting a multi-million dollar public transport project in Perth that will provide real-time journey tracking for passengers along with Australia’s first underground dynamic bus stand allocation system.

BackGuard range extended by Ring

Ring has extended its range of BackGuard camera systems with a new 7” camera system kit which offers an introductory level system that fulfils legislative requirements.

New website and pricing from Quartix

Quartix has unveiled it new website which aims to enhance user experience and ensure visitors are kept up-to-date with product developments and company news.



People in the news

Stewarts appoints Tanser for Woods

Stewarts Group has appointed BILL TANSER as general manager of Leicester-based Woods Coaches.

New ops manager at Sunderland

Stagecoach North East has a new operations manager at its Sunderland depot, LAURA SMITH.

Green becomes Optare marketing manager

REBECCA GREEN, who joined Optare in February as marketing co-ordinator, has been promoted to marketing, press and events manager, reporting to sales, marketing and service director DAVID SIVIERO.

Award for William Wright

William Wright, founder of Wrightbus, has been named 2014 Innovation Founder, an award that celebrates the achievements of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Boursin for RATP Dev

GERAUD BOURSIN has been appointed head of the bids development division of RATP Dev, as part of a restructuring to enhance the group’s ability to plan ahead and prepare for development opportunities.

Martijn Gilbert becomes Reading CEO

MARTIJN GILBERT has been named as the new chief executive officer at Reading Buses, taking over from JAMES FREEMAN who is moving to First Bristol and West of England as managing director.

 

Latest News | View All News

UK Coach Awards launches 2015 event

The seventh annual competition for the UK Coach Awards was launched this week.

Cash and carbon calculator from Centro

An online and mobile tool, My Trip Tracker, has been launched by Centro, the West Midlands PTE, which allows users to calculate calories burned and money saved based on how they travel.

Micro Hybrids for Edinburgh services

The first of 18 Wrightbus StreetLite Micro Hybrids are now in service with First Scotland East.

Johnsons expands bus operations

Johnsons of Henley-in-Arden is running new services under contract to Worcestershire county council, linking Redditch to Bromsgrove and Worcester.

More hybrid school buses for Manchester

Thirteen Optare Versa hybrids have been added to Transport for Greater Manchester’s fleet of yellow school buses.

Irizar performance impresses Swans

Swans Travel of Chadderton says it is satisfied with the “almost faultless” performance of five Irizar i6 integrals which it added to its fleet a few months ago.



Latest vehicle deliveries

Reliability guides WebberBus purchase

Long-term reliability played a significant role in Somerset operator WebberBus purchasing a new Volvo B11R Jonckheere.

Sprinter midicoach for Littles Travel

Littles Travel of Ilkeston has taken delivery of a 19-seat Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Travel 45.

Impressive Irizar nets repeat business

Able Coach Hire of London was so impressed with the i6 integral it bought from Irizar UK last year that it has added two more to its fleet.

Volvo support wins repeat business

Barnes Coaches of Swindon has added a new 53-seat Volvo B9R Jonckheere to its fleet.

Leopards launch new look for Sunfun

Cambridgeshire-based Sunfun Group has launched a new CambridgeCoaches.

Taf Valley takes VDL Futura

Taf Valley Coaches of Whitland, Carmarthenshire, has taken delivery of a new 12.



Coach tourism news

Autumn activities at Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle in West Sussex has a range of attractions this autumn including stunning gardens and thrilling events and activities for visitors.

DFDS Seaways promises quality crossings

DFDS Seaways operates passenger ferry services for coach travel on routes from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk, Newhaven to Dieppe, Portsmouth to Le Havre and Newcastle to Amsterdam (IJmuiden).

Blackpool welcomes coach industry views

VisitBlackpool has thanked coach companies and drivers for helping with a study into the resort’s coach facilities.

Register now for Group Leisure show

The Group Leisure & Travel Trade show takes place at the NEC on 25 September offering new ideas and networking for group holidays and coach tours.

Christmas breaks at 3-star Jersey hotel

With less than 150 days to go until Christmas, Jersey’s Modern Hotels Group is promoting a range of festive breaks.

New ideas at Group Leisure show

A new seminar programme is being launched at this year’s Group Leisure & Travel Trade Show which will tackle group travel issues and provide useful knowledge and ideas for forthcoming trips and holidays.