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

Enviro500 in Mexico trial

The first modern double-decker to operate in Latin America is undergoing a month-long trial with Metrobus in Mexico City.

Crossway order by DB Regio

Germany’s largest bus company, DB Regio, has ordered 400 Iveco Crossway buses for delivery in 2015-16.

World launch for Van Hool EX

Van Hool marks the world première of the EX, a new range of touring coaches for the European market, at the IAA show in Hanover.

Second generation ZA electric

Electric motor manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg is presenting the second generation of the electric in-wheel hub motor ZAwheel at the IAA show.

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.



Product news

Epsom installs automatic chassis wash

WNV-systems has installed its 60th automatic under-chassis wash to the bus and coach industry with Epsom Coaches Group being the latest.

Low cost ‘talking bus’ with Next Stop

Mobile Onboard has launched a new low-cost ‘talking bus’ system, Beam Next Stop, which integrates with Mobile Onboard’s Beam on-bus Wi-Fi units to provide passengers with a graphical next-stop announcement system that can be accessed from their mobile device and/or large screens installed on the vehicle.

PLS stretcher lift for Jumbulance

Mobility Networks company PLS has created a unique stretcher lift for a bespoke, medical coach built by King Long.

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.



People in the news

Cameron to leave First

DUNCAN CAMERON, managing director of First Aberdeen, is leaving the company early next year to join local transport and logistics company ARR Craib as performance director.

New role for Sumner

Former Optare chief executive JIM SUMNER has led a management buy-out of James Briggs, an Oldham-based producer of aerosols and speciality chemicals.

Garener retires from Nexus

BERNARD GARNER, director general of Nexus, the Tyne and Wear PTE since 2006, is to retire.

Martyn joins Wrightbus

Wrightbus has appointed TONY MARTYN as engineering director.

Evans for RATP Dev

ANDY EVANS has joined RATP Dev-owned London United as general manager of its southern area, which includes Fulwell and Tolworth garages.

McFarlane to step down at First

FirstGroup chairman John McFarlane is stepping down at the next AGM in July 2015 following his appointment as chairman at Barclays plc.

 

Latest News | View All News

Whittles put up for sale by EYMS

EYMS is seeking a buyer for its subsidiary Whittles Coach and Bus following several years of operating losses.

Record number of UK Bus Award finalists

Bus operators and local authorities across the country have plenty to celebrate today after hearing they have been shortlisted to go forward in the prestigious UK Bus Awards.

London to order another 200 Borismasters

An order for a further 200 New Routemasters is expected to be approved by Transport for London’s finance committee next week, taking the total fleet of the type to 800 by April 2016.

Battle looms over quality contracts

A decision on the future control of bus services in Tyne and Wear is to be made in less than two weeks, when the North East Combined Authority meets on 21 October to consider a recommendation from the PTE, Nexus, to introduce quality contracts.

First aims to double bus profit margins

First reports trading in line with its expectations for the six months to 30 September.

Megabus expands in Brussels

The Brussels-based operation of megabus started this week, with six 72-seat Van Hool coaches and 20 drivers serving three routes, to Luxembourg, Lille and Rotterdam.



Latest vehicle deliveries

Tangerine dream for Cruisers

Cruisers of Redhill has added a Volvo-based Plaxton Leopard to its colourful fleet.

High-spec Citaros for airport link

Wellglade subsidiary Kinchbus has taken delivery of eight Mercedes-Benz Citaros for the Skylink service which connects East Midlands Airport with Derby, Loughborough and Leicester.

Cruise line Scania for Princess Coaches

Princess Coaches of Southampton has taken another Scania Irizar i6, strengthening the company’s ties with Scania and building a modern fleet to enhance its links with cruise line passenger operations in the south of England.

Cuckmere adds accessible Sprinter

Cuckmere Community Transport in East Sussex has taken one of the last Euro 5 Sprinter midicoaches for the UK, a 22-seat City 45.

Fast delivery gets Volvo order

A guaranteed fast delivery date secured the order for a Volvo B11R Jonckheere for one of Wiltshire’s leading operators, Chandlers Coach Travel.

New Citaros for Luton passengers

Six new Mercedes Citaros are operating at London Luton Airport’s official car parks.



Coach tourism news

LTCOA chair hits out at TfL plans

The chairman of the London Tourist Coach Operators Association Mark Anderson has hit out at plans for the latest tightening of the capital’s low emission zone and new cycle superhighways.

Six Magna Carta tourist trails launched

The story of Magna Carta is being promoted throughout the tourism sector in 2015, including the launch of new Magna Carta trails which take in key tourist destinations, such as the British Library, cathedrals in Lincoln, Salisbury and Durham, and small towns and villages that all played an important role in securing Magna Carta almost 800 years ago.

Discovering the Isle of Purbeck

Swanage Railway offers groups the chance to sit back and relax in style and enjoy a leisurely 12-mile return trip behind an historic steam locomotive  through the countryside of the Isle of Purbeck including stunning views of the ruins of Corfe Castle.

New free and easy Bolton coach parking

Bolton is aiming to make it easier for coach drivers and parties to enjoy their visits to the town with the introduction of new coach parking and facilities.

Black Coffee at the Floral Pavilion

The Floral Pavilion theatre in the Wirral hosts the Agatha Christie Theatre Company’s production of Black Coffee.

A warm welcome for VIP coach parties

Guests of coach and tour operators brought to Excursions 2015 at Alexandra Palace, North London on Saturday, 24 January, will receive a VIP welcome, fast-track entry, tea and coffee on arrival, a welcome bag with lots of goodies and a special afternoon treat.