BannerAd   

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

SMRT orders Enviro500s

SMRT Corporation has ordered its first double-deck buses, 201 ADL Enviro500 tri-axle models for delivery in 2014-15.

Electric Citea trial

Next month will see VDL deliver its first Citea Electric to Finland, where it will be operated by Veolia Transport in Espoo, in the Helsinki area, for two years as part of the country’s eBus project which is researching electric vehicle systems.

Scania expands in Taiwan

Scania is strengthening its position in the Taiwanese bus market with orders for 180 chassis from two operators and with the addition of two new workshops to its service network.

Setra in the lead

Zerzuben Touristik of Visp is taking delivery of 15 Setra touring coaches, 11 ComfortClass 500 single-deck and four S431DT double-deck, all with Euro 6 engines.

Bio-diesel hybrid order

Uddevalla Omnibus, on Sweden’s west coast, has ordered five hybrid buses and five ambulance coaches from Volvo.

Volvo builds low-cost UD range

Volvo in India is launching a bus range designed for developing markets.



Product news

Book early for aircon servicing

As the summer holiday season beckons, operators are being urged to get their services in early by Grayson Thermal Systems, Thermo King’s sole approved distributor to the UK’s bus and coach sector.

New entrants for IRTE Skills Challenge

The IRTE Skills Challenge, which aims to find the best mechanical, electrical and bodywork technicians in the bus and coach world through testing skills and knowledge has attracted a number of new participants this year.

New Bridgestone all-position tyre

Low cost per kilometre and high safety throughout the tyre’s total lifecycle are among the benefits that Bridgestone claims for its new all-position U-AP 001 tyre.

M-ticketing being rolled out at First

First UK Bus is rolling out m-ticketing across its network during 2014 with customers in Aberdeen and Worcester being the first to benefit from the new payment option.

Voith makes further municipal conquest

Reading Buses is the latest municipal company to opt for Voith bus transmissions with the DIWA 824.

M-ticketing avoids search for exact fare

Lothian Buses reports that it has sold more than 100,000 m-tickets since launching its mobile ticketing and RTI app in November 2013.



People in the news

Award for Nodder

Mark Nodder, Wright Group managing director has been named Business Person of the Year at the Belfast Telegraph Awards.

Woodford appointed to Stagecoach

Stagecoach Manchester has appointed GILLIAN WOODFORD as marketing manager.

New MD for Bournemouth

ANDREW SMITH has been promoted to managing director of Bournemouth Transport, the RATP subsidiary which trades as Yellow Buses.

Roberts departs Blackpool

TREVOR ROBERTS, managing director of Blackpool Transport since 2009, has left the company.

New managers at Damory Coaches

Go South Coast, the Go Ahead Group’s southern division of bus and coach companies, has new managers at its Damory Coaches business.

Pettigrew for Stockton depot

Stagecoach North East has a new operations manager at its Stockton depot.

 

Latest News | View All News

ADL top in Arriva fleet order

Arriva UK Bus has this week announced a £40million order for 231 new buses for delivery over the next 12 months, with Alexander Dennis being the biggest supplier.

Wolmar attacks Borismaster costs

Would-be London mayoral candidate and transport author Christian Wolmar has attacked the cost of incumbent mayor Boris Johnson’s New Bus for London, saying that the extra cost of the Borismaster is approaching £7million a year, and will rise as more enter service.

Scots fund more green buses

The Scottish government is providing around £2million in funding for another 32 low-carbon buses in the fourth round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund.

Welsh cuts blamed for Brynmawr

Stagecoach South Wales has announced the closure of its Brynmawr depot in July in response to cuts in support from the Welsh government and by local authorities.

Battery-electric Optares for Glasgow

The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has ordered two Optare battery-electric buses for operation on the half-hourly service which links the city centre with the Riverside transport museum.

Stewarts expands with Woods of Leicester

Stewarts Coaches of Reading has acquired Woods Coaches of Leicester for an undisclosed sum.



Latest vehicle deliveries

Elite duo for Docherty’s Midland

Docherty’s Midland Coaches of Auchterarder has taken delivery of two new 12.

More open-tops join Golden Tours

London sightseeing operator Golden Tours has added ten new Volvo B9TL open-top buses with Egyptian MCV bodywork to its fleet.

Steel’s Coaches adds Euro 5 Leopard

Steel’s Coaches of Addingham has taken delivery of a new 12.

Ellisons takes Euro 6 Neoplans

Ellisons Travel of St Helens has put its first Euro 6 coach on the road, a Neoplan Tourliner.

Attain adds another Scania Irizar

Attain Travel of Birmingham has purchased another new Scania Irizar.

Sunsundeguis for Gibson Direct

Gibson Direct of Renfrew has taken delivery of three new Volvo B11Rs with Sunsundegui SC7 bodywork.



Coach tourism news

BannerAd

See our special e-dition on the RDA Workshop and Cologne. Click above to view.

Two more towns win Coach Friendly status

Two towns have joined the select group of destinations to be awarded CPT’s Coach Friendly status, Devizes in Wiltshire and Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.

Packed schedule of events for Arundel

Arundel Castle in West Sussex is one of the largest inhabited and complete castles in England.

Northern Ireland’s ‘Gold Coast’

Known as the ‘Gold Coast’ of Northern Ireland, North Down is a thriving borough made up of bustling seaside towns and quaint picturesque villages.

History and gardens at Dunvegan Castle

No visit to the Isle of Skye would be complete without savouring the wealth of history offered by Dunvegan Castle and Gardens.

Stars line up for Chichester

The re-opening of the refurbished Chichester Festival Theatre this July is being marked with a major new production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus directed by Jonathan Church with Rupert Everett as Salieri.

New-look website launched by Door2Tour

Door2Tour has unveiled a new website featuring an expanded product range, improved search and booking capabilities.