20 March 2006

First Investment

First have recently announced a massive order for new buses from Wrights:

The latest phase of FirstGroup plc's on-going programme of investment and fleet renewal, the order confirmed today comprises of 226 Eclipse Urban Low entry single deck buses and 66 Eclipse Gemini low floor Double Deck Buses. In addition, 28 StreetCars - unveiled last year as the centre piece of First's "ftr" new transport concept - have been included in the order.
The single deck buses will be deployed in First's operations in Manchester (113) and Glasgow (110), with three destined for the Aircoach airport service at Belfast City Airport. Based on Volvo B7RLE chassis, all vehicles feature an eight camera CCTV system for added passenger security, with Glasgow-based vehicles specified a driver's assault door and screen. The Aircoach vehicles have an additional mid door, with a seating layout which incorporates two luggage pens, together with a PA system.
The Eclipse Gemini Double Decks – all based on Volvo B7TL chassis – will be deployed in Leeds (28), Bradford (20), South Yorkshire (10) and in Somerset & Avon (8). Like their single deck counterparts, their specification will include a nine camera CCTV system (11 for the Bradford vehicles) and will also feature the new Wrightbus Telematics platform, which will simplify any future fitment of passenger information systems and "smart" ticketing solutions.

Note how this follows the usual First policy of investing heavily in one or two areas leaving the others to fight it out for the scraps! Buses magazine tells of more L registration Olympians coming south from Glasgow. Lucky us!

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