Stagecoach invests £80m in buses

Stagecoach has now invested 730m in the UK in last eight years. Picture: PAStagecoach has now invested 730m in the UK in last eight years. Picture: PA
Stagecoach has now invested 730m in the UK in last eight years. Picture: PA
Transport group Stagecoach yesterday rolled out plans to ­invest more than £80 million in hundreds of new buses, most of which will be built by Alexander Dennis of Falkirk.

The Perth-based firm said a new fleet of nearly 470 vehicles, many equipped with free wifi, will be introduced in the coming year as the company “continues its policy of reinvesting profits in improving services for local communities”.

The group has now invested £730m in the UK in last eight years, plus a further £20m in its services on mainland Europe.

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The latest orders are a further boost for the country’s manufacturing sector, with most vehicles set to be built in the UK.

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “This new investment is all about delivering better bus and coach journeys for our passengers.

“We have the lowest bus fares in Britain and a strong track-record of investment over many years that has attracted growing numbers of people back on board the bus.

“We believe strongly in re­investing our profits to continue that growth and our sector-­leading levels of customer satisfaction.”

He said buses were “central to our communities”, adding: “I’m delighted that most of our new buses will be built right here in the UK, helping support British manufacturing and hundreds of jobs in the supply chain.”

The plan will see more than £75m of new buses and coaches introduced in Stagecoach’s regional networks in England, Scotland and Wales. There is also a £2.7m order for new buses for London, as well as £6.9m of new coaches for the company’s ­expanding low-cost service in the UK and mainland Europe.

It said the latest orders follow an annual competitive tendering process and the first of the new vehicles will be delivered from this spring. As part of the latest order, Alexander Dennis will build 244 complete buses and the bodies for a further 164 vehicles.

Colin Robertson, chief executive of the coach manufacturer, said the announcement was “a huge vote of confidence in our recently introduced new range of vehicles”.

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He added: “Orders like this demonstrate the strength of the UK bus and coach manufacturing sector and support thousands of jobs across the country, both in our factories and in our extensive supply chain network.

“We are delighted to have won the lion’s share of this new business, which – in value terms – represents almost 70 per cent of the total order.

“We have for many years worked in close co-operation with Stagecoach and other ­operators to ensure that we ­design and engineer class-­leading products that set the pace for the industry. This latest order is a further endorsement of that strategy.”

Robertson said all three of the company’s UK manufacturing facilities – at Falkirk, Scarborough and Guildford – will be involved in production of the new Stagecoach vehicles.

The order will not create new jobs but will help underpin production programmes throughout 2015 and into next year.