In 2013, a total investment of £8 million saw 40 gas buses introduced to Stagecoach’s bus fleet in Sunderland.
Using biomethane gas as a sustainable source of fuel, the vehicles are part of the company’s continuing investment in a cleaner, greener environment and its overall efforts to make buses a better choice. The gas buses serving Wearside are Scania/ADL Enviro 300 single-deckers and are fitted with free Wi-Fi.
Stagecoach North-East Managing Director, Steve Walker, said: “The buses are a testament to our green agenda as we continue to reduce our carbon footprint. The lower running costs of the gas bus fleet were also designed to pave the way for further investment in environmental improvements in future years.”
Since 2016, £14m has been invested in 66 new buses for the company’s two Newcastle depots, and a further £3m investment was made in 2019 on 18 Enviro 200 buses in Teesside. Recent research by KPMG shows that every £1 invested in local bus services generates up to £8 in wider social, economic and environmental benefits.
During 2020, Stagecoach also introduced its state-of-the-art on-demand bus service, Tees Flex, in partnership with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority,
Tees Flex aims to help residents in isolated communities across the region access essential services along with training and employment opportunities.
The fleet of nine Mercedes Sprinter buses, all of which feature disabled access, USB charging sockets and leather seats, have been deployed for use in three zones within Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland.
Passengers are able to pre-book the bus via the dedicated Tees Flex app or over the telephone. They can request pick-up and drop-off points within the serviced area, and to destinations including train and stations along with hospitals outside of the area.
The three-year pilot has the potential to be extended across the region if successful.