STAGECOACH has unveiled its latest £5.7 million investment in Sheffield’s public transport.
The company has bought 19 hybrid double deckers, each worth £300,000, which use 30 per cent less diesel than normal and reduce pollution.
The investment comes after £6m was spent on 21 similar vehicles in 2011.
The company launched its latest additions to the fleet outside City Hall, at a ceremony involving flash mob dancers to catch the attention of passers-by.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group finance director, said: “Since taking over from Yorkshire Terrier in 2006 we have spent just over £21 million on new buses and replaced 143 out of our fleet of 170.
“Our average bus age in Sheffield is now under four years, making it one of the most modern fleets in the UK.
“It’s an incredible growth story - the business was carrying seven million passengers a year when we took over but we are on course to have 18 million journeys next year - 300 per cent growth.”
Describing the new buses, Paul Lynch, managing director for Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “The main thing that is different compared with conventional buses is that they have hybrid diesel-electric engines.
“The diesel engine is 30 per cent smaller and uses 30 per cent less fuel, so you have a consequent saving in carbon dioxide and other exhaust emissions, making the buses better for the environment.”
Mr Lynch said there are no further timetable improvements planned following the launch of night buses and a third Supertram Link bus from Crystal Peaks to Killamarsh last year.
But an electronic ‘smart’ ticket for all operators in Sheffield is set to be introduced later this year. Stagecoach already has one for its own services but it cannot be used on other services.
Mr Griffiths also announced that Stagecoach is likely to bid to retain its contract to run the East Midlands Trains rail franchise, which expires in 2016, and may also bid for the East Coast Main Line.
“We are proud of what we have achieved with EMT so far and would look to further improve capacity and journey times,” he said.