Stagecoach promises new, cleaner buses to Northampton in 2023 - but we'll have to wait to join Oxford and Coventry's electric revolution

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Operator’s £50m order for low-emission diesels aims to cut air pollution in town

Northampton will see new, cleaner buses around town next year after operator Stagecoach confirmed a £50 million investment in its fleet.

The company has ordered 200 double-decker vehicles built in the UK by Alexander Dennis, which will be shared around 12 towns and cities across England from early-2023. They look similar to buses already running routes around the town but the latest models featuring Euro VI engines are significantly cleaner and will cut carbon emissions — although the operator says the town will have to wait for its first electric bus.

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Stagecoach says it will be able to remove older buses from its fleet, benefitting local air quality. Regional director Sam Greer added: “We are proud of the continued investment we are making to our fleet with the largest single order for new buses in the UK this year. This really shows our commitment to the future prosperity of our communities and to our people who can all benefit from cleaner transport and a growing bus sector.

New cleaner, greener Stagecoach buses will replace older, more polluting vehicles in the Northampton fleet in early 2023New cleaner, greener Stagecoach buses will replace older, more polluting vehicles in the Northampton fleet in early 2023
New cleaner, greener Stagecoach buses will replace older, more polluting vehicles in the Northampton fleet in early 2023

“These new double-decker buses will complement the investment we are already making with our electric buses to modernise our fleet in some of Britain’s major towns and cities, enabling reduced pollution and meaning customers will see more comfortable, quieter and newer vehicles on their everyday journeys. We look forward to getting our new buses into service starting early next year.”

West Northamptonshire councillors recently cricitised Stagecoach over its ageing fleet in Northampton leading to reliability problems, branding the bus operator “appalling”.

Stagecoach said the comments were inaccurate and "not representative of the services we provide."

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The 200 new low-emission Enviro 400 double-deckers will be introduced in Northampton and also in Oxford, Manchester, Yorkshire, Preston, Mansfield, Portsmouth, Chichester, Winchester, Torquay, Folkestone and Newcastle.

National Express recently announced plans to make Coventry the first all-electric bus city by 2025 and already has 10 electric buses operating in the city. And operators in Oxford — including Stagecoach — are set to roll out 159 electric buses in the city after the local council was was awarded £32.8 million from the Government.

A Stagecoach spokesman said it is targeting a zero emission UK bus fleet by 2035, adding: “This transition involves a mix of measures to reduce the carbon footprint of our fleet while reflecting the significant capital costs involved and the capacity within the manufacturing sector.

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“We have already started the journey to introduce new electric buses in several parts of the country, including one of Europe's biggest e-bus fleets in service in Manchester and plans in the next few months to deliver the UK's first all-electric city bus fleets in Inverness and Perth.

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“The whole of the UK bus sector's fleet of vehicles cannot be switched to zero emission overnight, so allied to our EV investment we are reducing emissions from older vehicles by phasing these out and replacing them with the latest low-emission models with significantly cleaner engines helping deliver better local air quality.

“We have also been retrofitting vehicles which can be brought up to Euro VI standard, again delivering quick wins in terms of reduced carbon emissions and pollutants.”