£1.7m hi-tech upgrade for resort buses

Bus change: A single decker which is part of the existing fleet. Below ' Bob Mason
Bus change: A single decker which is part of the existing fleet. Below ' Bob Mason
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Blackpool Transport today revealed it is investing £1.7m to buy 10 new buses which will operate across the Fylde coast.

The single deck vehicles are being built by Mercedes Benz and are due to be delivered in March.

Bob Mason, Blackpool Transport's director of delivery

Bob Mason, Blackpool Transport's director of delivery

They will boast leather seating, free Wi-Fi and be more environmentally friendly than the older buses they will replace.

Each vehicle will be able to carry 45 passengers seated plus 32 standing.

Bob Mason, director of delivery at Blackpool Transport, said: “This is a really major investment and is really positive for the company and for everyone in Blackpool.

“We haven’t purchased brand new vehicles since 2010 but we have to keep investing in the fleet.

“We are also looking at innovative ways of encouraging people out of their cars to use public transport instead, and providing free Wi-Fi and charging points for mobile phones, laptops is part of that.

“The new buses will all operate on the same route so passengers know when they board that they can get Wi-Fi etc, but we have not decided yet which route that will be.”

The last major investment in the bus fleet was in 2012 when Blackpool Transport bought 21 secondhand double deckers from the Isle of Man to replace ageing vehicles which did not meet modern standards.

Each vehicle cost around £50,000 and was refurbished before joining the fleet. The company consulted passengers before going ahead with the latest purchase.

Stephen Brookes, chairman of the Blackpool Transport Passenger User Panel, said: “The decision to purchase new vehicles included views of some of the disabled members of the panel, who viewed and tested the demonstration vehicle for accessibility. The same was asked of us when the new trams were first tested.”