The unique partnership between Blackpool Transport and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) took another step towards the future when a further 20 Enviro400 City buses were introduced to the seaside resort recently.

All 20 vehicles will work initially on a 19-week rail replacement contract that forms part of the transport authority’s plan to modernise rail and bus services supporting the iconic British tourist resort.

Like the 35 Enviro400 City buses delivered by ADL to Blackpool in the past two years, the new vehicles will join the now famous Palladium fleet as soon as the rail replacement project is complete. Upgrading the railway system forms part of a broader-based initiative designed to give visitors direct access by rail to the coastal town from Scotland, Birmingham and London, without having to change trains at Preston.

In parallel with this, Blackpool is determined to set the pace by revitalising its bus fleet and putting itself at the forefront of the transport sector with modern, state-of-the-art vehicles that make a statement about the town itself. Their aim is to have an all-new fleet of circa 140 buses by the end of 2019.

Like the original fleet of new-generation ADL double decks already operating in Blackpool, the new Enviro400 City buses have the latest technology. They form part of an £18m investment programme approved by the local authority and incorporate ADL’s exclusive Quick Release Glazing (QRG) system, wood effect flooring, e-leather seats, free Wi-Fi, USB charging points, next-stop audio and visual announcements, mobile phone holders, on-board infotainment screens and have tables on the upper deck.

In addition, they also have grab handles on the back of seats in the top saloon. These replace poles, creating a light and more airy environment, while stop buttons are also positioned at every seat.  

Commenting on the latest fleet introductions, James Carney, Financial and Commercial Director at Blackpool Transport, explained that the authority has brought forward 2018 investment plans to assist rail passengers on the Preston-Blackpool route, which will be closed until April 2018 while Network Rail completes electrification of the line.

He commented: “We have again worked closely with the team at ADL to push the boundaries of bus technology. From our perspective it is important to ensure that our customers enjoy the best possible journey when they use our services. The added features now available on many of our buses contribute to that enhanced experience.”

Richard Matthews, ADL’s Sales Director Retail Bus, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Blackpool Transport over the past two years. Together we have embarked on a journey that goes from strength to strength, customising a market-leading product that is progressively establishing the world’s most advanced double deck bus fleet.

“They are backed by a council prepared to recognize that quality public services are not only an integral part of local life but stimulate inward investment and attract visitors. The success of that policy is reflected in the fact that Blackpool’s transport fleet carries 20 million passengers per year, covering 4.4m miles in the process.”

Richard added: “ADL and Blackpool Transport have nurtured and created a deep-rooted partnership involving teams from many disciplines and I am proud of our cross-functional and collaborative approach.”