The UK’s leading bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and operator Blackpool Transport have teamed up with The Blackpool Sixth Form College to help shape the future of customer-friendly transport. At a special local event, Travel and Tourism students from the college gave their feedback on ADL’s Enviro400 City demonstrator, fitted with the Passenger Plus specification package, which has previously been trialed in Blackpool. Results will be presented via video at the ALBUM conference, to be held in Blackpool on 9th+10th May 2017.

Blackpool Transport and ADL have been working in partnership since 2016 as the operator rolls out its vision of a fleet in which no bus is older than five years. After taking delivery of an initial ten Enviro400 City double deck buses last summer, this true collaboration has just taken the next step with a further 25 new buses of the same type entering service in Blackpool this month.

The latest buses feature group seating on the upper saloon which means that families, children and adults alike can make better use of their travel time with seats arranged sociably around three tables.

Blackpool Transport is evaluating the comprehensive Passenger Plus specification package of ADL’s demonstrator vehicle, first unveiled at Euro Bus Expo in November 2016, with a view to potentially introducing some of the features on upcoming vehicles. Passenger Plus brings together a wealth of customer-focused elements all designed to enhance the appeal of bus travel, such as individual amenity sets integrated into seatbacks and three glazed roof panels along the length of the vehicle.

To ensure that the voices of future customers are heard in the decision making process when designing Blackpool’s buses, the survey invited the students from Blackpool Sixth to learn about ADL’s strategy before being treated to a test drive of the demonstrator vehicle and given the chance to share their reactions and suggestions.

The students will form a key part of the agenda when presenting the results of the survey via video at the ALBUM conference on 9th+10th May 2017.

James Carney, Finance & Commercial Director at Blackpool Transport said: “Taking high tech buses to customers and future employees to hear their views is a key part to our strategy of community engagement.””

Jill Gray, Principal of Blackpool Sixth, commented: “The visit represents a wonderful opportunity for our students to play a part in shaping the future of public transport in their area. The experience is extremely relevant to their studies in travel and tourism and will widen their understanding of the workings of the transport industry.  We are very grateful to both ADL and Blackpool Transport for choosing to work with our students in this innovative way.”

Keith Watson, Customer Development Director at ADL, added: “We are delighted by the opportunity to hear from young bus users on how we can make our buses even more responsive to their needs. Building on our proven track record of working with all stakeholders to build Britain’s best buses, we are proud to develop the buses of the future together with their future passengers.”