Southern Transit, a unique transport business based in West Sussex and famed for its diverse mix of iconic and new-generation vehicles, took a giant step into the future today with the introduction of two state-of-the-art Enviro400 City buses from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL).
Ten years after acquiring the business Neil Bird describes the new double decks as “the start of the next chapter”, as he bids to create and exploit a niche market for high capacity excursion vehicles that offer luxury and all mod cons.
He commented: “We have spent 10 grueling years steering the business in the right direction and progressively establishing a reputation for exceptional customer service, whether it be for private hires, school contracts, corporate events, rail replacement work or operating public service routes across West and East Sussex.
“Part of our modus operandi is that we offer affordable, high performance buses and coaches alongside a range of iconic, historic vehicles, and that approach is endorsed today with the introduction of our new Enviro400s."
“They represent the start of the next chapter for our business, as we grow and exploit what I am convinced is a niche sector with huge potential. There is a definite gap in the market for modern, yet stylish eco-friendly buses that offer luxury, high capacity and are ahead of their time.”
Neil added: “To exploit this opportunity to the full we are also launching a new marketing initiative today under the banner of ‘Splendid Trips’ which will promote our new focus on private hires to London and across the southern counties. As part of this effort we will also be branding our new double decks as ‘Citymaster’ vehicles, again combining traditional and modern.”
In terms of promoting “the new”, the 10.8m Enviro400 City is bristling with design and technology features and does exactly that. Southern Transit’s new additions incorporate:
- Wi-Fi and USB charging points at all 72 passenger seats.
- Glazed stairwells with illuminated glass.
- LED lights at staircase steps.
- Panoramic windows and sky view glazing on the upper deck.
- High back seats with three-point safety belts.
- A London Routemaster tartan trim on all seats.
- Four centrally located meeting tables on the upper deck.
- No seat-to-roof hand poles on the upper deck, creating clear lines of vision. These are replaced with hand grips built into the seat backs.
- Wireless bell pushes.
- Under-seat lighting.
- Passenger information systems linked to 19” screens.
- Two-tone wood effect flooring throughout.
- Disabled access, wheelchair space and vehicle lowering system.
Martin Brailey, ADL’s Sales Director for London and the South, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Southern Transit on this breakthrough project. Passengers today are unquestionably more demanding. They want luxury, innovative design, the very latest in technology, and a passenger experience that is second to none.
“Southern Transit has raised the bar with the specification they have determined for their new Enviro400 City vehicles. They are bristling with design innovation and forefront technology and, put simply, are among the most advanced, low emission, two-axle double decks in the world.”
He added: “There is growing evidence of real business opportunities for those prepared to invest in class-leading, high capacity buses that set the pace in terms of passenger numbers, comfort and vehicle performance, and I’m sure Southern Transit will reap the rewards.
“This is a very significant investment by Neil Bird and his team, however it is also the ideal vehicle upon which to launch their exciting ‘Splendid Trips’ business venture. We wish them well.”