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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019
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June 14 2016
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Ensignbus goes high-capacity with 'decker deal

Collaboration with BCI will see Chinese-assembled high-capacity tri-axles come to the UK

Essex bus dealer and operator Ensignbus has reached an agreement to import Australian manufacturer BCI’s Chinese-assembled high-capacity, high-specification double-deckers to the UK, with the first to be unveiled on 19 July.

‘We know that there is a market for these buses’, says Peter Newman

The deal has been born from a need for a high-capacity, air-conditioned double-decker for Ensignbus’ own fleet, but Chairman Peter Newman confirms that one of the initial batch of five has already been sold to another operator and that one of the four in Ensignbus colours will also be used as a demonstrator.

“We had been looking for some time for a tri-axle double-decker that is air-conditioned, has approximately 100 coach seats and is around the 12m mark without success. I spent a lot of time talking to manufacturers in the UK, Turkey and China before settling on BCI,” says Mr Newman.

Power is from an 8.9-litre Euro 6 Cummins ISL engine and the gearbox and axles are from ZF, and the buses will comply with PSVAR and ULEZ legislation.

“The buses that we are importing seat 95 and are 12.5m long. They are not the kind of vehicle that will be used on stagecarriage services, but they fill a niche between a bus and a luxury coach.”

Mr Newman adds that Ensignbus’ examples will be used on a mix of private hire, rail replacement and corporate work, where high capacity is required but air-conditioning is also a necessity.

The buses are assembled in China, but Mr Newman stresses that they are “not the cheapest option.” Instead, they are high-quality and built to the operator’s specification, with a variety of options available.

“We will do open-top examples if required, and a hybrid version is a definite possibility. Similarly, a luggage storage area could also be added if the customer wishes.

“We re-imported several hundred used high-capacity double-deckers from Hong Kong some time ago, so we know that there is a market for these buses. We are not expecting to sell hundreds of them, but if we do 15-20 per year that will be excellent.”

Ticketer - Awards 2019