Arriva Midlands has invested over £2.5m in 14 new Volvo B8RLEs with MCV Evora bodywork that will be used exclusively on Luton to Dunstable busway routes A and Z. It says that the spend “further outlines Arriva’s commitment to the local area.”
Delivery of the vehicles follows Luton Council’s disclosure in its Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) that it is seeking government funding towards the purchase of 40 zero-emission buses and their associated infrastructure for busway services and a proposed new park-and-ride route.
If those vehicles are funded, they will “build further on the success of delivering sustainable patronage growth… since the opening of the busway,” the BSIP states. The local authority has derived its basic approach to funding the proposed battery-electric buses from the current round of Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas work.
Commenting on the new Volvo MCVs, Arriva Midlands (South) Area Managing Director Simon Finnie says: “We are delighted to be able to commit such a strong level of investment. We recognise public transport as one of the key ways to help protect our environment for the future and to save our planet. That is why we are proud to be introducing 14 ultra-low emission vehicles into our fleet.”
Adds Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Development and Highways at Luton Council Cllr Robert Roche: “We welcome Arriva’s investment to help to create a greener transport network for Luton, a crucial step in meeting our town’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
“The ultra-low emission vehicles that will soon be transiting our Luton to Dunstable busway are a significant step towards achieving that, reducing greenhouse emissions and ensuring cleaner air.”
Three operators provide services on the Luton to Dunstable busway. Ridership there showed strong year-on-year increases up to 2020. Improving the passenger experience for busway users is a further central part of Luton Council’s BSIP submission, including the provision of ‘super shelters’ with various amenities.