First Manchester in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester has ordered 17 Mellor Strata Plus coachbuilt minibuses that are mounted on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis cowl. They are for use on two local service contracts in Rochdale that were awarded as part of the second tranche of bus franchising in Greater Manchester.
The purchase represents an investment of over £2.3 million and the vehicles will be built by Mellor at its Rochdale plant. They will include audio visual next stop technology, USB charging points, and wi-fi.
First Manchester will take up the Rochdale franchises from March 2024. They will occupy around 40 buses in total. Speaking about the decision to purchase the Mellor Strata Plus, Director Mike Watson says: “We are delighted to announce this order with Mellor and look forward to seeing the first vehicles coming off the production line.
“This also supports high-skilled jobs locally and regionally. As we begin to invest in the Rochdale area, First Bus Manchester is determined to help to build the economy and link key communities.”
Adds Mellor UK Sales Director Richard Matthews: “Mellor’s unwavering commitment to engineering excellence, sustainability, and accessibility, positions us as a perfect fit for driving forward Greater Manchester’s bus strategy.
“Not only are we proud to be serving our local community with our reliable, low-emission buses, but we are delighted to see investment from our own city region back into the local area.
“We believe that the North West, with its manufacturing heritage and tech innovation sectors, has the potential to be a hub for sustainable transport and specialist vehicle technology.”
Greater Manchester Transport Commissioner Vernon Everitt has welcomed the order being placed locally, noting how the specification of the buses in line with Bee Network aims shows “how committed we are to providing a truly integrated and accessible public transport network for the people of Greater Manchester.”