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Burnley’s bus of the future

23 February 2017/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Bus & Coach, Transport Planning


Bus passengers in East Lancashire can look forward to travelling on new buses tailor-made to a bespoke design which puts them firmly in the driving seat.

The area’s leading bus operator, Transdev Burnley, is investing £4.6 million in a new fleet of 30 buses for its Mainline network. The new vehicles are to be built in the North of England, and will be launched in Summer 2017 on Mainline routes serving Burnley, Colne, Nelson and Padiham.

Like all of the many new buses introduced by Transdev across the North, the Mainline fleet will offer passengers a top-of-the-range specification – and each will be proudly built in the North of England by industry leading manufacturer Optare.

But what really makes these new vehicles stand out from the crowd is the design details which have come directly from customers who took part in one of the most far-reaching and well-supported market research programmes ever seen in the UK bus industry.

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “No-one knows better than our own customers what makes an amazing journey – they travel with us every day, and they’re best placed to tell us what they want from their buses. So – we asked them!

”No motor manufacturer would design a new car without thinking long and hard about the features most likely to attract buyers, and so why would we possibly design our new Mainline buses without capturing the views of our customers from across Burnley and Pendle?

“We knew the only way to come up with a new fleet of buses that our customers will really love using was to put their ideas centre stage – and they’ve done us proud with some fantastic ideas, as well as a firm reminder about basic requirements too.”

Transdev launched the ‘Make My Mainline’ programme, rapidly harnessing the power of social media by inviting Mainline customers to follow and tweet @burnleybuses to share their eye-catching ideas with hundreds of commuters who check its social media for latest travel updates each day. Online surveys also offered the added incentive of a chance to win in prize draw for everyone taking part. 

Alex Hornby said: “It’s relatively easy to come up with a new bus, bought ‘off the peg’ from one of the big manufacturers that offers standard design features which passengers have come to expect nowadays. We started with the already very successful and popular Optare Versa single decker as the basis of our new buses, and then we decided to invite our customers to tell us what they most wanted to see on-board.

“Some of the wackiest ideas suggested to us included amphibious buses that could drive along Pendle Water, or having coffee machines and baristas on every bus! But we found out that most of our passengers really want fast, free and reliable WiFi, at-seat USB power points and more wireless charging points, which are now expected as standard.

“Perhaps surprisingly, the demand for more basic things like better legroom, a bright and well-lit environment, a place to rest belongings and even a bigger litter bin all rated highly in the survey – all of which have led to enhancements on these new Mainline buses, compared to previous models”

Transdev’s passengers won’t have long to wait to see their suggested designs on the roads of East Lancashire, as the first of the new fleet of 30 buses will begin entering service this Summer on the whole Mainline network across Burnley and East Lancashire.

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