Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent with one of the new coaches | PICTURE: Naoise Culhane
BUS Éireann is to deploy a number of new coaches on Expressway services serving Limerick as part of a multi-million euro investment.
The transport company has has invested €16 million in the service including the purchase of 30 Expressway coaches for use in Limerick and across the country.
The first of the new coaches entered service in Waterford earlier this week and the remainder of the fleet will be deployed before the end of this month.
The new coaches meet the latest Euro VI low emissions standards and will support the Bus Éireann's commitment to reducing emissions as outlined in its recently-published sustainability strategy.
The €16m investment is the most significant made by Bus Éireann in its commercially-operated Expressway service in more than a decade and reduces the average age of the 170-strong fleet to less than five years.
“This is a big day for Expressway after a very tough 15 months. It is very positive to be announcing such a significant investment in our fleet as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Bus Éireann Chief Executive Officer Stephen Kent.
“The virtual disappearance of some of the main markets for Expressway – Dublin Airport and third level education – as well as capacity restrictions have hit the business hard, but we are optimistic about the return to more normal operations. Having state-of-the-art vehicles is essential as this is a very competitive market and customer expectations are rising all the time. This investment demonstrates our commitment to the service, and to both improving the customer experience and to reducing our carbon footprint,” he added.
The rollout of the new fleet comes ahead of the expected increase in capacity on public transport in August and the return of airport and student travel which, combined, comprise half of Expressway’s market.
Built by VDL in The Netherlands, the fleet of new 60-seater coaches will be deployed before the end of June.
Amongst the features customers can look forward to are reclining premium leather seats with adjustable headrests, charging plugs, tray tables and air con at every seat, and 4G WiFi. All of the coaches are also wheelchair accessible and have on-board toilets.
In addition to the new coaches, Bus Éireann has also invested more than €2.5m million in a new online booking system, MyExpressway, which provides both guaranteed advance seat reservations and contactless payments on board.
Commenting on this initiative, Bus Éireann's Chief Commercial Officer Eleanor Farrell said: “We know that many people have not been able to travel with us since March 2020, and we have been busy in the meantime. We are very excited to be offering customers such an improvement in their Expressway experience, and especially those travelling in Ireland’s most popular tourist areas. We are more than ready for the staycation season."
Bus Éireann says The new booking system will further enhance the customer experience, providing guaranteed seat reservations for all customers including those with Travel Passes, and contact-free payments on board with Android and Apple Pay.
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