Bakers coaches launches Michelin-equipped Hybrid bus service
Stoke-based bus and coach operator Bakers Coaches has launched its first hybrid bus service, ahead of its 75th anniversary celebrations in November. The three hybrid buses, which use a Volvo B5 RLH chassis with Wrightbus Gemini bodywork, went into operation on 3 October and will operate under the bakerbus brand – owned by Bakers Coaches. The buses have been purchased primarily to carry students and are used on a dedicated contract with Staffordshire University and London Midland Trains. The low-floor, diesel-electric buses are the greenest, cleanest buses in the county.
There has been a long-standing relationship between bakerbus and Michelin, and these buses – just like the rest of the Bakers Coaches fleet – run solely on Michelin tyres. The new vehicles are fitted with Michelin’s X InCity XZU3 tyres, which use a special rubber compound to increase mileage by up to 15 per cent. In addition, the tyres reportedly offer up to 18 per cent more traction in urban driving conditions.
Phil Baker, managing director of Bakers Coaches hailed the successful partnership between his company and Michelin, adding: “We have been fitting Michelins for 41 years and even before that we had a long-running relationship with the company. Michelin tyres offer the best cost-per-mile solution for our fleet and it was the obvious choice for these new eco-friendly buses. We have been on a formal tyre contract with Michelin for the last 15 years, and it is their reliability and versatility which has kept us coming back.”
The hybrid buses, which run on the X1 route between Hanley and Stafford District General Hospital, serve both Stoke-on-Trent College and Staffordshire University. They are the first double-decker buses that bakerbus has operated and they feature free Wi-Fi for students, leather seating as well as state-of-the-art CCTV to enhance passenger security.
“We have been around a long time,” says Baker. “With our 75th anniversary coming up, it seems fitting that we continue our tradition of bringing cleaner and greener transport to Staffordshire. We already have a record of embarking on eco-friendly initiatives and we’re excited to see exactly how well these buses perform.”
Prior to taking delivery, bakerbus operated a demonstrator hybrid bus from Volvo, which delivered a 20 per cent fuel saving. However, as this was a pre-production model, it is likely that the three new buses will perform even better.
Bakers Coaches – dubbed ‘The Green Coach Company’ because of its livery – was commended at local newspaper The Sentinel’s Business Awards ceremony in March 2011 for its environmental activities. It operates from a custom-built, eco-friendly site, housing a 45,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank to wash vehicles and an insulated garage which is heated by waste engine oil. The site saves 6.5 million litres of mains water and 10,000 litres of kerosene each year.
The Michelin X InCity XZU3 tyre is specially designed for driving in urban conditions with frequent stops.