Whilst the new Volvo B5L Hybrid Double Deck may have stolen the headlines at the show, the current Volvo bus line up – the Volvo B7RLE Single Deck and the Volvo B9TL Double Deck, which are now available with four and three body choices respectively – continue to rack up important orders, maintaining their positions as the market-leading products in their respective classes.
Volvo B7RLE – versatile, durable and economic
Volvo’s low entry single deck citybus, the B7RLE, is part of the B7R family – Volvo’s best selling chassis worldwide. Renowned for its versatility, economy, durability and reliability it’s easy to see why the B7RLE is a truly competitive, efficient chassis – ideal for any urban environment. Two examples of the Volvo B7RLE are on the Volvo stand at Euro Bus Expo.
The Volvo Wrightbus Eclipse Single Deck is now a mainstay of the FirstGroup fleet and the example featured – destined for service with First Leeds – has the tried and tested 7.1 litre Volvo D7E Euro 4 engine rated at 290hp coupled to the ZF 6 speed automatic gearbox.
The Wrightbus Eclipse bodywork features 44 seats and ACIS RTPI system, guide arm compatibility and ten camera CCTV system. A newly face lifted Eclipse 2 is also displayed on the Wrightbus stand, one of 10 Volvo B7RLEs poised to enter service with Lothian Buses.
Another long-standing Volvo customer, Transdev Blazefield, has ordered 19 Euro 5 compliant Volvo B7RLE Eclipse 2s for their Burnley & Pendle operation, whilst Warrington Borough Transport have ordered 12 similarly specified vehicles – their first of this combination - as part of their fleet upgrade programme, which are due to go into service on a variety of routes around the borough in June next year.
In addition to the 27 Volvo B7RLE Eclipses delivered in the summer to trentbarton for their Rainbow 5 service between Derby and Nottingham, a further 14 of the new Eclipse 2 bodied B7RLEs will be delivered in the New Year for their Calverton Link service running from Nottingham. GHA in Wrexham have also taken three of the Ballymena-bodied Volvo single decks.
A second Volvo B7RLE is displayed on the stand, this time Euro 5 compliant and featuring the ADL Enviro 300 bodywork, which forms part of an order for 45 vehicles for Translink, It has 55 seats with 3&2 seating in the rear section.
The Volvo B7RLE is also available with body options from Plaxton in the guise of its Centro model and now, for the first time – Optare with its newly launched “Esteem” model.
Rotola plc has purchased 33 Volvo B7RLE single decks for use on its Diamond Bus Network in the Midlands, twenty-two of which feature the Plaxton Centro bodies and have gone into service on a number of key routes in the Black Country under the ‘Black Diamond’ brand. The remaining eleven B7RLEs have Wrightbus Eclipse bodywork and are entering service in partnership with Worcestershire County Council under the ‘Red Diamond’ brand.
Kent County Council will be the first operator to put the new Volvo/Optare single deck combination into service with a total of six such vehicles. Whippet Coaches are hot on their heels, with three due to enter service on the Cambridge busway in 2009 - a further 10 Volvo B7RLEs with Wrightbus Eclipse bodies, operated by Stagecoach and fuelled by bio-diesel are set to join them.
Volvo B9TL – leader of its class
Over 500 Volvo B9TL Double Decks have been registered in the UK alone this year, and with body options available from Wrightbus, ADL and Optare further orders in the pipeline are likely to cement its leading position, both in the UK and Ireland.
The Isle of Man will see their first ever new Volvo bus when 11 Wrightbus Gemini bodied Volvo B9TL Double Decks enter service on the island in early 2009. Across the Irish Sea, deliveries of a batch of 10 B9TL Geminis are currently being delivered to Bus Eireann, whilst Dublin Bus is currently taking delivery of 50 Volvo B9TLs with ADL Enviro 400 bodywork, with a further 50 to follow, and their first ever Wrightbus double decks will enter service in the Irish capital before the year end.
London sighting tour operator Big Bus have recently taken delivery of 10 Volvo B9TL Double Decks with Optare Visionaire body work – three of which are open top, with the other seven “half top”. The Euro 5 compliant vehicles are being deployed on all three of the companies “hop-on hop-off” tour routes which take in many of the capital’s tourist sights. A further order for 10 has been confirmed for delivery during 2009.
Speaking at the show, Volvo Bus Sales Director Phil Owen said, “Our product range and the comprehensive options available is attracting new customers as well as retaining existing Volvo operators. “We are committed to providing the best in customer service – from the initial quotation to the vehicle handover and support through the life of the vehicle, with an emphasis on being able to recommend the best driveline configuration for a particular application to maximise performance and optimise fuel return.” He added, “Whether it’s product information, driver training, soft products or after sales service, we want Volvo customers to feel that they truly are getting the best.”
4 November 2008
Photographs: A selection of images to accompany this and other show press releases is available for download at the media centre section of www.whenproductivitycounts.com