The new vehicles are specified with Volvo’s Euro 5 compliant engines, Plaxton Centro bodywork and have a unique livery designed specifically for the guided busway.
With passenger comfort and disabled access key considerations for this brand new route, Go Whippet chose the vehicles that they believed would give them not only the key functional requirements, but also the most consistent performance.
Offering 46 spaces for seating and a further 28 standing positions, the vehicles are fully compliant with all regulations regarding access for all and are expected to prove popular with commuters using the new route. Guided wheels on the side of the vehicle help to maintain its position, whilst it travels on the purpose built carriage way.
The Busway, which runs partly on the site of the old railway line between St Ives and Cambridge is set to be opened in January and will offer passengers and quick traffic free route between the locations.
Peter Lee, Director of the family run Whippet Coaches Limited has seen some remarkable changes during his career, but it was his Grandfather Henry Lee who originally established the business in 1919, when he moved to Graveley in Huntingdon. He bought an American ambulance which he turned into the very first Whippet coach. The business thrived and grew through the stewardship of Peter’s father and uncles, then latterly Peter himself along with his brother and cousins.
Whippet’s relationship with Volvo began back in the 1970’s and they have continued to specify Volvo vehicles ever since. “We have an excellent relationship with the Volvo dealership in Ely and we have always received a good service and high standard vehicles,” explained Peter Lee.
The Busway and new Volvo vehicles have coincided with an exciting time for Whippet Coaches, who have recently celebrated 90 years of operation by moving into a new state-of-the-art depot in Swavesey, complete with a modern on-site workshop and superbly located adjacent to The Busway, close to the A14 and only a short distance from Cambridge.
“You always have to move with the times,” explained Peter Lee, “We have a new facility, some new routes, including the exciting busway scheme and we wanted some new vehicles to be used specifically for this exciting venture,”.
Image Caption: (left to right) John Lee, Janet Thompson, Gary Barton (Plaxton), Michael Lee, Pauline Carpenter, Peter Lee & Roger Turner (Volvo Bus) with one of Go Whippet’s new Volvo B7RLEs.