The green friendly vehicles will be operating on a ‘Bullocks only’ route which passes directly through the Manchester Royal Infirmary grounds. The service runs from Piccadilly train station on Fairfield Street to Oxford Road and is in daily operation between 7.15am and 6.45pm.
“It’s a relatively short trip of some four and half miles,” explained Alan Bullock, “but the fact we have a license to pass through the Royal Infirmary means we are quite selective when it comes to purchasing new vehicles”.
“The Volvo buses are extremely environmentally friendly, so much so that the engines automatically switch off when the bus is at a standstill, significantly reducing harmful emissions. We are hopeful that with a bit of practice it may even be possible to drive the short distance through the hospital with zero emissions, which would be absolutely fabulous”.
“These buses will certainly help to drive down the carbon footprint on this high profile route,” explained Volvo Bus Managing Director, Steve Dewhurst, who was in attendance at the official handover. “I had the opportunity to talk to people from the hospital and the NHS Foundation Trust at the Manchester Royal Infirmary and their enthusiasm and pride about this partnership was evident”.
With half of the Bullocks fleet specified as Volvo, the company are accustomed to the Volvo Wrightbus combination. “Wrights offer a really nice build,” continued Alan Bullock, “that added to the Volvo platform, which the drivers like, meant it was an attractive proposition for us to go with Volvo again”.
Although no strangers to the Volvo chassis, these are the first Volvo double deck hybrids that Bullocks have purchased in Manchester. “We had the Green Bus Funding and wanted to purchase high-end hybrids that could meet our requirements,” explained Alan Bullock.
“We carried around 700,000 passengers last year, including students heading to the University and people travelling to the hospital and we need vehicles that are reliable, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly”.
Bullocks’ new Volvo hybrid double decks are specified with 64 seats with room for a further 29 standees. The new vehicles combine the power of a D5E 5 litre engine, rated at 210 hp with an integrated starter alternator motor, capable of producing 70kW – all connected to the proven Volvo I-Shift gearbox.
The two power sources can operate either simultaneously or independently, depending on the conditions of operation. The Integrated Starter, Alternator and Motor (ISAM), located between the diesel engine and the gearbox, acts as the electric motor for power and as a generator charging the batteries on the overrun. It is also used as a starter motor for the engine.
Local Volvo Bus Dealership, Thomas Hardie Commercials in Knowsley have been involved throughout the process, preparing the new vehicles prior to the handover and will continue to support Bullocks with two dedicated hybrid technicians based on the Trafford Park.
Volvo Bus Regional Commercial Manager, Arthur Argyle, has known Alan Bullock for a number of years and was delighted to be able to find the right vehicles for him again on this occasion. “These vehicles are perfect for Alan’s requirements,” Arthur explained, “Bullocks had the backing of the Green Bus Fund and wanted hybrid double decks that offered low fuel consumption, excellent performance and aesthetic appeal, our B5Ls meet all of those requirements”.
“The buses even have different variations of the company name – “Bullocks” on their registration plates,” continued Arthur Argyle, “so they should be easy to spot travelling on the Oxford Road Link”.
25 March 2011
Caption for image: (left to right) Robert Bullock, Arthur Argyle (Volvo Bus Regional Commercial Manager), Alan Bullock, Steve Dewhurst. (Volvo Bus Managing Director) and Andy Mageer (Thomas Hardie Commercials, Bus and Coach Manager).