By Lori Little THE FIRST of eight new state-of-the-art low-floor buses to be used on the Island is due to arrive this month.
Southern Vectis is looking forward to taking delivery of the Island's first easy-access buses, which represent a £1.1 million investment. They comprise a 29-seater single decker and seven 71-seater double deckers and have already been described as "the pride of our fleet".
The single-decker Dennis Dart has a Plaxton Pointer body and wheelchair space, a wheelchair ramp and step-free entrance with standing room for a further 17 passengers, plus electronic route number and destination displays to the front and rear.
A special feature is a four-camera digital CCTV system that records activity on to disc for passenger and driver safety and to help combat unruly behaviour and vandalism.
The seven double deckers, to be used on the Island Explorer service, will be the first vehicles in the UK to have new high-quality German manufactured seating.
They will have a PA system for passenger announcements, a six-camera CCTV system and provision for a wheelchair or pushchair. The upper deck will feature grouped seating in sets of four.
Operations manager Marc Morgan Huws said: "Our new vehicles have been finished to our own high specification to meet the quality standards we require. They have impressive styling and will be the pride of our fleet when they arrive."
Chris Squibb, engineering manager at Southern Vectis, said: "All our vehicles meet the tightest emission regulations and are the most environmentally friendly buses on the Island.
The double deckers will be the longest buses we operate at 10.5 metres, allowing us to incorporate legroom, seating layout and accessibility for less mobile customers."
The new vehicles will replace 11 Leyland Olympians that were bought between 1982 and 1984, which have covered more than half a million miles each.