ADL’s Enviro200 isn’t just for large fleets, it’s also an option for the small and medium sized fleets that make up the membership of ALBUM, as demonstrated by Nottingham City Transport

Since the beginning of March, Nottingham City Transport’s Purple Line 87 and 88 routes have been upgraded with the introduction of 10 new ADL Enviro200 midi buses, the first of this type for NCT. They were selected following an intensive evaluation exercise of all manufacturers carried out by NCT.

NCT joins a long list of operators who have selected the Enviro200 which is a familiar sight in communities across the UK, and increasingly in global markets. Its highly versatile design makes it suitable for all routes from urban and city centres to rural environments, and it’s increasingly recognised as the UK’s standard midi bus.

Nicola Tidy, NCT’s marketing and communications director commented: “The Enviro200 received excellent reviews in road trials and was the successful proposal in a competitive tendering process”.

ADL’s key account manager Frank McGhee worked with NCT throughout the acquisition process, commenting: “With the Enviro200 we’ve almost been a victim of our own success … from the day it was launched it has sold well to the large group fleets such as Stagecoach and FirstGroup. Such has been the success with these fleets that a market perception developed that ADL was only interested in the big fleets and not interested in the small or medium sized fleets that make up such a large proportion of the UK bus scene.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. While we remain very successful with the big groups, we are equally interested in developing good relationships with small and medium fleets, and indeed the majority of our sales team are focused today on selling Enviro200s to small and medium operators. That’s why we are so delighted with the NCT order, which we see as a breakthrough into a highly prestigious and trend-setting fleet at the forefront of contemporary bus operations. The fact that we won the NCT order in the face of intense competition is even more of a testimony to the suitability of Enviro200 for regional fleets. This is one of the reasons why we are a major sponsor of this year’s ALBUM conference, seeing it as a terrific opportunity to reach out to ALBUM members who are exactly the sort of customers we enjoy doing business with”.

Once NCT was convinced that Enviro200 was the right bus for their fleet, ADL worked very closely with the customer to hone the specification to the exact needs of the two routes they would be operating on.

The Enviro200 is available in a wide choice of optional specifications, with a range of overall lengths from 8.9 metres, for routes where manoeuvrability is at a premium, to 11.3 metres where the emphasis is on high passenger capacity. Mechanically there’s a choice of four or six cylinder Cummins engines and no fewer than five optional transmissions from Allison or Voith, and interior options are limited only by the imagination of the customer.

NCT selected the single door 10.2-metre Enviro, in this instance fitted with 33 Lazzerini Practico high back seats in two-tone E-Leather with extra padding and edge piping. NCT’s vehicles also feature roof-mounted driver’s air-conditioning, full CCTV and INIT real-time passenger information system. They are powered by Cummins ISBe four cylinder 160PS engines matched to Allison S2100 five speed automatic transmissions.


Iconic best-selling midi bus

Enviro200 has become something of an icon for the UK bus industry, tracing its roots back to the late 1980s when Dennis (a business now fully integrated into the ADL family) introduced the first modern midi bus, the Dart, which was uniquely positioned between a minibus and full-size single deck.

A process of continuous development and innovation led to the launch of the Enviro200 in the mid-2000s, a design that itself has been refined, most noticeably with a new interior and upgraded body features in 2011 that coincided with the introduction of European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

Such has been the success of Enviro200 and its predecessors that it has already passed the milestone of becoming Britain’s all-time best selling bus, with no sign of its popularity slowing down. It is a permanent fixture at the top of the midi bus sales charts, outselling all competitors combined every year since 2009.


Overseas success story

Enviro200 is also making a real impact overseas, experiencing great success in export markets. Many of these have traditionally operated with large, 18-tonne single deck vehicles but now recognise the advantages of moving to more efficient, highly manoeuvrable midi buses that use less fuel, are easier to maintain and are hugely popular with passengers.

In 2012, ADL formed a strategic alliance with New Flyer Industries Inc, North America’s leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses. Together, they have established a joint venture designed to target the medium-duty, low floor bus sector in North America and to transform the USA and Canada with a range of lightweight, fuel efficient products based on the Enviro200 range.

Colin Robertson, ADL’s chief executive officer, said: “Transit authorities are being squeezed on all fronts as the global economy tightens and the impact of the recession continues relentlessly. Our Enviro200 midi bus is a world-beater, leading the field in markets as far apart as Britain and New Zealand. It is lightweight, highly manoeuvrable, enjoys unrivalled fuel efficiency and has incomparable whole life costs.”

He added: “There is potential demand for around 1,000 Enviro200s per annum in North America where we will introduce the “son of Enviro200”, designed and built specifically to meet the needs of operators in Canada and the USA, many of whom have made it clear that the transport landscape in the USA and Canada is ready for change.”

Prototype North American Enviro200s have undergone stringent test programmes and the first production-ready vehicle is being launched at a major trade conference in Indianapolis, which runs concurrently with ALBUM.

The joint venture with New Flyer follows hot on the heels of Enviro200’s 2011 breakthrough in New Zealand, where Auckland’s NZ Bus initially bought 120 Enviro200s. This had greater significance than being just a substantial order from the country’s leading bus operator, as Colin Robertson explains: “We worked closely with NZ Bus for many months to ensure that we met the objectives of their long term fleet replacement programme in Auckland and Wellington, which aims to provide a new era
of environment-friendly, cost-effective buses – all of which will be Enviro200s.

“In truth, this is much more than just an important contract. It is the start of a significant business relationship that has the potential to see us deliver a further 200-300 buses into New Zealand in the next three to four years – and to use the location as a spring-board into other territories, notably Australia. Our aim is not simply to supply buses to New Zealand but to become an active player in the country’s manufacturing sector, just as we have done in North America and Hong Kong.

“On this occasion we are partnering with Kiwi Bus Builders, located on New Zealand’s North Island, using a new, state-of-the-art facility which is using body kits sourced from our UK facilities. Given time, we will progressively source more and more parts locally, which will intensify opportunities for a New Zealand supplier base”.


NCT orders ADL double decks

Returning to the UK and ADL’s burgeoning relationship with NCT, Colin Robertson commented: “Not only have NCT chosen Enviro200, we are delighted that they have now ordered an additional 40 highly customised Enviro400 double decks. These vehicles will be delivered progressively from December.”


This article appears in a special supplement on Nottingham City Transport, published with Passenger Transport this month.
Click here to view the supplement!