Hybrid Versa yellow school buses for Manchester
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has boosted its fleet of yellow school buses with 13 new Optare Versas hybrids. Six schools in Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Stockport and Trafford are set to get their first yellow school bus service, joining 53 other schools across Greater Manchester. Each of the new vehicles cost £210,000 each and are part funded by the government’s Green Bus Fund. They are expected to reduce harmful emissions by up to 35% compared to diesel buses. 52 of the 93 strong fleet are now hybrid-electric vehicles, while a further 34 older diesel yellow school buses will shortly be retro-fitted with air pollution control equipment to reduce emissions.
Since their introduction in 2003, Greater Manchester’s yellow school buses have taken millions of car journeys off the road and proved successful in tackling on-bus anti-social behaviour. Over 3,000 pupils are signed up to use the services, which pick-up and drop-off children close to home. Children using the buses sit in the same safety-belt fitted seat every day, which helps prevent vandalism and litter. The vehicles also have interior and exterior CCTV video recorders. They can seat 57-67 students, with a regular driver who recognises registered passengers, reducing behaviour problems. All drivers are specially trained in customer care and disability awareness. The buses are also available for hire to schools and youth groups outside of operational hours, being put to good use for cultural, educational and sports activities.