Notts Council saves £300,000 with Orion
Day centres run by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) have reported annual savings of £300,000 by operating a fleet of 20 DDA compliant Fiat Ducato based Orion low floor minibuses in a dual role. The coachbuilt minibuses are transporting day care customers in the morning and afternoon but cover subsidised fare-stage bus routes at other times. These latter services had previously been withdrawn by commercial operators. From a single fare-stage bus route operated in January 2013, NCC now has 14 routes being run with the Orions. The most recent of these vehicles to enter the fleet were eight supplied by Mellor Coachcraft. They are fitted with destination displays and a side mounted wheelchair ramp.
NCC’s Transport & Travel Services Fleet Operations Manager, Andy Frogg, said, ‘The Orions have been really good. In the back, they have tip-and-fold seats to accommodate the wheelchairs, but a wheelchair can also come on at the front. Working them like this means they do four times the mileage they were doing, but they are well up to the task and are turning in 22mpg to 23mpg.’
Andy said all services are run with a Community Bus Permit (Section 22) but with paid drivers.