Submitted release: Souter Investments
Global public transport company Souter Investments, says it is making a substantial investment in its Auckland bus company Howick & Eastern Buses, introducing larger capacity, high-spec double-deck buses later this year.
Fifteen double-deck buses have been ordered, at a total investment of $12 million. The buses will be used predominantly on east Auckland commuter routes between Botany and downtown Auckland.
Sir Brian Souter of Souter Investments says the new buses will be among the most efficient on Auckland’s roads.
“We are really pleased to be bringing a new style of bus to east Auckland passengers, and to support the local bus-building industry. These double-deck buses are shorter than a regular Howick & Eastern commuter bus, yet can carry nearly twice the number of passengers. That means fewer buses on the roads, and reduced carbon emissions per passenger".
“All but two of the 15 buses will be built in Tauranga by Kiwi Bus Builders and Alexander Dennis, who are leaders in high-spec coach builds,” says Sir Brian.
Auckland Mayor, Len Brown says that double-deck buses are most welcome on one of Auckland’s busiest and most congested commuter routes.
“Being able to carry more passengers, without adding to congestion on our roads is an example of how Auckland’s public transport companies are innovating as passenger numbers grow.
“I congratulate Souter Holdings and Howick & Eastern Buses on this initiative, which will be of benefit to both bus passengers and other road users,” says Mayor Brown.
Dr Lester Levy, Chairman of Auckland Transport says that public transport performance has improved dramatically in recent years, along with patronage.
“Improving services and catering for growth in demand for public transport requires a new approach. Urban double-deck buses will almost certainly become more common in the future. It’s a smart way to add capacity without adding pressure on roading infrastructure; it will encourage more drivers out of their cars and is a more environmentally sound solution to congestion.”
Sheryll Otway, General Manager of Howick & Eastern Buses, says the double-deck buses are an exciting first for the company and set a new standard for Auckland public bus transport.
“Howick & Eastern has proud history, going back more than 60 years. Our new double-decks are another big step forward in customer service and will be used predominantly on the Botany corridor, which has experienced strong growth in passenger numbers in the past 12 months. We think that passengers will appreciate not only the new buses, but also the new features such as free Wi-Fi and power points and USB ports at every seat."
“To be able to charge a smart phone and stay connected while travelling is a fantastic development for our customers, which we hope will make the journey more enjoyable. We are delighted to be adding double-deck buses to our fleet.”
The Howick & Eastern double-deck buses are a similar style as those operated by sister company ManaBus.com, and are expected to be in service in the last quarter of 2015.
About Howick & Eastern double-deck buses:
- Investment of $12m.
- 15 in total (13 assembled/built in Tauranga by Kiwi Bus Builders and Alexander Dennis), two arriving as fully assembled prototypes.
- 90 seats (nearly double the capacity of a regular Howick & Eastern commuter bus).
- 12.5 metres long (shorter than a regular Howick & Eastern commuter bus).