First 21 MAN EcoCity natural-gas buses go to Arriva in the UK

Transport service provider Arriva is the first to order a fleet of the new bus models that allow eco-friendly operation on either CNG or biogas. MAN offers the EcoCity for the right-hand-drive market in the UK as a choice of low-floor or low-entry bus.

The buses will go into regular service in Runcorn, south-east of Liverpool and Darlington, in north-east England. Arriva is a subsidiary of Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, and one of the biggest transport service providers in Europe. With over 47,500 employees, Arriva conveys more than 1.5 billion passengers in 12 countries every year.

"We are very happy with the first order for this new city bus, which has been tailor-made for the UK. The natural-gas and biogas bus is a future-proof technology for urban transport," emphasises Tony Griffiths, General Manager Bus Operations at MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd.

Mike Cooper, managing director of Arriva’s UK Bus division, said: “These MAN gas buses are part of Arriva’s ongoing investment in improving the environmental performance of our bus fleet. Alongside the increasing numbers of hybrid buses being introduced and our eco-driving programmes they help further the environmental sustainability of the services we provide for our passengers.”

Running vehicles on natural gas makes it possible to save up to 30 percent on operating costs. Moreover, the buses can also be run on biogas. Operation using this regenerative source of energy enables largely CO2 neutral local public transport. Besides the diesel hybrid technology that MAN also offers, biogas technology gives city-bus operators a further alternative for reducing CO2 emission and conserving fossil resources.

The bus bodies are made from weight-reducing aluminium, with a steel framework reinforcing the front and rear of the structure. The drive train is equipped with the MAN E2876 EEV-compliant engine, whose 12.8-litre capacity and 272 hp offers superb propulsion for the 12-metre bus with its 40 seats (plus two tip-ups). Four natural-gas tanks with a capacity of 1,176 litres provide the necessary range.

The development of a natural-gas supply plays an important role in the UK market. To this end, MAN has entered into a partnership with the Gas Bus Alliance (GBA) consortium. GBA installs the tank unit and gas-processing system on site, typically on the bus operator's premises, and will also take over financing, operation and maintenance if requested. Gas-processing is a key factor in achieving one-hundred-percent operational safety, because gas in the UK can vary in quality: the proportion of biogas fed into the UK network is rapidly increasing.