Passengers travelling to and from Glasgow Airport have the opportunity to become high flyers with the launch of a new premium bus fleet that aims to deliver the best bus service in Scotland.
The new Glasgow Airport Express fleet, which links the Airport with the city centre, enters operation today (Thursday 21 July).
The service is operated by First Glasgow, Scotland’s largest bus operator, which has invested £2.1 million in 10 state-of-the-art vehicles and re-branded the service that will transport passengers to their destination in both comfort and style.
The sleek and stylish buses, supplied by Alexander Dennis Limited in Falkirk, have been designed in a bespoke eye-catching new livery with a distinctive new logo. Their matching premium interiors include luxury leather trimmed coach-style seating with extra legroom, air conditioning, contemporary wooden-effect flooring and under-seat airline style lighting. The seats feature specially designed fabric that is exclusive to the Glasgow Airport Express service.
To help keep passengers connected while on board, the Glasgow Airport Express buses also feature the latest technology including complementary 4G Wi-Fi, USB charging points that will enable customers to charge their phones and tablets while on the move and cutting-edge audio-visual display screens providing a tailored welcome video combined with next stop information and announcements.
First Glasgow has also upgraded Stance 1 at Glasgow Airport, where customers board the service. Benefits include improved signage and a new quicker queuing system with customer agents helping passengers, answering questions and selling tickets at the stance to speed up boarding times.
The fleet’s dedicated team of staff have been issued with smart new branded black and white uniforms accented by neck scarves and ties in same signal violet shade that forms the basis of the new bus livery.
The vehicles, built at Alexander Dennis Ltd in Falkirk, feature some of the industry’s most advanced engineering including the latest Euro VI engines, which produce 95% less oxides of nitrogen compared to buses with Euro V engines and will help to improve air quality in Glasgow.
Previously known as the Glasgow Shuttle, the Glasgow Airport Express is the fastest link to and from Glasgow Airport, transporting passengers from the airport to the city centre in just 15 minutes. Buses operate around the clock, 24 hours a day seven days a week for 364 days of the year with a main day frequency of up to 10 minutes.
Passenger numbers on the airport service have risen from 12,000 to 15,500 per week – an increase of almost 30% - since First Glasgow began operating the route in January 2011. At the beginning of the year, First Glasgow’s contract to deliver the route was renewed until 2021.
Fiona Kerr, Managing Director of First Glasgow, said: “We’re really excited about the launch of our new Glasgow Airport Express fleet - it’s brilliant news for our customers, who we’re sure will enjoy these specially designed sleek, modern and comfortable vehicles fitted with the latest technology.
“Our sophisticated new fleet is designed to give customers an experience that reflects the very best in quality, design and comfort, which together with excellent customer service represents outstanding value for money. I’m really delighted with the look, feel and added extras that we’ve fitted to the vehicles.
“I believe that the re-brand coupled with the state of the art new vehicles makes the Glasgow Airport Express the best bus service in Scotland.
“I’m very pleased with the strong growth we’ve already achieved on the Glasgow Airport route and as our investment in our next generation Glasgow Airport Express fleet shows, we’re determined to build on our success and encourage more people to use the service.”
She added: “As a Scottish-based business, I’m extremely proud that our Glasgow Airport Express buses were manufactured in Falkirk by another Scottish-based business, Alexander Dennis Ltd and who worked closely with us to deliver a bus designed around our specific requirements. By investing in Scottish engineering, we are supporting jobs and skills that will help to maintain our country’s world-leading reputation for innovation.”
John McConnell, Head of Commercial at Glasgow Airport, said: “With air passenger numbers continuing to grow at Glasgow Airport, we welcome First Glasgow’s investment in the Glasgow Airport route and its commitment to encouraging more travellers to use the service. The sleek design and enhanced facilities offered by the Glasgow Airport Express will help to improve the air passenger experience and boost connectivity to Glasgow and the wider Central Belt region.”
Colin Robertson, Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis Limited, said: “We are delighted that ADL is First Glasgow’s sole bus supplier this year. We take this as a ringing endorsement of our product quality, aftermarket support and partnership with the team at First Glasgow.
“We have collaborated closely to deliver these brand new vehicles which combine the latest Euro VI engines with cutting edge smart technology to further reduce CO2 emissions and optimise fuel economy. The premium interior specification with high back luxury seating, ambient lighting and USB ports at all seats will contribute to a first class passenger experience.”
The superior technology available on the Glasgow Airport Express fleet reflects the commitment by First Glasgow to deliver a customer centric service that is simple, smart and seamless, with all customers able to use their mobile phones as bus tickets through the company’s m-Ticket option. The company’s drive for innovative customer friendly improvements will continue through 2016/17.
The Glasgow Airport Express connects the Airport with the city centre calling at Central Station, Queen Street Station and Buchanan Bus Station. Services operate 24/7 and at peak times every ten minutes. The journey from the Airport to the city centre takes just 15 minutes and to Buchanan St Bus Station, 25 minutes.
FirstGroup plc is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America and our services help to create strong, vibrant and sustainable local economies. During the last year around 2.4 billion people relied on us to get to work, to education, to visit family and friends and much more and, each day, every one of our 110,000 employees works hard to deliver vitally important services for our passengers.
FirstGroup is one of Britain’s largest bus operators with around a fifth of bus services outside London. A fleet of some 6,300 buses carries approximately 1.7 million passengers a day in a huge number of communities including 40 of the UK's largest towns and cities. We operate some US-style yellow school buses and have a fleet of coaches available for charter. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland.