But why does the company invest in vehicles which are up to 20% more expensive that a standard bus? Part of the answer lies in social responsibility and part in the expectations of the market and a partnering approach to business.
Air quality is high on the agenda in Oxford . OBC has helped by providing services which replace many thousands of car movements, but the company recognises that it must itself minimise its impact whilst carrying on its normal business. All vehicles are fitted with emission control devices and there are now 48 buses and coaches to Euro 5 standard, the largest such fleet in the UK .
Thirty five years ago, OBC began a partnership with the far-sighted local authorities to control traffic in the central area: this led directly to the first Park & Ride scheme, and now the bus is 'the way to go' for many in Oxford . OBC has adopted a business model based on a high quality product -buses with additional leg room, air conditioning, easy access, smartcard ticketing - whilst the city and county councils have concentrated on creating and maintaining an environment in which commercial bus services can flourish. The end product is there for all to see.
Louisa Weeks is General Manager with the Oxford Bus Company