STAGECOACH in Oxfordshire has announced plans to replace and expand its Oxford Tube fleet with new coaches this summer in a £13m investment.

The biggest-ever investment for the company will introduce 34 brand new coaches and is the first major upgrade for the Oxford Tube service since 26 new vehicles were introduced in July 2014.

The move followed the upgrade of the service last month, including a new route to London via Baker Street, after Oxford Bus Company axed the rival X90 service.

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Customers of the Oxford Tube are set to benefit from on-board features including wireless and USB charging, reading lights and extendable tables complete with mobile device and cup holders throughout.

There will also be extra leg room and reclining seats.

New on-board information screens will be fitted and used to keep customers up to date with changes to their journey and estimated times of arrival.

Customers will also benefit from the enhanced complimentary WiFi service available throughout. 

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The new coaches, arriving in the summer, have been designed to improve the service for those with additional accessibility needs with a more seamless boarding process for wheelchair users.

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Fitted with Euro 6 engines which limit exhaust emissions, the new vehicles demonstrate Oxford Tube’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel providing an intercity service connecting to many onward destinations and, in a further move to reduce emissions, five of the 34 coaches will be fitted with solar panels to deliver greater fuel efficiency.

The 34 Plaxton Panorama coaches are currently being built in the UK at Alexander Dennis and are due to be introduced into service in the summer of 2020 and will continue to carry the iconic red branding, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Chris Coleman, managing director at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: "We are extremely excited to be able to share this news with our customers and our staff.

"Our teams have been working behind the scenes to ensure that every opportunity to enhance the customer experience has been taken.

"Technology has moved forward so quickly and with the improvements being made to on board messaging and WiFi I am sure that both regular and new customers will be happy that we have taken on board their feedback for the new coaches.

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"The new solar panels are an innovative way to look to other sources of energy to power the on-board features and part of our overall strategy to offer more sustainable travel options for our customers.

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"This year is proving to be an exciting one for the Oxford Tube. We recently introduced our express link via Baker Street and now we’re investing in a new state of the art fleet.Oxford Mail:

"The new coaches will offer customers the latest in comfort and design features will make the journey even more comfortable, enjoyable and convenient for those travelling with us."