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Stagecoach to increase North American fleet with £6m investment

STAGECOACH Group is investing more than £6 million in a new fleet for its overseas Megabus operation as it eyes further expansion in North America.

The 15 double decker buses will be built by Belgian company Van Hool, which also supplied the coaches for the Megabus sleeper routes from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London.

The new US vehicles and are expected to be used across the US and Canada during the next six months.

Each of the 81-seat TD 925 models will have free wi-fi as well as being green certified and wheelchair accessible.

Dale Moser, president and chief operating officer of megabus.com, said: "Megabus.com has transformed inter-city bus travel in North America.

"We believe there is a huge opportunity to encourage people to leave their car keys at home and take the bus to get to work, make a business trip, travel with friends or go on a vacation.

"These new state-of-the-art coaches are part of our exciting expansion plans for 2014 and will help bring safe, high-quality and affordable to travel to more people in North America."

Megabus operates across 30 US states and two Canadian provinces serving in excess of 120 destinations.

Having launched in April 2006 it now transports around 10 million passengers annually.

At its interim results announcement last month Stagecoach indicated it saw "huge" opportunities in North America after a hike in operating profit from £13.8m to £19.6m in the six months to October 31, 2013.

Revenue in the period grew from £199.8m to £238.3m.

Chairman Sir Brian Souter said the division was on course to deliver a significant uplift in annual profits.

The company further highlighted the most recent intercity services covered by Megabus, which run across Texas and California, were performing well.

Yesterday Stagecoach also pointed out research by the DePaul University Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development in Chicago had recently discovered that bus passengers in the US paid an average of 52% less than rail travellers and 79% less than those who chose use air travel to reach their destination.

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