Stagecoach launches its first new UK open-toppers

Stagecoach UK Bus has launched its first new purpose-built open-top double-deckers on a prime tourist route in the Lake District.

The seven Wright Gemini 3-bodied Volvo B5TLs — with partially enclosed top decks and branded Lakesider — cost £1.5million and are based on the design of 30 similar long wheelbase vehicles supplied last year to Edinburgh Bus Tours.

They replace converted Dennis Tridents on the Cumbria & North Lancashire subsidiary’s service 599 between Grasmere and Bownesson- Windermere and are equipped with free WiFi with USB charging points, as well as having space for both buggies and bicycles.

The 599 operates all year and serves Rydal, Ambleside, Brockhole Visitor Centre, Bowness Pier and Windermere railway station. The daily service runs every 20min to 30 September, half-hourly in October then hourly in winter.

Wrightbus is the only UK manufacturer currently offering an open-top product in the domestic market.

First of the batch of new open-toppers, 13801 (BV17 CTE), in Grasmere.