First Essex unveiled a fleet of 12 high-specification Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMCs on Monday (21 November).The 36-seat Enviro200s are dedicated to services X10 and X30 between the south of the county and Stansted Airport and they represent a £1.9m investment, of which the airport has contributed a significant portion.12 Alexander Dennis Enviro200 MMCs represent an investment of £1.9mThey replace coaches and have a specification that includes extra-padded seats finished in Muirhead real leather, large luggage racks, USB charging points, wi-fi, and a distinctive livery designed by Wigan-based JR Buzz.“This is a good example of how, by working with our partners at Essex County Council and Stansted, we have been able to improve services to the airport,” says First Essex MD Alex Jones.First is confident that the investment will drive passenger numbers. Established service X30 from Southend has grown from midicoaches when it was introduced in 2004, while route X10 – which runs from Basildon and was introduced in July – is already seeing strong patronage figures.Mr Jones says that 7,000 weekly journeys on the two services are predicted, and that their customer base includes air travellers, commuters and airport staff.The contribution from Stansted forms part of its plan to further improve its position as the UK major airport that sees the highest proportion of travellers use public transport. Currently the figure stands at 51%, with coaches and buses accounting for half of that, or 5m passenger journeys per year.The Enviro200s will provide an hourly link to each of Basildon and Southend, with timetables coordinated to give a 30-minute frequency as far as Chelmsford.Buses were selected to replace the previous Volvo coaches on the grounds of capacity requirements and to speed journey times, says Mr Jones, who adds that a dedicated driver rota is in place for the two services.“The Enviro200s have a slightly lower seating capacity but they are able to carry a large number of standees, unlike the coaches. We considered double-deckers, but when the necessary luggage racks were installed, that would result in an unsatisfactory number of seats on the lower deck.“We also have to consider the other flows that the X10 and particularly the X30 serve, which can generate high passenger numbers.”He adds that First Essex plans later to install flight information screens in the Enviro200s that will give travellers information on gates and departure times. Real-time data is provided across the operator’s area and next bus times are also available via an app.The Enviro200 MMCs have four-cylinder, Euro 6 Cummins ISB engines coupled to Voith gearboxes, and will cover up to 400 miles per day on the airport services, says Mr Jones.