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May 24 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is the Senior Journalist at routeONE magazine is also the title’s chief test driver, with considerable vehicle knowledge


Mellor achieves LEB certification for Strata LF

Millbrook testing makes Strata the smallest bus so far to receive the accolade; gives significant cut in costs, and one Scottish buyer says that enhanced BSOG payment covers all of the model’s fuel bills

LEB certification for Strata low-floor minibus is a first in class for Mellor

Mellor has announced that its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Strata has been awarded a Low Emission Bus (LEB) certificate after successful emissions testing at Millbrook Proving Ground. It makes the 22-seat Strata the smallest bus yet to satisfy LEB requirements.

As defined by the government, an LEB uses efficient technology to produce a least 15% less well-to-wheel emissions than an equivalent Euro 5 vehicle.

For operators that delivers a reduction in fuel costs, but they now also benefit from an enhanced Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) payment.

In England, the uplift is 6.0p/km, but in Scotland it is 10.1p/km above the standard rate of 14.4p/km. For operators north of the border, the overall 24.5p/km payment stands to cover all fuel costs for a Strata. In England, the additional sum payable for 50,000km per annum will be £3,000.

“We knew that the Strata is fantastically economical, but it’s great to have a product that is now designated as clean and green by an independent certifying authority,” says Mellor MD John Randerson. “Coupled with fuel consumption of up to 22mpg on rural work, it opens the bus market up to the Strata and makes it an affordable, efficient and attractive means of transport.”

Prentice Coaches, of Haddington, East Lothian, is among buyers set to benefit from the Strata’s overall 24.4p/km BSOG payment in Scotland. On a mix of work that is mainly urban, its Strata achieves around 17mpg, and the operator most recently paid £1.05 per litre of fuel.

At that overall consumption rate, the per kilometre fuel cost is around 17.5p. Even without the BSOG uplift, the Strata is close to having all of its fuel costs paid for by the grant; with the LEB enhancement, it gets much better.

“Thanks to the increase in BSOG for an LEB, the payment now comfortably covers all of our Strata’s fuel costs at the current price, and it also contributes to capital outlay,” says MD Ross Prentice, who expects to order a second Strata soon.

So far, the Strata’s biggest buyer has been Greenock-based McGill’s Buses, which has over 20. It is understood that Mellor has also received a further major order from another Scottish operator. The manufacturer has also recently delivered the first left-hand drive Stratas, to its Swedish partner BK Invest.

www.mellor-coachcraft.co.uk



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