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Arriva forms King Long link

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Arriva forms King Long link

Jun 28 , 2022
In a move that looks like a kick in the teeth for the UK’s bus builders, Arriva’s UK Bus and Mainland Europe divisions are entering a partnership with King Long, China’s largest bus exporter. The aim is to "develop new, innovative prototype vehicles” for trial within Arriva’s UK and European bus operations. Arriva is also looking for lower capital and running costs, which it says explains its decision to work with a Chinese builder rather than with any of its established UK or European suppliers. The move follows the delivery of 174 King Longs to Arriva Malta. What Arriva’s passengers will make of riding in buses that have been made on the other side of the world rather than in home-grown vehicles that generate jobs in the UK is yet to be seen.

King Long bus

Kevin O’Leary, engineering director for Arriva Mainland Europe, says: " We want to evaluate the potential and capabilities of King Long in other markets. Operationally, it's also important we have the depth of choice of vehicles which are best suited to our various networks in different countries. We continue to strongly support the UK and wider European supply industry."

He adds: "Keeping control of costs for our customers and client bodies is vital. We aren't just looking at the initial capital investment, but the life cycle costs associated with ongoing engineering and maintenance.”

Arriva says that the supply of King Long to Malta has given both companies valuable experience of working together and played a role in setting the foundations for testing of newly developed prototypes for the UK and European markets.

Mark Bowd, Arriva’s group engineering director, says: "This new agreement with King Long once again underlines our commitment to bringing the latest technology and ideas to the UK and European public transport markets. Introducing new technology and using state-of-the-art vehicles are two vital ways to encourage greater use of public transport and we continue to play our part in achieving that goal.”

King Long prototypes are to be tested in Arriva’s European operations by the middle of 2012 with a further King Long prototype due in the UK by end of next year. King Long claims it built over 15,000 vehicles in 2009. The company has sold small numbers of coaches in the UK.

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