A SOUTHAMPTON bus operator is set to ‘go green’ with a £7 million investment in new clean buses.

Go-South Coast group, owner of Bluestar, has ordered 32 new double decker buses for its Unilink fleet.

The buses will be fitted with the latest Euro 6 low-emission diesel engines – the newest and cleanest standard for diesel vehicles.

They will also have free Wi-Fi on each bus, USB charging points for smartphones and hand-held device and contactless ticketing facilities.

Andrew Wickham, managing director of Bluestar, said: “We know just how important it is to make sustainable transport a more attractive proposition, in order to entice people out of their cars and this investment is a huge step in that direction.”

University of Southampton transport manager, Adam Tewkesbury, added: “Unilink has been a real success for the university and we are delighted that we will enter the next contract period with a fleet of new buses.

“They will offer additional comfort for every passenger travelling on our services - and they will also carry the latest Euro 6 low-emission engines, making them greener than ever.”

The new Alexander Dennis E400 MMC buses are expected to be rolled into service in time for the new academic year.

They will run across the Unilink network, which covers Southampton city centre, the University of Southampton’s Highfield campus and as far out as Eastleigh.

The new buses will comply with the city’s Clean Air Zone – set to introduced in 2019 – which will lead to charges for older and more polluting commercial vehicles.

Southampton City Council’s cabinet member for sustainable living, Chris Hammond, said: “I think it’s fantastic investment by Go-South Coast to green its fleet.”

Last month, the council were awarded a £2.6 million grant by the government, which will be used to upgrade 145 older and more polluting buses in the city with catalytic converters to reduce their emissions.