STAGECOACH launched 27 new number 11 buses which have now begun operating between Ardrossan, Kilwinning, Irvine and Kilmarnock.

The new E400 double decker vehicles have been on the route since Monday, January 8 and provide a more modern upgrade for customers.

Stagecoach say the £5.6million investment is proof of their commitment to providing high quality bus travel to people living and working within North Ayrshire.

The new vehicles have Euro6 engines and will provide some of the lowest emissions in Europe. The vehicles, which feature comfortable e-leather seats, free WiFi and USB charging points were officially launched last Friday at Irvine’s Scottish Maritime Museum by TV personality Jane McCarry best known as Isa in BBC comedy Still Game.

A new timetable has also been introduced on the service which has been developed using both the extensive knowledge of front line employees and the latest GPS automatic vehicle location (AVL) software to analyse the performance of the route over time.

All vehicles in the fleet, including the new buses on the 11 service, are fitted with this AVL tracking software which not only allows the company to constantly track each journey, but also allows passengers to get live bus updates on the Stagecoach website, through the Stagecoach App and on street at digitally equipped bus stops.

Tom Bridge Managing Director Stagecoach West Scotland said: “We’re delighted to be launching these new vehicles on our service 11 route.

“It is hoped that this investment in new vehicles will encourage more people to travel by bus which could help to reduce congestion on our roads and have an environmental benefit.

Still Game star Jane said: “I have yet to travel on a bus and not start up a conversation with someone.

“You never know who you are going to meet! I always end up with at least one person’s life story and the conversations I have earywigged on over the years would make yer hair curl.

“More than once I’ve missed my stop because I just had to hear the end of a story.

“Somehow a bus more than any other form of transport is the friendliest way to get about.”