Ballymena bus builder Wrightbus has taken a leap onto the world stage with the global debut of its new generation StreetCar at a transport exhibition in the US.
On show at the APTA Expo 2008 in San Diego, California, was the first of 50 environmentally-friendly StreetCar RTV's commissioned by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada as part of a £31.4m deal.
The StreetCar RTV is a development of the StreetCar concept launched in Britain in 2005 and specially customised to Southern Nevada's requirements — making it unlike any other bus in operation, according to the company.
Powered by a hybrid-electric system, the bus is fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly.
The high-tech StreetCar RTV interior provides passengers with internet access and the latest |travel information. Passenger safety is ensured by a panic button and a live video feed which can be relayed back to the bus depot and local police station.
Wrightbus managing director Mark Nodder said: "The RTC in Southern Nevada wants to attract commuters away from their cars as well as providing fast and efficient transit for the high number of tourists who visit Las Vegas and surrounding area. The StreetCar RTV is the perfect choice."
Mr Nodder said Wrightbus had taken an innovative approach in the design of the vehicle.
The order is the latest in a series of big contracts won by the Wright Group, including the provision of 50 'green' buses to Dublin Bus and an order worth over £125m with FirstGroup, the world's leading transport company.
Mr Nodder said the Nevada contract was the first of its kind for the company and the APTA Expo was a perfect showcase.
"We do see this as a break-through, it is an opportunity to make a name for ourselves and raise our profile,” he added.
Wright Group, the parent company of Wrightbus, was founded in 1946 and is still a family owned and managed company, employing 1,000 people. Wrightbus has pioneered low floor buses in the UK, and says it has earned a reputation for producing vehicles which are “stylish and durable”.