York marked a major milestone in its efforts to be a cleaner, greener city today (Friday).
First Bus together with City of York Council ‘switched on’ a new fleet of zero emission buses for the city.
This will see the First York depot become one of the first outside London to be fully electric.
At the ceremony were new purple double deckers which will go into service from Sunday, initially on the number 4 route out to Acomb.
Electric buses will then gradually be introduced on to selected corridors in the coming weeks with services 1 and 5 expected to follow soon.
The full order of 53 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers and the single-decker GB Kite Electroliner feature audio visual next stop technology, USB charging points and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Each bus will save up to 60 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, meaning an anticipated annual reduction of more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2 when the full fleet is in operation.
“It’s absolutely fantastic to see that the bus fleet will be fully electric by the end of the year,” council leader Claire Douglas told YorkMix.
“I’d really encourage people to come and have a look at one of the new buses, they are absolutely fantastic, and really comfortable and spacious.
“There’s another aspect – they are environmentally friendly, they aren’t pumping out those diesel fumes.”
Net zero ambitions
She said the electric buses would help in the council’s bid to get York to net zero carbon by 2030. The council’s transport plan will aim to reduce traffic levels by 20%.
“A lot of that will be private car usage. So we need to make sure that we’ve got other systems –that public transport’s good, that people can move round easily, that people can get where they need to get.”
Andrew Cullen, managing director of First Bus in North & West Yorkshire, said it was a big step for York.
“An even greener transport revolution beckons in York and we are leading this change.
“It’s really important for the city. It’s going to be a quieter, cleaner, more efficient system. And on the vehicle, it’s a different customer experience.
“It’s comfier. The acceleration is smoother, there are USB charging points, Wi Fi, so we’re hoping our customers will really get the benefit as well.”
Andrew said the electric buses are charged at their depot, which is getting an upgrade at the moment to handle the full zero emission fleet, which will total 86 buses.
“You can charge these buses in about four hours. And that will give you a range of 200 miles give or take, depending on the outside temperatures.”
The fleet represents a total investment by First Bus of £13m supported with £10.2m funding secured by City of York Council from the Government’s Zebra scheme.