Chloe Shakesby

Yorkshire bus company invests £9.3m in expanding electric fleet

A Yorkshire transport company has invested £9.3m into replacing diesel vehicles for more environmentally friendly options.

First Bus has announced that it has launched the biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the UK.

The full order of Metrodecker EVs, manufactured by Optare in Yorkshire, will be brought into operation this summer, replacing existing diesel vehicles in an investment totalling £9.3m and expanding the fully electric fleet on York Park & Ride to 33 buses.

Each bus saves almost one kilogram of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilometre travelled, which is estimated will mean a saving of 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year when the 21-bus Metrodecker fleet is complete. Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First York, commented: “We’re proud to be the operator of the biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the country as we continue to partner with City of York council to improve air quality in York. “This is an important stage in our shared ambition to expand sustainable transport in the city. We are determined to attract more customers to using buses and realising the real impact this has in reducing congestion, creating cleaner air and supporting the local economy, not least as York continues its revival from the pandemic.” Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said: “It is excellent to see that York is leading the way nationally with the introduction of the largest zero emission Park & Ride fleet in the country, a key part of our efforts to improve our air quality and more widely, tackle the climate emergency.

“This work builds on the £1.6m investment already made to deliver York’s Clean Air Zone, the first voluntary Clean Air Zone in the UK. The new buses will play an essential part in delivering our bus-based Clean Air Zone, whilst at the same time providing an enhanced experience for users.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, added: “We are very proud that York is now set to become home to the one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country, serving a Park & Ride system that is already showcased widely as an example to others.

“It has been a challenging time for bus companies as they strive to help us keep our residents and their drivers safe, so we are delighted that even during this difficult time we have been able to progress this project with First York.”

Graham Belgum, CEO of Optare plc, said: “We are very proud to continue our ground-breaking partnership with First York and City of York Council. Optare passionately believes in the role of zero emission buses in the future of public transport and we will continue to invest in developing this technology. We look forward to the successful introduction of the Metrodecker EV to the city.”

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