A landmark moment has been celebrated in York today (14 August) as it has become the first UK city outside London to trial a new fully electric double decker bus.
It comes 102 years after the City first pioneered electric buses on a regular service route.
Single deck electric buses were next trialled on the Fulford park and ride service in 2010 and have since become a regular feature on the Poppleton and Monks Cross shuttles as well as the off peak 500 service to Woodthorpe.
Electric Park and Ride bus
Early services hit a setback 2 years ago when an electric bus caught fire in the City centre
Representatives from City of York Council, First York and local bus manufacturer, Optare welcomed the arrival of the first “Metrodecker EV” in York today, which will be trialled on the York Park & Ride network and selected city routes over the next month.
The zero-emission and fully electric bus has the capacity to carry 99 passengers and has a range of nearly 150 miles from one overnight charge. The new vehicle is being trialled in York following the recent announcement that improvements will be made to the city’s already successful Park & Ride scheme. It was promised that new ‘greener’ buses would be introduced to improve fuel emissions citywide, placing York’s Park & Ride as one of the most sustainable and efficient in the country.
Speaking about the trial, Councillor Ian Gillies, executive member for transport at City of York Council, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this new addition to York’s green public transport fleet. There will be at least three electric double-deckers among the 14 electric buses on our Park & Ride routes.
“These Park & Ride buses will play a major role in continuing to improve the air quality in York, as well as giving an increasing number of passengers a safe, quick journey across the city.”
In March 1915 York Corporation Tramways Department was one of the very first operators in the country to use electric buses and to this day, there are still two relics of this pioneering form of transport in the City – the shelters at Clifton Green and Malton Road Corner, which were built as charging points for the buses
Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director at First York, adds: “This is another milestone to celebrate in what is already a thriving Park & Ride scheme in York. As one of the UK’s major bus operators, we understand the vital role we play in helping to solve the air quality challenge facing the country and I’m thrilled to welcome the trial of the future of bus travel to York today.
Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, said:
“This innovation is very welcome to improve air quality in York. The bus was on display at the One Planet York Conference in June and it is great to see locally built buses on the streets of York.”
Optare unveiled its long-awaited zero-emission Metrodecker EV in 2016, and with its range projected to rise to 200 miles on a single charge within a year the manufacturer has signalled a move away from its previous mid-day charging strategy.
Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, Optare added: ‘After the success of the Optare electric buses currently operating in York, we are thrilled to be trialling the first fully electric Optare double deck in the City. We see this as a breakthrough in public transport and look forward to seeing these vehicles in operation across the country, improving air quality in our towns and cities.”
For more information on York’s Park & Ride visit https://www.itravelyork.info/park-and-ride