£18m invested in fleet of electric buses

First Bus has placed an order for 44 Electric Vehicle (EV) buses for York with UK manufacturer Wrightbus.

It has used the funding secured by City of York Council from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) funding scheme.

Earlier in 2022, the council was successful in securing the second largest funding allocation in the country from the DfT to deliver new electric buses.

First Bus is now investing £10.2m in the new vehicles, with a further £8.4m from the DfT grant used to complete the electric fleet project. The money will be spent on 24 single-decker and 20 double-decker buses.

The first vehicles are expected to arrive in 2023. The consignment of vehicles destined for First Bus in York is part of the largest ever UK EV bus order outside London.

The project will be completed over the course of the next two years. York will receive 24 single deck GB Kite Electroliners and 20 Double Deck StreetDecks.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader and executive member for transport at City of York Council, said: “These buses represent a great step towards providing clean, zero emission public transport across the city.

“This is fundamental to achieving the city’s carbon reduction goals, and clean air policy.

“This significant investment will encourage greater use of the bus network, providing safe, convenient and sustainable bus services to residents, commuters and visitors.”

“Predicted CO2 savings from the new buses are almost 2,700 tonnes a year.”

Cllr Paula Widdowson, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, said: “We have already gone to great lengths to promote sustainable travel and hold bold ambitions for reducing carbon and taking steps to tackle climate change.

“In partnership with First York, we already have introduced 21 double-decker electric buses on the Park and Ride fleet, and 12 original single deck vehicles, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 in the city.”

Ian Humphreys, managing director of First York, said: “This multi-million pound order is further evidence of our commitment to net-zero carbon transport and sets us on a clear path to full electrification of our bus fleet in York.

“It builds on our shared ambition with City of York Council to significantly reduce carbon and other particulate emissions and create cleaner air in the city.”

Ben Werth, chief commercial officer at Wrightbus, added: “First Bus, like us, is consistently on the forefront of new and exciting technology and at the forefront of zero- and low-emission travel.

“All of the buses – the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV, which is the world’s most efficient double decker battery-electric bus – will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in NI, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”