Further £11.2m to be invested in bus depot

First Bus and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) have revealed a further £11.2m investment in the operator’s Bramley depot, which will make half the fleet zero emission before the end of 2024.

WYCA with support from First Bus have been successful in securing £3.4m in a “variation request” from the Department for Transport (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) project.

First Bus is investing £7.8m which will introduce an additional 22 double-decker electric buses (EV), increasing the total at the depot to 79.

The additional funding boost comes only two months after the depot, which has been transformed with the capacity to operate a fully electric fleet from earlier ZEBRA funding and investment totalling £29m, was celebrated by First Bus and senior members from WYCA.

Deputy chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, Councillor Peter Carlill, said: “These state-of-the-art electric buses will help West Yorkshire towards its goal of becoming a net zero economy by 2038, as well as encouraging more people to use public transport.

“We are constantly working to introduce more zero-emission buses to the region’s fleet – boosting air quality, improving public transport and helping tackle the climate emergency.

“This investment will help us build a greener and better-connected West Yorkshire.”

Megan Hope, operations director of First Bus in North & West Yorkshire, said: “This will play an important part in skilled green jobs for the future and supporting the wider community.

“It is yet more evidence of our continuing successful partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority in bringing major improvements to bus services, supporting a shared ambition for a net-zero transport system and reducing carbon emissions in the city.”

Councillors for the Bramley and Stanningley Ward, Tom Hinchcliffe and Kevin Ritchie visited the depot, which is now home to the largest fleet of zero emission buses in West Yorkshire.

They said: “We welcome this investment in the Bramley depot and are really pleased to see more electric buses on our streets.

“Buses remain the most used form of public transport and so any change to make them more environmentally friendly has a significant impact on reaching our city’s climate targets and providing the public transport network our residents deserve.

“We welcome the support that the WYCA mayor has done in helping to secure this funding and making positive change for our local area.”

The current fleet of 57 electric buses – 32 single-decker GB Kite Electroliners 25 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers – entered service in March. The buses are manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland.

Each bus saves around 75 tonnes of CO2e a year, making a total of 4,275 equivalent tonnes of carbon annually.