The diesel engine’s gone, replaced by a battery: but how’s the ride? Amelia Crawford hopped aboard to find out
Like any regular bus goers, we were awaiting the familiar sound of loud, wheezy old air brakes being released as the driver pulled out to start another York City Sightseeing tour.
The absence of this noisy start was the first indication that this was no ordinary tour bus.
Powered by a massive battery pack, the bus is almost noiseless – a fact appreciated both the people on board and the pedestrians passing by.
The smooth and quiet journey enabled the tour guide to be heard perfectly. And I was able to talk to the passenger on the seat next to me without either of us needing to raise our voices above the rumble of the diesel engine.
City of York Council is heading in the right direction by commissioning a vehicle which cuts noise, eliminates pollution, increases efficiency – all adding up to a nicer, cleaner city centre.
Although a tour bus is never expected to race through our ancient streets, the battery-powered motor can reach up to 70mph. On most journeys it will run at a more comfortable and relaxing 20mph.
The bus runs nine of the year. On a dry day, the bus offers the perfect insight into just how beautiful York is.
Our guide educated us on the city’s famous landmarks without ever having to strain his vocal cords.
Plans for the next electric buses are already underway, as five of the other tour vehicles are over 30 years old. Soon all of York’s tourists could be gliding about the city in these hush buses.