York bids to become the UK’s first fully electric bus city

An electric bus being charged at Poppleton Park&Ride. Photograph: jorair.co.uk
12 Jun 2020 @ 12.51 pm
| Environment

York is hoping to be Britain’s first city with all electric buses.

City of York Council has applied to the Department of Transport for funding to deliver Britain’s first fully electric bus town. 

The scheme would see the entire bus fleet of York changed over to vehicles that are fully electric – or capable of operating in electric, zero-emission mode, which aims to reduce emissions and clean up the air in communities. 

York has a long-established electric vehicle programme, designed to tackle poor air quality. It was one of the first cities in the UK to introduce large numbers of electric buses in 2014. 

A further 21 new electric double decker buses will join its network to give York one of the largest fleets of electric buses in the country. 

The council is also looking to purchase two fully electric refuse collection vehicles and have invested extensively in the city’s charging infrastructure, both at car parks and at the three proposed hyper hubs.

Ambitious plans

Keith Aspden on an electric bus with former Lib Dem leader Vince Cable

Andrew McGuinness of the Confederation of Passenger Transport said York’s national funding bid could provide a step change in air quality and congestion.

“The York Quality Bus Partnership, involving all of York’s bus operators and City of York Council, has ambitious plans to improve air quality and this bid will help to improve the quality of life for York’s residents.

“By providing high quality, efficient and clean bus services, we can encourage more people to use the bus and reduce congestion supporting the economy of York.”

What they said:

Council leader Keith Aspden: “We have an ambitious electric vehicle programme for the city, as part of our efforts to improve air quality and address the climate emergency and will continue to work with our partners to make progress in this area.”

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, executive member for transport, said: “We are committed to improving the air quality in the city and reducing greenhouse gas emissions as we move towards achieving zero carbon by 2030.  Achieving an entirely electric bus fleet would be an important step towards our objectives.”

Cllr Danny Myers, leader of York Labour Group, said: “Creating a sustainable and integrated transport system is integral to ensure that York fulfils its ambition for being the UK’s first carbon neutral city. We have long advocated for this, and believe that York lends itself to being prioritised for funding to build a sustainable bus network.”

Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First York, said: “We fully support this bid and its benefits to the future of York. We have much experience of operating electric buses in the city and working in partnership with stakeholders across York to promote sustainable travel in the city.”