York launches Britain’s biggest zero emission Park & Ride fleet

Busting some zero emission moves… A Metrodecker bus in York. Photographs: Richard Walker / ImageNorth
30 Jul 2020 @ 4.32 pm
| Transport

An ambitious scheme to build Britain’s biggest zero emission park and ride fleet launched in York today (Thursday 30 July).

After an investment of £9.3m, the first of 21 new all-electric double-deckers enter service on the York Park & Ride network.

The partnership between First York and City of York Council starts with the Askham Bar corridor to the south west of the city.

The full order of Metrodecker EVs, manufactured by Optare in Yorkshire, will be brought into operation this summer.

They will replace existing diesel vehicles and mean York Park & Ride has 33 all-electric buses.     

Each bus saves almost one kilogram of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilometre travelled.

That would save an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year when the 21-bus Metrodecker fleet is complete – based on a total of 80,000 kilometres travelled.

Striking new look

(L-R): Marc Bichtemann, Graham Belgum and Cllr Keith Aspden

These are the first new vehicles to be introduced by First Bus anywhere in the country since the company announced on 8 July its commitment to achieve a zero carbon fleet by 2035.

The vehicles, which herald new-look York Park & Ride branding, feature audio visual ‘next-stop’ technology, USB charging points and wi-fi.

Bus funding and facts

The buses…

– can carry 98 passengers (currently restricted due to social distancing)
– have a range of 160 miles from one overnight charge
– and can operate on the network all day without recharging.

The have been supported with £2.7m funding secured by City of York Council from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

First York has spent £1m upgrading the charging infrastructure at its James Street depot including a new electricity sub-station.

Metrodecker EVs have been developed from prototype by bus manufacturer Optare, and are made at its factory in Sherburn, near Leeds.

Delivery of the fleet of 21 double-deckers is expected to be completed by the end of September.

What they said

Cutting the ribbon, cutting emissions

Council leader Keith Aspden said: “It is excellent to see that York is leading the way nationally with the introduction of the largest zero emission Park & Ride fleet in the country, a key part of our efforts to improve our air quality and more widely, tackle the climate emergency.

“This work builds on the £1.6 million investment already made to deliver York’s Clean Air Zone, the first voluntary Clean Air Zone in the UK. 

“The new buses will play an essential part in delivering our bus-based Clean Air Zone, whilst at the same time providing an enhanced experience for users.”

Deputy leader of the council Andy D’Agorne said: “We are very proud that York is now set to become home to the one of the largest electric bus fleets in the country, serving a Park & Ride system that is already showcased widely as an example to others.

“It has been a challenging time for bus companies as they strive to help us keep our residents and their drivers safe, so we are delighted that even during this difficult time we have been able to progress this project with First York.”

CEO of Optare Graham Belgum said: “We are very proud to continue our ground-breaking partnership with First York and City of York Council. Optare passionately believes in the role of zero emission buses in the future of public transport and we will continue to invest in developing this technology. ”