THE biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the UK has been launched in York.
The first of 21 new all-electric double-deckers enter service on the York Park & Ride network, a partnership between First York and City of York Council, starting 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, replacing existing diesel vehicles in an investment totalling £9.3 million and expanding the fully electric fleet on York Park & Ride to 33 buses.
These are the first new vehicles to be introduced by First Bus anywhere in the country since the company announced on July 8th its commitment to achieve a zero carbon fleet by 2035.
Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First York, said: "We’re proud to be the operator of the biggest zero emission park and ride fleet in the country as we continue to partner with City of York Council to improve air quality in York.
“This is an important stage in our shared ambition to expand sustainable transport in the city. We are determined to attract more customers to using buses and realising the real impact this has in reducing congestion, creating cleaner air and supporting the local economy, not least as York continues its revival from the pandemic.”
The buses can carry 98 passengers (currently restricted due to social distancing) and have a range of 160 miles from one overnight charge, which means they can operate on the network all day without recharging.
Optare issued a press release saying "We were thrilled to be with First York and the City of York Council to help celebrate this landmark event.
We have worked with First York and the City of York Council since 2014 when we introduced the battery electric Versa running on a Park and Ride service.
In 2014, the Versa was the state-of-the-art electric single deck with a range of 70 miles. We have been developing the product alongside York in a successful operation and over the last 6 years, those buses have now completed over 1 million miles.
Technology does not stand still, and we see the future of public transport in lightweight, efficient zero emission battery electric buses.
Since 2014 there have been changes in battery technology and we introduced the Metrodecker EV in 2016.
The team in York were the initial operators of the Metrodecker and the trial was very successful. It proved the concept of the bus as a means of delivering very high zero emission passenger loading to support further growth of Park & Ride.
The first generation of the Metrodecker EV had a winter range of 120 miles. With rapid changes in electric drive technology, by 2018 we were able to offer the same bus at the same price with a 160-mile range and this is the bus that you see today. Again, York were the first to operate this bus in service.
This bus has lots of unique features which were created alongside the team at First York. We hope these will delight customers on Park & Ride for many years to come and hope these buses are the next step on the road to York’s zero emission future".