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Electric bus trial begins in Milton Keynes

Diesel buses replaced with electric vehicles for feasibility trial in Buckinghamshire town

Public transport operator Arriva has launched an electric bus trial in the Buckinghamshire town of Milton Keynes, in order to test whether electric powered buses can perform on a par with their diesel counterparts.

Eight electric buses will run across a route between Bletchley and Wolverton over a period of five years, as part of the project, which will assess the technical and commercial viability of running the vehicles.

Buses are charged via two wireless electric charge points

Buses are charged via two wireless electric charge points

The vehicles are able to run seventeen hours a day, as they can be recharged wirelessly throughout the day. Buses can be parked over an electrical charging plate to refuel, and can replenish around two thirds of the consumed over a fifteen-mile route in around ten minutes.

Only two wireless charging points are needed to service all eight buses, which will charge in the time scheduled for driver breaks.

Arriva predicts that the vehicles will also have significant benefits for air quality along the route, with a five tonne per year reduction of particulate and noxious tailpipe emissions being achieved.

Trial

The trial is being supported by Milton Keynes borough council and the Department for Transport and also involves fleet management firm eFleet Integrated Service Ltd and consulting engineers Arup.

Launching the trial last week (January 10), minister of state for transport Baroness Kramer, said: “I am delighted to be here in Milton Keynes at the launch of the first electric wirelessly-charged buses in the UK. These ultra low emission buses will offer the travelling public a quieter, smoother journey as well as cutting carbon and improving air quality. This project represents a fantastic opportunity to learn more about extending the future capability and rollout of electric buses.â€?

Paul Adcock, area managing director for Arriva, said: “We are very excited to be involved in this project and our team in Milton Keynes is especially proud to have been chosen. We look forward to welcoming our customers on board and will be working very hard to promote the environmental benefits of the vehicles to attracting more people to use them.â€?

A new timetable for buses will be implemented on the route by January 19.

Commenting on the scheme, councillor Andrew Geary, leader of Milton Keynes council, said: “Bus passengers in Milton Keynes will now be able to enjoy quieter, cleaner journeys on route seven. A shift to greener modes of transport benefits the whole city and could in turn provide the template for other councils to use. Route seven carries nearly 800,000 passengers each year, so it’s the perfect way to really put electric buses through their paces.â€?

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