York launches trial of electric double-decker bus

City of York council and public transport provider First York have begun a trial of an electric double-decker bus on routes within the city, aimed at cutting air pollution emissions.

Representatives from the local authority, First York and bus manufacturer Optare welcomed the arrival of the first “Metrodecker EV” in York yesterday (14 August), which will be trialled on the York Park & Ride network and selected city routes over the next month.

Optare has manufactured the ‘Metrodecker EV’ (Picture: Richard Walker)

The bus joins a fleet of electric singe-decker buses already operating on the city’s Park & Ride system (see airqualitynews.com story).

The city council claims it is the first authority outside of London to trial a fully electric double-decker bus.

According to the council the zero-emission, fully-electric bus has the capacity to carry 99 passengers and has a range of nearly 150 miles from one overnight charge.

Trial

Speaking about the trial, Councillor Ian Gillies, executive member for transport at City of York council, said: “I’m delighted to welcome this new addition to York’s green public transport fleet. There will be at least three electric double-deckers among the 14 electric buses on our Park & Ride routes.

“These Park & Ride buses will play a major role in continuing to improve the air quality in York, as well as giving an increasing number of passengers a safe, quick journey across the city.”

Marc Bichtemann, managing director at First York, added: “This is another milestone to celebrate in what is already a thriving Park & Ride scheme in York. As one of the UK’s major bus operators, we understand the vital role we play in helping to solve the air quality challenge facing the country and I’m thrilled to welcome the trial of the future of bus travel to York today.”

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, said: “This innovation is very welcome to improve air quality in York. The bus was on display at the One Planet York Conference in June and it is great to see locally built buses on the streets of York.”

Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, Optare added:”After the success of the Optare electric buses currently operating in York, we are thrilled to be trialling the first fully electric Optare double deck in the City. We see this as a breakthrough in public transport and look forward to seeing these vehicles in operation across the country, improving air quality in our towns and cities.”

Policies

Last month the council reported that falling concentrations in nitrogen dioxide emissions in two areas of the city over a six-year period could lead to the withdrawal of two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) (see airqualitynews.com story).

York has enacted a number of policies through its Low Emission Strategy aimed at reducing emissions. This includes conversion of taxis from diesel to electric hybrids through an incentive scheme a new licensing policy specifying minimum emission standards for new or replacement taxis.

The council has also overseen the retrofit for an electric double-decker sightseeing bus with plans to convert a further five diesel buses to full electric drive.