Oxford tourists can now ‘hop-on’ an electric double-decker bus

Tourists in Oxford can now ‘hop-on’ an open-top electric double-decker bus.

The bus is the first of five open-top City Sightseeing Oxford buses, owned by the Oxford Bus Company, that are being retrofitted to electric.

City Sightseeing Oxford buses operate one hour guided hop-on, hop-off open-top tours of the city and take in Oxford’s best tourist attractions. Each bus is fitted with multi-lingual recorded commentaries in 13 different languages.

The funding for the buses was provided to Oxford City Council from the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

In February 2018, Oxford City Council was awarded £1.7m to retrofit 78 buses to the ultra-low emission Euro 6 standard, and to convert five open-top double-decker buses to electric.

In March 2019, Oxford City Council secured a further £700,000 to upgrade an additional 37 city buses to Euro 6 standard to help reduce toxic air pollution, bringing the total government funding to improve Oxford’s buses to £2.3m, with a total of 115 buses being upgraded. Oxford Bus Company has so far completed 65 of its 71 vehicle upgrades under this programme.

To support the programme, Oxford Bus Company has made an investment of £350,000, including an investment of £80,000 to install the charging equipment for the double-decker sightseeing buses, including an innovative battery storage system to harness the energy produced by their solar panels.

The bus upgrades forms part of the Oxford Bus Company’s strategy to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Phil Southall, City Sightseeing Oxford and Oxford Bus Company managing director said: ‘This is an exciting landmark day in Oxford’s journey towards improving air quality in the city via the introduction of more sustainable modes of transport.

‘We’re proud to deliver the first electric double decker bus in the city in partnership with Oxford City Council. We have always been committed to being at the forefront of the industry on environmental technology innovation and over half of our buses are powered by hybrid technology’

Last week, Oxford’s two councils launched a final consultation for Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ).

The ZEZ, which is expected to be introduced in December, covers a small area of the city centre and will apply to all non-compliant vehicles, including private cars, who will face a £10 charge to enter the zone between 7am and 7pm, rising to £20 from August 2025.

Photo Credit – Oxford Bus Company

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