A fleet of all-electric buses, which will make Harrogate the first low emission bus town in the country, have been officially unveiled.
The Transdev-led initiative is a joint investment of almost £4 million, bringing eight new high-tech single deck buses to the town.
The project has made the town a UK leader, after the operator became the only bus firm in Yorkshire to win funding of £2.25 million from the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme.
Harrogate Bus Company CEO, Alex Hornby, said: “We’re immensely proud to be first in the UK to introduce these amazing new buses and in the process, achieve our vision of creating
Britain’s first Low Emission Bus Town right here in Harrogate.”
From next month, the new buses will begin serving passengers on three central routes in Harrogate, operating under the name ‘Harrogate Electrics’.
Parliamentary Under Secretary for Transport, Nusrat Ghani MP and Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, will be given a preview of the new vehicles today (July 26).
The bus company and its parent, Transdev, have worked closely with Harrogate Borough and North Yorkshire County Councils and Northern Powergrid to install the infrastructure for the new buses.
Charging masts are in place above three departure stands in Harrogate Bus Station, each fitted with a built-in transformer which converts uprated power and delivers it via a pantograph on the roof of the bus.
Mr Hornby said: “Each bus will receive a rapid power charge at the bus station as customers board the vehicle, providing enough power from a seven minute charge to complete 35 miles – which is ample to support the three routes on Harrogate’s urban bus network where these buses will run.”
Each bus will also receive an overnight charge at the depot every two days to maintain peak performance.
Transdev itself is investing £1.7 million in the project, alongside the Department for Transport funding.
The company has even worked closely with manufacturer, Volvo, to pack the fleet with customer-friendly features including ‘countdown to departure’ destination displays, audio-visual next stop announcements, USB at seat power points, Wi-Fi and wireless mobile device charging.
Mr Hornby said: “It’s the technology which powers these new buses – using ‘opportunity charging’ via masts on three departure stands in Harrogate Bus Station – which really sets these buses apart from anything seen before in this country.
“It’s a time of excitement and anticipation at our depot. Drivers are looking forward to driving them, and our expert team of engineers are preparing them for service.”