Go-Ahead has placed a long-anticipated order for 20 Wrightbus GB Kite Hydroliner single-deckers for its Metrobus subsidiary’s Fastway BRT network around Crawley, Redhill and Gatwick Airport. They will enter service from June 2022 and represent the group’s first venture into hydrogen power.
Part funding for the purchase has come from the Department for Transport’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme and the European Union’s JIVE2 project. Go-Ahead is pursuing what it describes as “a second tranche of a further 34,” which if completed has the potential to create Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen fuel cell-electric buses.
Metrobus and Brighton and Hove Managing Director Martin Harris says that hydrogen power “provides the most efficient replacement” for those fleets’ diesel buses thanks to challenging terrain, 24hr operation and duty cycles that cover up to 370 miles per day. The GB Kite Hydroliner can cover up to 640 miles between refuelling, Wrightbus announced at the model’s launch.
Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive David Brown adds: “This is a significant milestone for Go-Ahead as we work towards our goal of a zero-emission fleet by 2035. These buses will be clean, green and will provide a comfortable journey for passengers.
“New technology is only one piece of the puzzle, though, in addressing climate change. We also need to encourage a large-scale change in behaviour by persuading people to switch from cars to walking, cycling and public transport.” The Metrobus GB Kite Hydroliners for Fastway will complement almost 300 battery-electric buses in Go-Ahead’s fleet nationwide.
Wrightbus Executive Chairman Jo Bamford has welcomed the order. He adds that the StreetDeck Hydroliner hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers that are in service with other operators have already prevented 1m kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.