Transport Minister Baroness Vere examines progress on First York’s zero carbon bus fleet

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Baroness Vere with bus at Askham Bar
Baroness Vere (centre) with Marc Bichtemann (left), Managing Director of First York, Cllr Paula Widdowson and Cllr Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader of City of York Council.

Transport Minister Baroness Vere has completed a visit to York to see progress towards what is believed to become the country’s biggest zero-emission park and ride bus fleet.

Senior Directors of First Bus and the Deputy Leader of City of York Council demonstrated the effectiveness of local authority and operator partnerships, technology choices and funding models in the future of zero-emission bus travel.

The Minister was also demonstrated the coronavirus COVID-19 safer travel measures put in place.

This summer, First launched its Metrodecker EV double-deckers (of which there are now nine in service from a total of 21 anticipated by the end of October) thanks to a £9.3m investment. The buses are built by Optare and supported by City of York Council and the Department for Transport’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles. York is one of several cities which have placed a bid to become the UK’s first all-electric bus town.

With all vehicles in service, First believes it will have the largest zero-emission park and ride service in the country, saving 1.6m kg of CO2 emissions every year (calculated on a total of 80,000km travelled annually). First has committed to achieving a net zero carbon fleet by 2035.

Says Ms. Vere: “It’s been excellent to be in York today to discuss the progress being made in growing the number of zero-emission buses on our transport network.

“Decarbonising transport is a key goal for government, so it’s encouraging not only to see First investing in zero-emission technology, but also to hear about the benefits it is bringing to local communities.”

First York Managing Director Marc Bichtemann adds: “We were delighted the Minister was keen to see our zero-emission fleet in action and discover at first hand the benefits this is bringing to York in improving air quality and reducing congestion.”