Arriva launches electric fleet in Leicester

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The new electric buses wear the same green as those previously introduced in the city by other operators, with a flash of Arriva turquoise in its house style. ARRIVA

The city’s electric bus fleet is growing again, this time with Arriva as it becomes the latest operator to join the Greenlines network

Arriva has launched the first of its fleet of 24 new electric double-decker buses in Leicester. Its new fleet of Wrightbus StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers are scheduled to roll out onto the streets of the city in October, and will be the city’s first electric double-deckers as well as being Arriva’s first electric double-deckers outside London. They have been built to ‘low-bridge’ specification, the first of Wrightbus’ double-decker electric buses built to this lower height.

The first of the zero-emission vehicles was delivered in September for driver-training and so far Arriva says around 50 of its drivers have been trained on the type, ready to deliver what it called a ‘landmark moment’ for the city’s transport network.

The operator and the local authority made a successful joint bid through the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme to unlock the £11 million worth of green investment required to purchase new buses, each of which can carry around 90 passengers, and has a claimed range of around 200 miles and a recharge time of 2 hours 45 minutes. The vehicles also have digital customer information screens and USB charging points.

Arriva says the boost in electric buses marks a giant step in its commitment to developing and decarbonising its fleet in Leicester and builds on the millions of pounds the operator has already invested in upgrading its entire Leicester fleet to the latest Euro VI ultra-low emissions standards.

Work is being completed at its Thurmaston depot to install chargers and infrastructure for the battery-electric fleet, and training for other staff including engineers is ongoing. Alistair Hands, Managing Director for Arriva in Leicester, said: “Welcoming the new Wrightbus electric fleet into Leicester is a game-changing moment in our continued drive to operating a greener, decarbonised bus network. We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Wrightbus and Leicester City Council to have been able to make this happen.

“It’s our aim to make Arriva UK Bus the best choice for passengers and we know our customers value our progressive attitude towards decarbonising public transport. We care passionately about the environment and we’re showing that we’re doing the right thing for the planet and our customers.”

CEO of Wrightbus Jean-Marc Gales said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Arriva once again in accelerating its investment in the electrification of its bus fleet and in the drive to zero-emission public transport in the industry. This is another significant deal for Wrightbus as we remain at the forefront of new and exciting technology.

“All of the buses will be built in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, lending further support to the wider regional economy and allowing us to create green jobs as we continue in our growth.”

Arriva will be showcasing the new fleet as part of the Bus Centre of Excellence ‘Supporting Generation Bus’ conference in Leicester on November 6 and 7, where it will be speaking on the successful partnership with Leicester City Council and how the Arriva Zero Emission Institute can support local transport authorities on the road to net zero.