First is to test a Mellor Sigma 10 battery-electric bus on two local services in Oldham. The trial is part of the operator’s planning and investigation to prepare for the full electrification of its Wallshaw Street depot in the future. First Manchester has chosen to partner with local manufacturer Mellor, based in nearby Rochdale, which is providing its Sigma 10 demonstrator model. The bus, with a total capacity of 70, will operate from 0940 to 1540hrs on the operator’s route 425 between Oldham and Holts and 57 from Oldham to Rushcroft for two weeks.
First Manchester Operations Director Rob Hughes said: “This is an important step in our learning and use of all-electric buses as we prepare for the transition of our fleet here in Oldham away from diesel vehicles. The trial will give us valuable insight into daily running, operational performance and charging requirements of electric buses. We will also be gaining feedback from customers on their experience of zero-emission travel and its benefits including improved air quality and quieter streets that will come with the introduction of electric buses to our fleet.”
Mellor Area Sales Manager Jane Dransfield said: “It’s a pleasure to be working with First Manchester to provide Oldham with its first zero-emission bus. As a local bus builder, we’re showcasing to passengers that the north west is a home of innovation and that we’re continuing the legacy of vehicle manufacturing in the area. We’re excited to see First’s customers enjoying many zero-emission miles aboard our Sigma 10 and wish the team well with their maiden electric vehicle trial.”