First switches on in Leeds

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From left: Kayleigh Ingham (Commercial Director of First Bus North & West Yorkshire), Andrew Cullen, Cllr Peter Carlill and Megan Hope (Operations Director at First Bus North & West Yorkshire) switch on the operator’s new fleet of zero-emission buses, which carry its new standard grey and purple livery. FIRST BUS

The £29m electrification of First’s Bramley depot in Leeds has been completed, with 57 new zero-emission buses entering service by the spring

First Bus is introducing the largest fleet of zero-emission buses in West Yorkshire following the completion of work at its Bramley depot. The operator made the announcement on Tuesday 5 March as directors joined with senior members and officials from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to ‘switch on’ electrification of the Bramley depot in Leeds.

The £29m transformation of the depot has been achieved with £16.4m investment by First Bus and further funding of £12.6m secured in partnership with WYCA from the Department for Transport’s ZEBRA scheme. A fleet of 57 new electric buses has already started to be delivered, with deliveries due to be completed by the end of March.

Andrew Cullen, Managing Director of the First’s North and West Yorkshire business, said: “Today marks another major step in the First Bus strategy to expand more zero-emission buses into communities in West Yorkshire and the country, as part of our mission to reach a zero emission UK bus fleet by 2035. This is the beginning of a new future for the Bramley depot and part of our green transport revolution in Leeds.

“We’re proud to unveil these latest zero-emission buses and are confident they will appeal to our customers and attract more people to consider bus travel by realising the real impact this has in reducing congestion, creating cleaner air and supporting the wider West Yorkshire economy. It is real evidence of our continuing successful partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority in bringing major improvements to bus services, supporting a shared ambition for a net-zero transport system and reducing carbon emissions in the city.”

A third of the Bramley fleet will be zero-emission by the end of March, with each bus saving an estimated 60 tonnes of carbon a year. Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Cllr Peter Carlill added: “Work to electrify the Bramley bus depot is a huge step forward for the Combined Authority’s vision of a green, zero-emission bus system for West Yorkshire. Having more of these buses on our roads will benefit areas affected by low air quality, as well as helping us to achieve our target of becoming a net zero carbon region by 2038.

“It will encourage more people to use public transport, creating a greener and better-connected West Yorkshire.”

The buses are being supported by Heliox Rapid 150kW chargers which are capable of fully charging a bus in 2.5 hours. The full fleet of 32 single-deck GB Kite Electroliners has already been delivered, with the first of 25 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers arriving at the start of March.