Leeds has opened its third park and ride site, at Stourton to the south of the city and served by a fleet of battery-electric ADL double-deckers operated by First Leeds, as part of efforts by West Yorkshire Combined Authority to decarbonise the transport sector and to reduce congestion and commuting times.
The £38.5 million project is the UK’s first to be solar-powered, with solar panels and a battery energy storage system powering 26 electric vehicle charging stations meaning that drivers of electric cars can help cut congestion in the city centre whilst charging their vehicles for the return trip. The system will be used by zero-emission buses that will serve the site every ten minutes, operated by First West Yorkshire under a contract awarded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
Besides the EV charging points, the site will also provide secure cycle storage, 1,200 vehicle spaces, and will cater for drivers travelling to and from the city centre from the south-east area of Leeds, being easily accessible from the M1 and M62.
The project is part of the £270 million Connecting Leeds programme delivered by WYCA and Leeds City Council. By using sustainable solar energy to charge buses, it is expected to help reduce transport costs for users and is part of a move by the council to encourage the use of smart public transport to reduce the environmental impact of the transport sector.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, commented: “Being able to launch the UK’s first solar-powered park and ride is a massive achievement for Leeds and a major boost to both the local environment, economy, and the city’s public transport infrastructure. This is step forward in tackling the climate emergency and our wider aim of transforming the Leeds City Region into a net-zero carbon economy by 2038.“