Stagecoach launches first fully-electric city network in Inverness

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From left: Stagecoach Highlands Managing Director David Beaton; Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth; Head of Yutong UK Ian Downie; Stagecoach Regional Director for Scotland Sam Greer; and Stagecoach Highlands Chief Engineer David Simpson. STAGECOACH

A £40m investment in new vehicles and infrastructure will have been made in the Highland city by end of 2023

Stagecoach has celebrated the official launch of what it believes is the UKs first fully-electric city bus network in Inverness. The company was joined by Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth MSP to mark the occasion. A fleet of 25 zero-emission Yutong E10 buses are now operating on all of the company’s city centre services. The vehicles, which can operate a full day’s service on a single charge, feature USB charging points at each seat, LED interior lights and contactless payment facilities.

The £10.8m investment was supported by the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB). Charging infrastructure was installed at the Inverness depot ahead of the launch and Stagecoach says it uses 100% renewable electricity across the business. The operator plans to launch two further fully-electric city bus networks in Perth and Dunfermline in the coming months.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “With this significant introduction of 25 new electric buses, Stagecoach is showing a welcome commitment to help meet Scotland’s world leading climate change targets. I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to support the ambitions of Stagecoach in Inverness, as part of our Mission Zero for Transport, by providing £5.8 million through our Scottish Zero Emission Bus Scheme.

“In addition to better air quality and reduced noise pollution across the city, these modern zero-emission buses will offer an improved customer experience and help more people in Inverness to choose bus.”

Stagecoach Highlands Managing Director David Beaton said, “I am incredibly proud to be able to say that we’re now operating the UK’s first fully-electric city bus network here in Inverness. It is a challenging time for the industry, and we still have some way to go, but we’re absolutely committed to improving public transport for our customers across the Highlands.”

Head of Yutong at Pelican Bus & Coach which supplied the buses Ian Downie said: “We are honoured that Stagecoach have selected our market leading single-deckers for the UK’s first fully electric city bus network. Our tried, tested and proven product will bring a new standard for public transport due to its customer centric features, such as full air-conditioning.”

Between 2021 and 2022, Stagecoach says it helped customers across the UK avoid producing nearly 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions by providing them with more sustainable travel compared to taking the car, and that it is on target for a zero-emission UK bus fleet by 2035. The operator has introduced new electric buses across many parts of the country, including one of Europe’s biggest investments in e-buses in Manchester. A further 159 new electric buses will join its fleets in 2023, including those in Inverness, bringing the total to 343.

In the Highlands, Stagecoach will also shortly take delivery of 40 new Euro VI vehicles for Aviemore and Tain to further renew the fleet and reduce carbon emissions on longer distance routes, as part of an ongoing investment into improving public transport in the area, but where electric operation is not yet feasible. Stagecoach Highlands also confirmed that its airport service will now operate via the new Inverness Airport railway station, providing a link for rail passengers to the somewhat distant airport terminal.