Go North East, the region’s largest bus company, is undertaking a trial of a full electric Optare MetroCity single deck bus on its services around Newcastle and Gateshead, including the Saltwell Park 53 and 54, CityLink 57 and Quaylink Q3.
This trial follows on from the company’s announcement last year of an investment in nine full electric buses from the world’s largest electric bus manufacturer, Yutong, through its UK agent, Castleford-based Pelican Bus and Coach.
The new electric buses, with an investment figure of £2 million, have been supported by top up funding from the Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Fund and are set to arrive this year, with a view to purchasing more in the future.
Go North East, in partnership with Nexus, was awarded the funding which helps support an element of the additional capital cost of electric buses and depot charging infrastructure.
The buses will form a key part of ongoing efforts to improve air quality and will be the first latest generation full electric buses capable of all-day service to operate in the North East.
Whilst Go North East has already placed an order for nine electric buses, the bus operator is fully committed to improving air quality and has already started to extensively trial various electric bus types as the technology continues to evolve, with more expected to follow ahead of similar investment on other routes.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East, said: “Buses play a vital role in keeping our towns and cities moving, and at Go North East we’re committed to improving the service we offer to help reduce congestion and, most importantly, improve air quality.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how clean the air can be with fewer polluting vehicles on the road and public transport has an important role to play in taking inefficient single occupancy cars off the road by providing more green travel choices.
“We’re now underway with our next phase of extensive electric bus trials, which may see us add to the existing nine we have on order. It is great to have the Optare MetroCity EV on trial, a British built product from a North East of England manufacturer.
“170 low emission buses have also joined our fleet in recent years and there are more on the way and we are committed to ensuring that our buses provide a clean, safe and efficient way of getting around our region as the economy recovers.”