Transport operator Stagecoach is set to introduce nine new fully electric, zero emission buses on its Guildford Park & Ride services in the new year.
Working in partnership with Surrey County Council, the investment in electric buses, worth over £3million, will be a first of its kind in the area.
The new electric single decker buses, built by Guildford based manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), will hit the roads in January 2019.
The BYD ADL Enviro200EV 10.8m electric buses have a range of up to 150 miles, and have a capacity for up to 36 passengers and one wheelchair user. Customers are also able to take advantage of free Wifi and USB charging which are featured onboard.
Edward Hodgson, managing director for Stagecoach South said: “This is such an exciting moment for us as we introduce the first fleet of fully electric buses for the south of England and this marks a huge step forward for greener travel in the Guildford area. Stagecoach is committed to improving air quality across the country and making bus travel the safest and cleanest travel option.
Nearly one million passenger journeys are made on Guildford’s Park & Ride service every year. As well as reducing congestion on Guildford’s main roads in and out of the town, the new fully-electric buses will replace existing diesel buses further improving air quality in Guildford.
Edward continues: “I hope that this latest news will encourage more people who are continuing to drive into the town centre, to try using the Guildford Park & Ride network. It’s so easy to Park & Ride and from just £1.40 per day it’s much cheaper than using a town centre car park. There are four conveniently located park & ride sites so from whichever direction you’re approaching Guildford, there’s a Park & Ride site near you.”
Stagecoach worked in partnership with Surrey County Council to secure government funding from the green transport pot for the new electric bus fleet, as the government seeks to bolster low emission public transport services and cut emissions.
Surrey County Council cabinet member for environment Mike Goodman said: “This is fantastic news for Guildford. Not only will the new park and ride fleet of buses be smoother and quieter, they will be much better for the environment while also bringing an economic boost to the county because local company Alexander Dennis is building them and using them will reduce congestion.
“Improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions is a key priority for us and introducing Surrey’s first electric buses through securing £1.5 million in funding and Stagecoach’s generous contribution is just one piece of the jigsaw - we’ve also just outlined plans to help establish a comprehensive network of electric charging points and launched a drive to reduce pollution around schools.”
The vehicles will be powered via an innovative energy storage system installed at the Peasmarsh depot site avoiding the need for time-consuming and costly grid upgrades. Built by the UK based Zenobé Energy Ltd, this technology includes a system of batteries that are charged during the day by the existing grid infrastructure which then, in turn charge, the buses whilst they are parked overnight.
Steven Meersman, co-founder of Zenobe Energy Ltd. said “We are excited about working with Stagecoach South on this project, the first of its kind for the UK. Our flexible battery solution demonstrates how existing infrastructure and batteries together can be rapidly installed and accelerate the cost-effective adoption of zero emission vehicles across the UK”
Welcoming the new fleet of buses Cllr Keith Taylor, chairman of the Guildford joint committee who said: “The Park and Ride service in Guildford has always been a good example of cooperation between the Borough and County Councils and both have delegated decisions relating to it to the joint committee. We are delighted that the new electric buses provided by Stagecoach will soon be on the roads, which will make taking the Park and Ride into Guildford an even cleaner, greener option. It’s easy to park your car at one of our four Park and Ride sites around the borough where you can take the bus for an easy journey into town at low cost. It’s also great news that the buses are being built by a local company, Alexander Dennis. We would like to see more people moving away from using private cars to public transport, cycling and walking and taking the Park and Ride is a great way to help improve traffic and air quality in the borough.”
Stagecoach has been running the Guildford Park & Ride services since 2013.