Sunderland’s first greener hybrid-engine buses take to the city’s streets from Friday, 14th October on the new Sunderland Connect route 700.
The Optare Solo SR hybrid vehicles will be launched at Park Lane Interchange by Councillor James Blackburn, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Attractive and Inclusive City.
He will join partners in putting together a giant jigsaw showing the different parts of the city the regular service now connects.
Sunderland Connect was launched last month and has already proved a huge success with local residents, students and visitors to the city. Passenger numbers have risen to almost 6,000 per week in the short time since the service started.
The route, which links major city centre attractions and amenities will operate with hybrid buses as standard to keep down emissions and fuel consumption.
Cllr Blackburn said: “This service assists with delivering a number of the smart and sustainable objectives of the Sunderland Economic Masterplan, and the achievement of key aims for the economy of Sunderland.
“The benefits of using hybrid vehicles as opposed to conventional diesel include a lower fuel consumption, which makes the bus a cleaner service and minimises carbon dioxide and particle emissions.
“We are delighted to work in partnership with Nexus and Sunderland University to launch the new buses.”
University of Sunderland Vice Chancellor Peter Fidler said: “We are delighted to be part of this new service which has already proved hugely popular with our students and staff since its launch last month.
“The feedback so far has been incredibly positive with passenger numbers exceeding 4,000 per week and it is helping us to greatly improve our inter-campus travel.
“The low carbon technology used to provide the service was an important factor for us to enter into this partnership which will contribute further toward the great advances the University is making in reducing our carbon footprint.”
Bernard Garner, Director General of Nexus, said: “Sunderland Connect has proved popular from the word go and is already well-established as the best way to get across and around the city centre.
“With the launch of new hybrid vehicles passengers can also be reassured they are making a greener journey, as well as a quick and convenient one.”
The new service features eye-catching buses running every 30 minutes on a circular route.
The full route runs from Park Lane interchange via the University’s City Campus on Chester Road, Royal Hospital and Hylton Road to student halls in Millfield.
It crosses the Wearmouth Bridge, stopping at the St Peter’s Metro Station, before passing the Stadium of Light and Aquatic Centre, continuing to the National Glass Centre and St Peter’s Campus.