Electric buses will be appearing on the streets of North East England for the first time thanks to a successful funding bid by Nexus and Go North East.
Buses minister Nusrat Ghani MP has announced funding for nine full electric zero emission buses which will operate between Newcastle and Gateshead across the Tyne when they enter service.
Philip Meikle, Transport Strategy Director for Nexus, said: “This is a very positive announcement for Gateshead and Newcastle residents, the new electric vehicles will make a big contribution to local ambitions to improve air quality and raise the profile of bus services. We have worked closely with Go North East and local authorities to plan this investment and we look forward to seeing these new buses on our roads soon.”
Go North East's Managing Director Martijn Gilbert said "Buses are a really important part of keeping our towns and cities moving, reducing congestion and improving air quality. We're therefore delighted to receive this funding to help support our investment in the introduction of full electric, zero emission buses that will make travelling by bus in the North East even greener.
“These buses will build on our existing investment which has already seen over 170 low emission buses join our fleet in recent years, as well as an ongoing programme supported by local partners to upgrade the engine emission standards of much of our existing fleet, all further improving the carbon footprint of the 62 million journeys made by our passengers every year. There has never been a better time to switch to using our buses from a cost, environmental and health and wellbeing point of view."
Go North East and Nexus were awarded funding in the latest round of the Government's Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. The scheme helps bus operators and local authorities to adopt the latest green vehicle technologies by assisting with the extra capital cost of the vehicles and setting up depot infrastructure such as re-charging stations.
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 North East England. Overnight electric charging infrastructure will be installed at Go North East's Gateshead Riverside depot, where the buses will be based.
The final details of the chosen route and bus type are now being finalised following the successful bid announcement.
The vehicles, and associated in-depot charging infrastructure, is expected to be live by early 2020.