Cllr Ieronimo and Hull leader Cllr Mike Ross. Credit: Hull CC

Hull signs off electric bus rollout

The city council’s cabinet has approved the purchase of 40 electric buses and allocated £2m for charging infrastructure, following a successful bid to government.

The infrastructure will be usable for local bus operators and the council’s own fleet of passenger vehicles.

In December 2023, the council, alongside Stagecoach, East Yorkshire Buses and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, submitted a joint bid to the Government’s ZEBRA2 (zero emission bus regional areas) scheme and was awarded nearly £6m in March.

Although buses make up a small proportion of overall emissions, transport is now the UK’s largest emitter of carbon, with over 200 diesel buses regularly operating in Hull.

Cabinet approval is an important milestone and paves the way for replacing part of both Stagecoach and East Yorkshire Buses’ existing fleets, operating on public routes in the city, with fully electric buses, which run on rechargeable batteries and can have a range of up to several hundred miles.

The buses are charged externally, usually at the depot on a plug, after the end of service and, unlike diesel buses, produce no carbon emissions or nitrogen oxides, so can also contribute to improved air quality as well as combating climate change.

Electric buses are also quieter, providing a smoother ride, and are easier to maintain.

Cllr Mark Ieronimo, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation, roads and highways at Hull City Council, said: “As a council, we are committed achieving net zero by 2045.

“These new electric buses will play an important part in combatting climate change by replacing parts of the existing diesel fleet on 16 of the 46 routes in the city.

“Electric buses are greener and cleaner and will have a transformative impact on public transport throughout the city.

“There are currently no electric or hybrid buses operating on public bus services in Hull so, in addition to the environmental benefits, the new vehicles will have a wider impact by changing how our residents, and visitors to the city, see buses and help encourage, and increase, passenger demand.

“The council’s capital investment towards infrastructure costs will act as a springboard for both bus operators to introduce electric buses in the city and support them to make future investments in fleet replacement.”

The move reflects a wider direction of travel in Yorkshire and nationally: last week it was announced that Rotherham will be serviced by a fleet of electric buses following a deal between Stagecoach and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Ben Gilligan, managing director of East Yorkshire Buses, said: “The news that we have funding to bring zero emission buses to Hull is a fantastic for our city and will make a real difference to the quality of the local environment due to the elimination of tailpipe emissions and reduced noise. This is a step change for the users of buses and will encourage more people to make the switch to sustainable transport modes.”

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