Councils and bus operators join forces to demonstrate electric buses

Hull City Council, in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the region’s two main bus operators, East Yorkshire Buses and Stagecoach, will be holding two public engagement events on Wednesday 29 November 2023 to demonstrate electric buses.

Kerry Ryan, head of transport and traffic management at Hull City Council, and Councillor Mark Ieronimo, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation, roads and highways at Hull City Council, with a zero-emission, fully electric, single-deck Volvo demonstrator bus.

East Yorkshire Buses will be providing a zero-emission, fully electric, single-deck demonstrator Volvo BZL bus at Queen Victoria Square, Hull, from 10am-1.30pm, and then at Hessle Square, from 2-3.30pm. Residents and local stakeholders are welcome to come along, with no appointment necessary. 

Transport is now the UK’s largest emitter of carbon, although buses make up a small proportion of the overall emissions. 

The Government is making up to £129million available to local authorities to support the introduction of zero emission buses. 

The ZEBRA2 (zero emission bus regional areas) scheme enables councils to bid for funding towards the cost of new, fully accessible electric buses and associated infrastructure, such as charging equipment.

More than 1,300 zero emission buses have already been funded by the Government in the previous ZEBRA1 phase, across England, and areas that did not receive this funding (like Hull and the East Riding) will be prioritised over areas that did for ZEBRA2. 

Successful bids will need to have orders placed for new buses by 31 January 2025. 

Hull City Council, in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council, will jointly bid for funds to replace existing diesel buses on public routes operated by Stagecoach and East Yorkshire Buses in Hull and East Yorkshire. This bid would have a wider impact by transforming how the public see buses and helping to encourage significant increases in passenger demand.  

There are currently no electric or hybrid buses operating on public bus services either in Hull or East Yorkshire, so the demonstrator bus will give the public an understanding and insight into the transition of buses from diesel to more environmentally friendly technology to meet future net zero standards.

Fully, battery-electric buses run on rechargeable batteries, which power a motor, and can have a range of up to several hundred miles.  They 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.

Councillor Mark Ieronimo, cabinet portfolio holder for transportation, roads and highways at Hull City Council, said: “We would encourage anyone with an interest in public transport in the city to come along to the public engagement events and find out more about electric buses.

“As well as providing an opportunity to ask questions, these events will help support our funding bid to Government.

“If successful, this ZEBRA funding will potentially help transform bus travel throughout the city.

“Electric buses are greener and cleaner, helping to combat climate change, so we want to engage with the public to get their views to help shape the bid.”

Councillor Paul West, cabinet member for transport and the environment at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “It’s great to be working together with Hull City Council and our region’s two main bus operators on this bid for new zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure.

“If we are successful, the introduction of these vehicles will be a major step-change in clean, green public transport in our region.

“These public engagement events are not just about showcasing the technology; they’re about inviting our residents to be a part of our journey towards more sustainable travel.

“Our goal is to lead by example in reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of public transport for our communities.”

Ben Gilligan, managing director at East Yorkshire Buses, said: “We’re thrilled to work with our partners at Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Stagecoach to unveil a zero-emission, fully electric bus.

“As we work together to develop our bid to bring zero-emission buses to our region, feedback from local residents will form a key part of our business case to the Government.

“Public transport plays a key role in driving carbon reductions and improving air quality, and this is a big opportunity to address this in our region.”

Matt Cranwell, managing director at Stagecoach, said: “Today we will be showcasing the future of public transport.

“In partnership with Hull City Council, we hope to be successful in our ZEBRA bid for electric vehicles, which will help ensure Stagecoach continues to deliver on its target for a net zero fleet by 2030.

“Stagecoach East Midlands has invested £10m over the past five years in the latest vehicles, and electric vehicles are the next step in reducing emissions for the local communities we serve.”