Oldham   TfGM group1

Electric transformation of First Bus Oldham depot gets underway

  • Power chargers and infrastructure to be complete by March 2024

Work is underway to transform the First Bus depot in Oldham with the introduction of the next phase of electrification as part of the wider Greater Manchester EV fleet transformation.

The collaborative working of First Bus, the current owner-operator, and TfGM the incoming owner to deliver funding will allow the works to be delivered and operational for the next phase of Greater Manchester Bus Franchising.

Contractors from Stonewood Electrical have arrived on site and started preparations to install the power charging and infrastructure to handle the introduction of 50 zero emission EV buses when the depot on Wallshaw Street joins the Bee Network in March 2024.

The depot will be operated by Stagecoach on behalf of TfGM when franchised bus services begin on the Bee Network next spring.

Mike Watson, Mobilisation Director for First Bus in Manchester, said: “We’re pleased to support Transport for Greater Manchester in preparing our Oldham depot for electrification as the Bee Network expands and new vehicle technologies are introduced into the fleet. First Bus has extensive experience in the transformation of depots to electric from our programme at sites across the UK.

“We are bringing this knowledge and expertise to Oldham to manage the conversion alongside the continued operation of the depot to serve local communities and the wider region of Greater Manchester.”

Vernon Everitt, Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “We’re delighted with the progress towards electrifying Oldham bus depot as we prepare for the next phase of bus franchising in Oldham, Rochdale, parts of Bury, Salford and North Manchester in March 2024.

“Major national and local investment in our city-region’s transport fleet has enabled more zero emission buses across the Bee Network to replace older, more polluting diesel vehicles. A cleaner bus fleet is key to improving air quality in areas with the most polluted air.”

Buses fully charged in 2.5 hours

A total of 17 Heliox Flex 180 kW (kilowatt) chargers are being installed, capable of dynamically charging 51 vehicles simultaneously in 2.5 hours.

Paul Middlemiss, Senior Business Development Manager at Heliox, which is also working at other First Bus depots, added: “ I am immensely proud of our strategic partnership with First Bus. Together, we are reshaping the landscape of urban mobility, focused on sustainability and setting new standards for public transportation.”

Michael Doherty, Managing Director of Stonewood Electrical, added: “We’re proud to be part of this project. It builds on our work with First Bus elsewhere in its mission to become a zero emissions national bus fleet operator; providing cleaner air, green growth and improving public transport and health.”

Picture captions:

Oldham +TfGM 1: Anne-Marie Purcell, Chief Transformation Officer at TfGM flanked by (left) Mike Watson and Stephen Rhodes, TfGM Director of Bus with (rear left) Paul Townley, First Bus General Manager and Engineering Director Carl Wooley. 

Oldham +TfGM 2: Anne-Marie Purcell, Chief Transformation Officer at TfGM flanked by (left) Mike Watson and Stephen Rhodes, TfGM Director of Bus with the First Bus Manchester team and contractors.


Notes to editors

Media enquiries to Richard Harrison, PR Manager, First Bus North & West Yorkshire 07973 668116 richard.m.harrison@firstbus.co.uk  

About First Bus 

First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators. Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks.

We work proactively with our local authority partners, making a positive impact on air quality, tackling congestion and improving customer experience. We are focused on First Bus becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and are committed to operating a zero emission bus fleet by 2035; we have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland. 

First Bus is an equal opportunities employer and a division of FirstGroup.