York bus depot electric work starts June 2023 2

Electric transformation of First Bus York depot gets underway

  • Power chargers and infrastructure to be complete by September

Work to transform the First Bus depot on James Street into the first outside London to be fully electric gets underway this week.

Contractors from Stonewood Electrical have arrived on site and started preparations to install the additional power charging and infrastructure to handle the expanding zero emission bus fleet, with vehicle deliveries expected to start later this summer.

Funding to enable the conversion has been made possible through grants of £10.2m secured by City of York Council from the Department for Transport Zebra scheme with support from First Bus and separate investment of £13m by the operator.

A ‘new future’

Simon Carlisle, Engineering Director of First North & West Yorkshire, said: “This is the beginning of a new future for the depot and a green transport revolution in York.

“It is real evidence of our continuing successful partnership with City of York Council in bringing major improvements to bus services and supporting a shared ambition for a net-zero transport system and reducing carbon emissions in the city.”

Cllr Pete Kilbane, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy and Transport at City of York Council, said:

“The city is aiming to achieve its carbon reduction targets and increasing the use of sustainable transport is a key element. High quality electric buses encourage greater use of the network, improve air quality and provide sustainable travel routes across York. Working with our partners we aim to deliver a bus network that is reliable, safe, convenient and attractive to residents, commuters and visitors.”

He added: “York already has bold targets for reducing carbon and taking steps to tackle climate change. First Bus delivering the UK’s first fully electric depot outside London to support running fully electric buses is a significant move forward. The removal of the fuel tanks from the depot will be a significant milestone and a positive message for the city.”

Buses fully charged in 2.5 hours

A total of 28 Heliox Rapid 150 kW (kilowatt) chargers are being installed which are capable of fully charging a bus in 2.5 hours.

Stephen Wood, Country Lead UK and Ireland at Heliox, which is also working at other First Bus depots, added: “I am extremely proud of the Heliox team and our partnership with First Bus.

“The launch of this depot is a positive step towards making York a more sustainable city and we are delighted to support First Bus in its commitment to transition to electric vehicles in line with 2035 zero emission targets."

These new chargers will operate alongside the depot’s existing electric units which were introduced over recent years to support buses used on York’s Park and Ride network.

Stonewood managed the original electrification construction at the depot. Michael Doherty, its Managing Director said: “We’re proud to be part of this project, continuing our work with First Bus in its mission to become a zero emissions national bus fleet operator; providing cleaner air, green growth and improving public transport and health.”

Laurence Beardmore, President of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “York & North Yorkshire Chamber is delighted to see this investment coming to the city.

“My congratulations to First Bus and its partners on this pioneering move.”