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.”