First Bus is introducing the largest fleet of zero emission buses in West Yorkshire.

The bus operator made the announcement today (Tuesday 5 March) as directors joined with senior members and officials from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to ‘switch on’ electrification of the Bramley depot in Leeds.

The £29m transformation of the depot has been achieved with £16.4m investment by First Bus and funding of £12.6m secured in partnership with WYCA from the Department for Transport’s Zebra funding scheme.

A fleet of 57 all-electric buses is beginning to appear on the network in Leeds and due to be completed by the end of March.

A ‘new future’

Andrew Cullen, Managing Director of the operator’s North and West Yorkshire business, said: “Today marks another major step in the First Bus strategy to expand more zero emission buses into communities in West Yorkshire and the country, as part of our mission to reach a zero emission UK bus fleet by 2035.

“This is the beginning of a new future for the Bramley depot and part of our green transport revolution in Leeds.

“We’re proud to unveil these latest zero emission buses and are confident they will appeal to our customers and attract more people to consider bus travel by realising the real impact this has in reducing congestion, creating cleaner air and supporting the wider West Yorkshire economy.”

He added: “It is real evidence of our continuing successful partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority in bringing major improvements to bus services, supporting a shared ambition for a net-zero transport system and reducing carbon emissions in the city.”

A third of the Bramley depot fleet will be zero emission by the end of March, with each bus saving around 60 tonnes of carbon a year.

Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee Cllr Peter Carlill, added: “Work to electrify the Bramley bus depot is a huge step forward for the Combined Authority’s vision of a green, zero emission bus system for West Yorkshire.

“Having more of these buses on our roads will benefit areas affected by low air quality, as well as helping us to achieve our target of becoming a net-zero carbon region by 2038.

“It will encourage more people to use public transport, creating a greener and better-connected West Yorkshire.”

Buses fully charged in 2.5 hours

The Heliox Rapid 150 kW (kilowatt) chargers installed are capable of fully charging a bus in 2.5 hours.

The total of 32 single-decker GB Kite Electroliners has been delivered with the first of 25 StreetDeck Electroliner double-deckers arriving this week. The buses are manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland with features including audio visual next stop technology and USB charging points.