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First Bus completes transformation of Roundtree Way to all-electric bus fleet

Norfolk County Council, 13 March 2024 11:05

First Bus is celebrating the completion of the project to transform its Roundtree Way Depot to an all-electric commercial bus fleet.

By the end of March, the depot will be the operational centre for 59 double deck and 11 single deck brand new state-of-the-art electric buses.

This is not only the East of England's first zero-emission bus fleet but it is also the first complete zero-emission commercial bus fleet in England located outside of London.

The works to convert the depot began in July 2023 and have taken eight-months to complete. The total investment made in the infrastructure and buses was £37.2 million. This comprises £14.7 million of Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) Government funding, bid for and won with Norfolk County Council, and a capital investment of £22.5 million from First Bus.

The new electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions. This makes them great news for the environment and Norwich's many residents and visitors, as they will help to create a cleaner, greener environment for people to live, work and enjoy. They also offer customers a more comfortable ride, as they are quieter and smoother than diesel vehicles.

The introduction of the new bus fleet means that over half of the Norwich network operated by First Bus is now electric. That is over 60% of all bus journeys through Castle Meadow in the city centre.

To mark the completion of the project, a celebration was held at the depot on Wednesday 13th March. Guests included First Bus Managing Director, Janette Bell, East of England Managing Director Piers Marlow and Chief Sustainability Officer Isabel McAllister. They were joined by representatives from Norfolk County Council, including Chairman Cllr Barry Stone.

Piers Marlow, Managing Director of First East of England, said: "We are incredibly proud of the work that's been done here at Roundtree Way. Simultaneously running a busy bus depot and construction project has been tough at times, but it has been worth it.

"These vehicles are absolutely fantastic - not only from a sustainability and air quality perspective, but they are great for our customers, as well as our drivers and engineers, and we're already receiving lots of positive feedback."

He concluded: "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has played a vital role in the delivery of this project, including our people and partners, without whom it wouldn't have been possible."

Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport Graham Plant said: "The arrival of these buses is an extraordinary boost to our ambitions to run a net-zero transport system in Norfolk and I am thrilled to see all of the buses are now in service which will be making a real difference to air quality in Norwich as well as providing a smoother, cleaner and quieter journey for bus passengers.

"The support that First Bus has shown for this project demonstrates the excellent working relationship we have with our bus operators here in Norfolk and how working together can help to achieve the very best for our County."

Also attending the celebration was Norwich local and futurist Ed Gillespie, an environmental entrepreneur, campaigner and author, who is passionate about sustainability and innovation.

Gillespie said: "It's incredible to see our ancient city trailblazing the future through this ambitious and inspiring electrification, which should send a ripple of excitation out across Norwich, Norfolk and beyond."

Network Norwich's Pink Line 11/12, Orange Line 21, Red Line 23/24 and Blue Line 25/26, are all now fully electric with Double deckers. The Green Line 14/15/16 Single Deckers will be complete during March.

For more information on routes and timetables, please visit the Norfolk and Suffolk section of the First Bus website or download the First Bus app, which also includes live bus tracking.

Last modified: 25 June 2024 16:09

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