A new partnership between Yutong and Robert Travel has provide eleven electric buses for Leicester City Council’s inaugural Park & Ride service

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This is a project that might inspire some Irish City to try and electrify itself.   

Head of Yutong Bus, Ian Downie, said he was proud to announce a project that the Chinese bus manufacturer has delivered 11 new electric Yutong buses, with the associated charging infrastructure upgrades, during these very difficult times. “It is the absolute credit to Roberts Travel, Leicester City Council, Zenobe and we worked with us that this has been delivered on time and on budget. The vehicles were fully completed in the UK at the Pelican premises in Castleford, with driver and engineering training completed at Roberts. We are delighted to see these vehicles entering service in Leicester, improving the air quality and the passenger experience, whilst encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto public transport.”

The new buses will operate on the routes linking three Park & Ride facilities with the city centre, in the first phase of a £50m project that could see electric buses rolled out to a third of the city’s network by 2024.

Bringing cleaner, greener and zero-emission public transport to Leicester for the first time, the £5m buses investment will also provide commuters and shoppers with a quick, quiet and comfortable journey to the city centre. The distinctive green buses – equipped with on-board digital screens and USB charging points at every seat – will also provide passengers with free Wi-Fi. People waiting for the bus will benefit from real-time arrival information and smart new bus shelters – while new bus priority measures over the next 18 months will help ensure a smooth journey for passengers.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby commented: “Thanks to our successful bid for government funding through the Transforming Cities Fund, we’ve been able to make this significant investment into sustainable public transport. We know that if we are to persuade people to leave their cars outside the city centre, we need to offer them attractive and affordable travel alternatives. These Greenline buses are clean, green and comfortable – and the more people use them, the more we can reduce congestion and improve air quality in the city.”

Leicester’s Park & Ride services are run jointly with Leicestershire County Council and operated by Roberts Travel Group. Roberts Travel Group has played a key role in the electrification project, installing a brand new charging station at its depot in Coalville in partnership with Zenobe Energy. The buses are charged overnight and operate all day on a single charge.

Robert’s Managing Director Jonathan Hunt said: “I am really pleased that Roberts Travel Group will be the first operator in Leicester to operate fully electric buses. I am extremely proud that our loyal team of drivers will continue to drive the very best vehicles available, as we continue to invest in the latest technology for the people of Leicester.”

The Park & Ride service costs just £3 return for a family/group ticket and is free for concessionary bus pass holders. The service is currently subsidised so that health workers can travel free of charge until further notice. 

Leicester’s successful bid to the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) has funded most of the £7.1m required for 18 new electric buses. As well as the 11 new Park & Ride buses, four electric buses will be introduced on the popular Hospital Hopper routes in the autumn, while three electric buses will operate on a brand new city centre shuttle service from autumn 2022. The green shuttle will ferry people between transport hubs and key destinations in Leicester, free of charge.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “The ultimate goal of the Greenline Electric Bus Project is to improve public transport and local air quality by introducing zero-emission electric buses across the city. The next phase of the project is to secure funding that could allow up to 100 more electric buses to be purchased for Leicester.”

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