On Monday, Oxford launched one of the largest electric bus fleets in the UK outside London.
The 82.5 million pounds project will deliver 159 new battery electric buses, with some already in operation.
Oxford Bus Company will deploy 104 units, and Stagecoach will operate 55. Additionally, two associated electric charging hubs were funded at the city’s bus stations.
Luke Marion, CEO of Oxford Bus Company, stated, “Our first batch of electric buses is already in service and is beginning to improve air quality, making bus travel even more appealing for people moving around Oxford.”
“Decarbonizing buses is an exciting project, and we have demonstrated that, with the right strategic collaboration between the public and private sectors, we can unlock investments to make it a reality. We look forward to working with Oxfordshire County Council on important initiatives to encourage people to travel by bus,” he added.
Matt Carney, CEO of The Go-Ahead Group’s bus division, commented, “Go-Ahead is proud to be the largest operator of zero-emission units in Britain.”
“These new buses will form the largest fleet of zero-emission units operated by Go-Ahead outside London. The project is an example of how bus operators work closely with local authorities to meet community needs,” he added.
Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, said, “As a company, we are fully committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035, so the introduction of these electric vehicles on the roads today is a significant step toward this vital goal.”
In collaboration with Zenobē, the leading fleet electrification specialist in the UK, Oxford Bus Company has installed 104 charging points at its Cowley House depot, and Stagecoach has also installed 55 chargers at the Network Oxford site,” she added.
The charging hubs operate on the EDF Energy Oxford Superhub network, providing enough electricity to charge the 159 vehicles and allow them to cover up to 200 miles per day.
It’s worth noting that the project was funded through a collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council and the bus operators Oxford Bus Company, owned by The Go-Ahead Group, and Stagecoach.
The Council received 32.8 million pounds from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) program and contributed 6 million pounds directly, while the operators invested 43.7 million pounds.
Roads Minister, Guy Opperman, stated, “Zero-emission buses are crucial for achieving cleaner local travel, with 159 new electric buses built in the UK arriving in Oxford thanks to government funding, supporting skilled manufacturing jobs in the UK.”
“This project is backed by over 32 million pounds in government support, as part of the 330 million pounds already provided since 2020 for zero-emission buses in England, outside London, to progress towards a fully zero-emission bus fleet,” he noted.
Councillor Andrew Gant, member of the county council’s transport management cabinet, said, “I am proud and excited that the county council is backing its ambitions with political and financial capital, along with our partners, to deliver a safer, cleaner, greener, and better county for residents and visitors.”
“Alongside policies like traffic filters to greatly enhance bus efficiency, we are fulfilling our vision of a better future. This is an exciting and important moment for all of us,” he asserted.