Go-Ahead backs 'Net Zero' plan as it launches first fully electric bus fleet in the North East
Go-Ahead cements its position as the UK’s largest operator of electric buses with new ‘clean, green’ fleet across the North East
Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Fund helps to fund £2 million move, which takes electric buses to Newcastle and Gateshead
The move helps Go-Ahead accelerate towards target of operating a ‘net zero’ bus fleet by 2035
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hails move as example of industry “actively supporting” Government’s ambitions to end the UK’s contribution to climate change
Go-Ahead is launching the first fully electric bus fleet in the North East of England as it backs the Government’s commitment to go ‘net zero’.
The new fleet of electric buses on its Go North East services will provide 55,000 journeys a year to nearly 2 million passengers in the region.
The nine new high-tech electric buses will roll into service from today and will cover 300,000 miles across Newcastle and Gateshead each year.
Go-Ahead’s move reflects the company’s commitment to have a ‘net zero’ bus fleet by 2035.
Last year Go-Ahead introduced air filtering buses into Southampton. These pioneering buses suck particulate matter from the air and recently won a sustainability Fleet Champions award.
The company has also introduced more than 50 geo-fenced, extended range, double deckers into Brighton, which switch to zero-emission only in the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone.
In addition, Go-Ahead is in talks regarding what has the potential to be Europe’s biggest ever order of hydrogen buses for operation in Crawley and Gatwick.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As we look to decarbonise transport while levelling up local economies across the North-East, I’m delighted to see key industry partners actively supporting our ambitions to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
“Just last week the Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to invest £5 billion in buses, cycling and walking. And that’s not all – we’re also investing £120 million to begin the introduction of at least 4,000 zero emission buses, accelerating the decarbonisation of the bus fleet, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality for all.”
David Brown, Go-Ahead chief executive, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on the country, the economy and public transport but tackling climate change remains as important as ever.
“The bus will be vital to getting Britain back on its feet, to bringing down emissions and tackling air pollution, which many experts believe has contributed to the severity of the virus we face.”
“Our investment in electric buses in the North East of England and our wider work in decarbonising our fleet signals our commitment to working with the Government to deliver their pledge to decarbonise transport and clean up the air that we breathe.”
Go North East – the region’s third-largest private sector employer – will charge the buses overnight at its state-of-the-art Gateshead Riverside depot. The buses are the result of a £2 million investment with top-up funding from the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Fund.
The buses also offer free WiFi and wireless and USB charging, as well as the introduction of tap-on, tap-off contactless payment.
Go-Ahead already runs the largest electric bus fleet in the UK, and it will rise to 190 with this latest investment. Some 70 further electric buses will also enter service in London by April.
Go-Ahead is one of the leading UK public transport operator companies. Our purpose is to be the local partner taking care of journeys that enhance the lives and wellbeing of our communities across the world. Employing around 30,000 people across our businesses, over 1.2 billion passenger journeys are undertaken on our rail and bus services every year. In addition to the travelling public, our customers include governments and local authorities. We are committed to contributing to tackling climate change, improving air quality and reducing social isolation, and aim to run a zero emission bus fleet by 2035.
Go-Ahead is one of the UK's largest bus operators. With a fleet of nearly 6,000 buses, we carry over two million passengers every day. We have a strong presence in London, with around 23 per cent market share, where we provide regulated services for Transport for London. Outside London, we principally serve high-density commuter markets, including the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, East Anglia, South East and South West England. Internationally, we operate a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland.
The rail division operates two franchises in the UK, three contracts in Germany and one in Norway. In the UK, Southeastern and GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) operate through our 65% owned subsidiary, Govia, which is 35% owned by Keolis. It is the largest rail operation in the UK, responsible for around 30 per cent of all UK passenger rail journeys through its rail franchises. In Germany and Norway, our contracts are run exclusively by Go-Ahead