Greater Manchester’s first fully electric buses will soon hit city centre streets on the free hop-on hop-off Metroshuttle service.
Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has now taken delivery of three new environmentally friendly Optare Versa electric buses, which have been jointly funded through the Department for Transport’s Green Bus Fund.
The three fully electric buses are the first of their kind to run in the region and join a 17 strong-fleet of hybrid-electric buses which already run on all three Metroshuttle routes.
The three Optare Versa fully electric buses, like the hybrid electric buses already used on Route 1, can carry up to 57 passengers, including 28 seated – or 25 seated if a wheelchair is carried.
Electric buses have zero emissions at point of use and are also cheaper to run than diesel buses.
Passengers be able to catch the electric buses next week on the orange Metroshuttle 1 route, which links Piccadilly station with many of the shopping, commercial, leisure and cultural areas of the city centre.
Councillor Mark Aldred, Deputy Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “Metroshuttle is the largest free city centre bus service in the UK and carries millions of passengers every year, helping to cut congestion.
“These new electric buses are cheaper to run and quieter than normal buses and give off no harmful emissions – contributing to a better environment for everyone who lives in, works in and visits the city centre.
“The buses are a welcome addition to our fleet of green buses – and just part of Greater Manchester’s hard work to radically slash its carbon emissions by around one million tonnes every year.”
Vicky Tomlinson, operations manager for bus operator First, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Metroshuttle passengers on board the new electric buses. They are a first for us and our drivers are enjoying taking them out on test runs to get used to the buses before they start running with passengers.”
Greater Manchester already has more green buses than anywhere in the UK outside London, and will have over 300 green buses on its roads by 2015.
Metroshuttle services run to all major areas of the city centre including Piccadilly rail station, Deansgate, Spinningfields, Manchester Victoria, Shudehill Interchange, Oxford Road and Salford Central train stations.
Press release and photograph courtesy of Transport for Greater Manchester