As part of its ongoing commitment to improving air quality and tackling the Climate Emergency, First West of England launched its 77 new biomethane bus scheme, including a major natural gas station at Lawrence Hill depot. Earlier this year, the first ten of the new buses came into operation on the metrobus m3 service, drawing fuel from the existing CNG station opened last year at the Parson Street premises of Bristol Community Transport, but they will use now the brand-new fueling station at Lawrence Hill depot.
The next 27 buses will take to the streets in East Bristol this month, launching a brand new citylines east Bristol identity and replacing all city buses currently running along Church Road to St George and points east – routes 42 to 45.
The new buses feature Scania chassis and bodies built in Britain by Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL), will reduce emissions by 85% and give customers a much-improved on-board experience, smooth and quiet with modern, comfortable interiors, featuring USB charging points and a second wheelchair space on each bus.
The new filling station, designed and built by Gas Bus Alliance (GBA), which also provides the fuel, represents an investment of more than £2 million and took around nine months to build. It can provide 100% bio-CNG to fuel up to 100 buses, and can be easily extended to supply more buses as they are purchased.
Operating in tandem with the existing station in Parson Street, the two sites mean a total of 99 buses will be running on biomethane in the area by April 2020. Each fueling will keep a bus on the road for around 250 miles. The total scheme has involved an investment of £28 million over three years and was part-funded by a government grant of £4.79 million under the Low Emission Bus Scheme, through South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils.
“This second and larger-capacity facility is a crucial next stage in our biomethane journey: it means we can roll out cleaner, greener vehicles and contribute substantially to help clean up the local air. As we are now able to fuel more biomethane vehicles than we currently have in our fleets, we are looking to open the facility up to other, third party commercial operations in the future. We’re really putting the West of England at the forefront of clean commercial fleets,” said James Freeman, First West of England Managing Director.
“We welcome this significant investment in new, cleaner buses and infrastructure as part of our drive to reduce air pollution and achieve carbon neutrality. As we plan how we transform Bristol’s transport, through modernizing the network, launching the bus deal and mass transit, we want to encourage partners to take these important steps to make Bristol better for everyone,” commented Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.
Source: First Group