Leicester park-and-ride gets EV buses

Yutong electric buses powered by 100 per cent renewable energy have replaced diesel vehicles on Leicester’s three park-and-ride routes. Eleven new buses operate on the routes linking Meynell’s Gorse, Birstall and Enderby with the city centre, in the first phase of a £50million project that could see electric buses rolled out to a third of the city’s network by 2024.

Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby says: “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 are operated by Roberts Travel Group.

Roberts Travel Group has installed a 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. Managing director Jonathan Hunt says: “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.”

Ian Downie, head of Yutong Bus, adds: “ The project has delivered these 11 vehicles with the associated charging infrastructure upgrades during these very difficult times we have all experienced. It is the absolute credit to Roberts Travel, Leicester City Council, Zenobe and ourselves 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 with the excellent team 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.”

Leicester’s successful bid to the Transforming Cities Fund has funded most of the £7.1million required for 18 new electric buses. 

As well as the 11 new park-and-ride buses, four electric buses will be introduced on the Hospital Hopper routes in the autumn, while three electric buses will operate on a 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.