First Bus completes UK retrofit programme of 1,000 buses

First Bus says it has reached a significant milestone in its air quality retrofit programme, completing the refit of 1,000 buses across its UK network with new exhaust systems and e-fans to comply with Euro VI emission requirements.

The £16million retrofitting programme has been delivered in partnership with the Joint Air Quality Unit of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport, local authorities, Transport Scotland and suppliers Eminox, HJS and Grayson. 

The milestone has been completed in just over two years and the 1,000th bus was retrofitted in Manchester. Alongside scheduling challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic, First Bus has worked to ensure that operations have continued with limited interruption to customers during the retrofitting programme.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to make our buses as environmentally friendly as they can be for the communities we serve,” says John Dowie, First Bus strategy director. “We’re proud to have achieved this milestone at the turn of the year, highlighting the ongoing work of our engineering teams. We estimate that each retrofit reduces air pollutants and harmful emissions by up to 95 per cent, and this makes a considerable positive impact to air quality for our towns and cities. Bus services will be a fundamental part of economic recovery as the UK starts to emerge from the pandemic.”

First Bus’ recently-appointed head of environmentment Jon Tivey adds: “First Bus has been on the trajectory towards a zero-emission bus fleet for a few years and I’ve joined at an exciting time for the business and the industry as we look to decarbonise public transport and significantly contribute to the green recovery. 

“The retrofitting milestone is a great reminder that the environment is an ongoing focus for the business. The retrofitting programme is one way in which we can significantly reduce harmful emissions on our roads.”