Electric bus on trial in Shrewsbury
Arriva Midlands has joined forces with Shropshire County Council to undertake a review of greener transport solutions for the area, starting with the trial of an electric vehicle on Park & Ride services in Shrewsbury.
Arriva, which also operates services from depots in Telford and Oswestry, will be running a demonstration single-deck electric bus on Shrewsbury P&R for a period of three weeks from Monday 15th July in order to better assess the viability of this type of vehicle on the route, before deploying it elsewhere in Shropshire for further testing.
Jamie Crowsley, General Manager for Arriva Shropshire, explained: “We have a responsibility to improve our bus network locally in order to provide a viable, attractive alternative to traveling by car, in order to cut congestion on our county’s roads and lessen the impact that heavy traffic levels has on our air quality locally. In order to do this we need to ensure that our customers are given access to transport that meets their growing expectations in terms of technology and comfort, but that also delivers with regards to environmental standards.
“Modern bus technology has advanced hugely in the last few years, with Low Carbon Emission Buses in the UK already saving 55,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, and providing a 95% reduction in NOx emissions compared with previous models. There are a host of options available, but we are committed to working with our partners in the Local Authority to find the solutions which best suit their needs. This trial will offer them a realistic view of how electric buses function when in operation, in terms of both performance and cost on this critical route, and provide an excellent benchmark for future trials or investment.”
Arriva in Shrewsbury was selected for initial trials due to its already exemplary green credentials, which includes rainwater harvesting, solar panels, a grass roof for improved insulation and to encourage wildlife, and the installation of an Automated Chassis Wash to reduce waste water, and offer more efficient cleaning with reduced risk to staff.
Simon Harris, Shropshire Council’s deputy Cabinet member for public transport, added: “At Cabinet in June we said we wanted to provide people with the best possible public transport service, one that meets the needs of passengers and the local economy – and we promised that people would soon start to see positive changes.
“We’re currently developing a transport vision and strategy for Shropshire that will encapsulate all forms of transport, including public transport and Park & Ride. As part of this, and in line with the council’s recent declaration of a climate emergency, we’re looking at the introducing more sustainable transport. The introduction of electric buses is an important first step and I’m delighted that, within weeks of the Cabinet meeting, we’re welcoming Shropshire’s first-ever electric bus.
“To start with we are going to use it on the Park & Ride in Shrewsbury, and we’ll see how it gets on in the town and what the reaction is from the public. I would consider that the next step would possibly be to introduce an electric bus for the 436, Bridgnorth to Shrewsbury service. Out of all our services this is the one we need to revamp and make more sustainable and efficient.
“We’re also looking at best practice in other areas of the country. Earlier this week I spent time looking at the new ArrivaClick on-demand bus service that is being operated in Leicester and other parts of the UK. I was impressed by its capabilities and this is something else that we will definitely be looking at as we roll out better services across the county.”
Arriva operates Park & Ride services on behalf of Shropshire Council, linking Harlescott, Meole Brace and Oxon Park & Ride sites with Shrewsbury town centre, up to every twenty minutes, Monday to Saturday.