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Scotland’s Zero Emissions Mission

The First Glasgow low emissions fleet. Credit : First Bus Resource Library,

Scotland’s largest bus operator takes a step closer to its zero emissions target by introducing 126 electric buses to its Glasgow fleet in March.

FirstGroup claim their new electric fleet will save 4.4 million litres of diesel, removing 10,082 tonnes of CO2 per year.

First Bus are a major employer in the area retaining approximately 2,400 people. The company currently have around 950 buses running on over 80 routes that cover Glasgow City Centre, Greater Glasgow, and Lanarkshire.

The expansion is part of a huge £60m investment that includes First’s Caledonia Depot on the south side of the city, the largest electric charging station in the UK.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport told First Bus News: “First Bus continues to demonstrate its commitment to decarbonising its bus fleet, improving air quality and responding to the climate emergency.”

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, Michael Matheson gets a tour of the First Bus Caledonia Depot. Credit : First Bus Resource Library

The depot has the capacity to charge over 300 vehicles and First Bus intend to open it to other businesses, assisting these businesses in reducing carbon emissions and reaffirming First’s commitment to improving air quality in the city.

These advances are benefitting from funding from the Scottish Government’s Ultra Low Bus Scheme which provides funding to buy new ultra-low emission buses and the infrastructure to support this technology.

First’s Caledonia Depot in the South side of Glasgow. Credit - First Bus Resource Library.

Speaking to First Bus News, Andrew Jarvis, First Bus Portfolio Managing Director, said: “This is an ambitious and exciting plan that will have positive implications for the entire city of Glasgow. We’re thrilled that Transport Scotland understood our vision from the very beginning and that we are starting work on this large-scale project that will help us move closer towards a zero-emission fleet.”

The Scottish Government has already granted in excess of £62 million in the first phase of the Zero Emissions Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB) in support of schemes, such as First’s, that promote substantial and rapid movement towards a zero emissions bus service.

Phase 2 of the ScotZEB will be opened for bids in Spring 2023. Phase 2 is intended to deliver financial assistance to promote zero-emissions vehicles as the default vehicles for operators such as school, public service, and community buses and tourist and private-hire coaches.

A similar investment in sustainable, carbon-neutral vehicles supported by the ScotZEB was made by Stagecoach West Scotland in February.

A fleet of 27 electric buses at a cost of £15.7 million, will be introduced to services across East, North and South Ayrshire in March, boosting the number of electric buses operating in Ayrshire to 48.

Stagecoach West of Scotland have invested £15.7 million to expand their electric fleet in Ayrshire. Photo credit Stagecoach Resource Library.

Stagecoach have also installed 21 new charging points to service their expanding fleet at depots in Kilmarnock and Ayr.

Speaking at an official launch event in February, Managing Director of Stagecoach West Scotland Fiona Doherty, said of these developments: “This is an exciting day for Stagecoach as we launch our new fleet of electric buses, which will serve communities in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine with zero-emission public transport.


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