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07 Jan 2019
Stagecoach South Managing Director, Edward Hodgson, was joined at the launch ceremony, held at The Electric Theatre and the Artington Park & Ride site by representatives from the UK's leading supplier of electric buses, the BYD ADL partnership, energy storage specialists Zenobe Enery as well as members of Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council.
The BYD ADL Enviro200EV 10.8m electric buses have a range of up to 150 miles, and have a capacity for up to 36 passengers and one wheelchair user. Customers are also able to take advantage of free Wifi and USB charging which are featured onboard.
Edward Hodgson, Managing Director for Stagecoach South said: “This is such an exciting moment for us as we introduce the first fleet of fully electric buses for the south of England and this marks a huge step forward for greener travel in the Guildford area. Stagecoach is committed to improving air quality across the country and making bus travel the safest and cleanest travel option.
Following the official launch, one of the new electric buses was exhibited in Guildford town centre, where the public were invited on board to learn more about the new vehicles.
Edward added “Passenger and driver reaction to the new buses has been fantastic with several complementary remarks on the first day of service alone.
I hope that this latest news will encourage more people who are continuing to drive into the town centre, to try using the Guildford Park & Ride network. It's so easy to Park & Ride and from just £1.40 per day it's much cheaper than using a town centre car park. There are 4 conveniently located park & ride sites so from whichever direction you're approaching Guildford, there's a Park & Ride site near you."
The Guildford Park & Ride network serves three dedicated park and ride sites located at Artington, Merrow and Onslow which combined offer 1,610 parking spaces. On weekdays, the Spectrum car park provides an additional park and ride facility and is shared with the leisure centre.
Nearly 1m passenger journeys are made on Guildford's Park & Ride service every year. As well as reducing congestion on Guildford's main roads in and out of the town, the new fully-electric buses replace existing diesel buses further improving air quality in Guildford.
Arthur Whiteside, ADL’s Managing Director for UK Sales, said: “We are delighted to support Stagecoach South and Surrey County Council in their introduction of clean, zero emission buses. With passenger-centric interiors and excellent onboard amenities, they will further enhance the attractiveness of Guildford as a destination and place of employment in the regional economy.”
Speaking at the launch event, BYD’s UK Country Manager, Frank Thorpe, said: “The entry into service of these vehicles means that our joint enterprise has now supplied advanced electric buses to the majority of the major bus operating groups in the UK and, as with all of our customers, we have been able to provide much more than the bus. Our knowhow has assisted in the provision of the necessary infrastructure, including BYD built chargers.”
Steven Meersman, co-founder of Zenobe Energy Ltd. said “We are excited about working with Stagecoach South on this project, the first of its kind for the UK. Our flexible battery solution demonstrates how existing infrastructure and batteries together can be rapidly installed and accelerate the cost-effective adoption of zero emission vehicles across the UK”
Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Environment Mike Goodman said: “This is fantastic news for Guildford. Not only will the new park and ride fleet of buses be smoother and quieter, they will be much better for the environment while also bringing an economic boost to the county because local company Alexander Dennis is building them and using them will help to reduce congestion.
“Improving air quality by reducing vehicle emissions is a key priority for us and introducing Surrey’s first electric buses through securing £1.5 million in funding and Stagecoach’s generous contribution is just one piece of the jigsaw – we’ve also just outlined plans to help establish a comprehensive network of electric charging points and launched a drive to reduce pollution around schools.”