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First Bus: Norwich’s first electric buses have hit the streets

  • Norwich’s first electric buses are in service from today
  • Seven electric double deckers are now serving the Pink, Red, Orange and Blue lines
  • First Bus is in the process of fully electrifying its Roundtree Way depot
  • First Bus has invested £23m in the project

Norwich’s first zero-emissions electric buses have hit the city’s streets today.

Seven brand new electric double deckers, owned and operated by First Bus, are now serving passengers on the Pink, Red, Orange and Blue lines.

These vehicles are the first of a fleet of seventy that are being rolled out over the coming months, to replace all the diesel buses working out of First Bus’ Roundtree Way depot by March 2024.

The introduction of the new EVs will mean that by 2024 over half of the Norwich network operated by First Bus will be electric, that’s over 60% of all bus journeys through Castle Meadow in the city centre.  

These buses, built by British bus builder Wrightbus, are part of First Bus’ pledge to convert its entire fleet to zero tailpipe emissions by 2035.

Piers Marlow, Managing Director of First East of England, said: “It’s incredibly exciting, after all the hard work and planning that has gone into this project so far, that the first vehicles are going out onto the roads to serve customers in Norwich.

“These vehicles offer significant environmental benefits, saving around 75 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle per year when compared to a diesel, and will improve the air quality for the City’s residents and visitors as they emit zero tailpipe emissions.

“Importantly, they will also improve the journey experience for our customers, and are fitted with all the modern features, offering a quieter and smoother ride, USB charging points, and good accessibility features. We hope that Norwich’s bus users are as pleased with them as we are.”

To fund the purchase of the vehicles, First Bus and Norfolk County Council secured an investment of £14.7m from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) government funding. The grant is matched with around £23m of funding by First Bus.

Cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport Graham Plant said: “The arrival of these buses is an extraordinary boost to our ambitions to run a net-zero transport system in Norfolk and I am excited to see that the first buses are now out in service for people to experience. The support that First Bus has shown for this project demonstrates the excellent working relationship we have with our bus operators here in Norfolk and how working together can help to achieve the very best for our County.”

Source First Bus