Go North East – the regional bus operator serving Newcastle and Gateshead – is stepping up the electrification of its fleet with a trial of the fully-electric Optare MetroCity single deck bus.
The move follows the company’s investment last year in nine all-electric Yutong buses through Castleford-based Pelican Bus and Coach, as part of a strategy to improve air quality in the region.
This investment, totalling £2 million, was supported by £1.6m top up funding from the Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Fund. The funding will support the additional capital cost of electric buses and the installation of depot charging infrastructure.
The Yutong buses are set to enter service later this year.
Meantime, the Optare MetroCity trial will involve some of the region’s busiest and most geographically challenging routes. It is expected that the bus will be able to operate all day on a single charge.
Martijn Gilbert, managing director at Go North East, said the reduction in traffic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had already led to improvements in air quality and that the introduction of more electric buses would help further.
He added, “It is great to have the Optare MetroCity EV on trial, a British built product from a North East of England manufacturer.
“170 low emission buses have also joined our fleet in recent years with more on the way, and we are committed to ensuring that our buses provide a clean, safe and efficient way of getting around our region as the economy recovers.”