The first electric bus to be used in Shropshire has taken to the roads of Shrewsbury as part of a three-week trial.
The electric bus has been introduced by Shropshire Council as part of improvements to the county’s public transport service, including the use of more sustainable, environmentally-friendly vehicles.
The bus is currently being used on the Harlescott Shrewsbury Park & Ride service, and it’s hoped further such buses will be in use on the county’s roads soon.
Arriva are running the demonstration single-deck electric bus to better assess the viability of this type of vehicle on the route, before deploying it elsewhere in Shropshire for further testing.
Simon Harris, Shropshire Council’s deputy Cabinet member for public transport, said:
“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 this Friday.
“To start with we are going to use it on the Park and 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.”
Jamie Crowsley, general manager for Arriva Shropshire, said:
“We have a responsibility to improve our bus network locally 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 have on our air quality locally. 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.”