1. ITV Report

The West Country's first electric bus arrives in Dorchester

Dorchester gets the first electric public bus service in Southern England. Photo: ITV Westcountry

The first fully-electric public bus service in southern England was launched today at Poundbury in Dorchester.

Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and the Duchy Of Cornwall have paid for the buses with help from a grant of £166,000 from the Department for Transport’s Green Bus Fund.

The electric buses will be used on the number 6 bus route operating between Dorchester town centre and Poundbury.

The two British-made Optare Solo vehicles, the latest models, are the first fully electric public buses operating in Southern England.

The buses will make estimated carbon emissions savings of around 39 tons per year compared to diesel buses, giving some air quality benefits to the town’s residents and producing a minimum impact on the environment.

The electric buses will also provide estimated diesel fuel savings of £25,000 over five years compared to two diesel powered buses.

Dorset County Council contributed £130,000 and West Dorset District Council contributed £100,000 towards the buses’ purchase. The Duchy of Cornwall contributed £11,000 to pay for a higher electric bus specification and installed some bus infrastructure in Poundbury.

We are pleased to work with West Dorset District Council and the Duchy Of Cornwall to introduce this innovative new electric bus service.

It will give Poundbury residents a half hourly service into town and to the county hospital which will reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.

Public transport is a sustainable way to travel. We hope people will use it when they can, and leave the car at home.

– Cllr Peter Finney, Dorset County Council

West Dorset residents have an excellent track record for supporting green initiatives and this represents an exciting sustainable opportunity for Dorchester.

We’re proud to have supported this new service with £100,000.

It is a first for the region and one which I hope will lead to more low carbon transport services in the district in the future.

– Robert Gould, Leader, West Dorset District Council

The Duchy Of Cornwall is pleased to be part of the delivery of the electric bus service linking Dorchester and the Poundbury development.

The project has enabled the provision of a new sustainable transport link for businesses and residents within the development to Dorchester town centre.

The electric buses have reinforced the sustainability credentials of The Duchy Of Cornwall, Dorset County Council, West Dorset as well as the bus users.

The buses serve Queen Mother Square at the heart of Poundbury and have had a significant uptake by residents since the service came into operation, reducing individual car usage, congestion and pollution.”

– Kevin Crabbe, Poundbury site manager

The electric Solo buses are some of the first fully electric full size buses to operate on British roads and these new models have an improved battery electrical system and extended range.

At 8.9 metres long, the buses can carry 28 seated passengers and travel between 80 to 100 miles per charge.

They have a low floor with a manual fold out wheelchair ramp and are fitted with a Real Time Passenger Information system so passengers at the bus stop or online can see when the next will arrive.

The new electric bus in action. Credit: ITV Westcountry