Wrightbus to build more than 100 new buses to boost zero-emissions targets

Ballymena bus firm Wrightbus has a secured an order of more than 100 zero-emission buses to be used in England.

The contract follows a £25.3m investment from the government.

Operated by First Bus, the buses will be rolled out across Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire.

Robert Best, director of engineering at Wrightbus, said: "We are delighted to be working with First Bus to further demonstrate their commitment to offering zero-emission public transport in these areas.

"It has been a real team effort between Wrightbus and First Bus to deliver this exciting project, which will help passengers enjoy cleaner transport.

"We’re immensely proud of the reputation we have forged in the zero-emission transport sector and the important role we are playing in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

"Our double deck battery electric buses are 44% more efficient ’grid to wheel’, saving energy costs and carbon.

“All of the buses will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in Northern Ireland, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.”

Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and these new British-built zero emission buses will support hundreds of high-quality manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland, grow our economy and help clean up the air in towns and cities across the country.

“We’re providing an additional £25.3 million to roll out 117 new buses to provide residents in Yorkshire, Norfolk, and Portsmouth with better, cleaner and quieter journeys, as we step up a gear to reach net zero faster and level up transport across the country.”

Zero-emission buses are also often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators. All these additional buses funded through the ZEBRA scheme are battery electric.

Janette Bell, Managing Director at First Bus, said: “We are delighted to be accelerating investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from the Department for Transport.

“As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net zero carbon transport system.

“We are rapidly transforming our business with zero-emission bus fleets and will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to deliver our decarbonisation plans.”

The move is part of the Government’s wider £3 billion National Bus Strategy to significantly improve bus services, with new priority lanes, lower and simpler fares, more integrated ticketing and higher frequencies.

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