'˜Transformational' trial of electric bus

A new trial of a fully electric double-decker bus in Leeds is the 'start of a transformation' towards greener travel in the city, according to a transport chief.

First Leeds and Yorkshire bus manufacturer Optare have partnered up to trial the Metrodecker EV in Leeds following a successful trial in York. 10th October 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

The “Metrodecker EV” on Monday started being used for two weeks by the First Leeds operator, serving the park and ride sites at Elland Road and Temple Green.

The zero-emission bus has the capacity to carry 99 passengers and can travel around 150 miles from one overnight charging session.

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West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Chairman, Coun Keith Wakefield, said: “I’m absolutely positive this is the start of a transformation in our public vehicles.”

The bus goes by Elland Road.

Following a successful scheme in York, the bus is being trialled as part of First Leeds’s commitment to investing £71m in 284 new ultra-low emission buses for the city.

Managing director Paul Matthews said that it is not currently practical to invest in a fleet of fully electric double-deckers because they do not yet have the power to operate throughout the day.

But he added: “The future has to be zero-emission vehicles. There’s absolutely no pollutants that come out of the bus at all. We think this is the future.”

Sherburn in Elmet company Optare unveiled the Metrodecker EV in 2016.

The bus goes by Elland Road.

Commercial manager Robert Drewery said: “These trials are the first of a purpose built electric double deck bus outside London and an important step forward in improving air quality in all our towns and cities.”

The trial will continue in the capital.