Cambridge welcomes electric double decker buses

Cambridge’s bus network is going electric following the launch yesterday (May 14, 2023) of services that are part of a £15m investment into 30 zero emissions buses.

Stagecoach/Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

Electric double decker buses have been introduced into service at the Madingley, Trumpington and Newmarket Road Park and Ride sites. Further services are set to operate from June 4 at the Milton and Babraham Park and Ride sites, and from mid-June on the Citi 2 service. At this point the five Cambridge Park and Ride and Citi 2 services will be fully electrified.

In a statement, Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “These 30 electric vehicles are marking a turning point for public transport in the region. Removing 30 diesel buses from our historic city and replacing them with these new vehicles will not only have a positive impact on the health of our region by reducing air and noise pollution, but will also help in the broader fight against climate change as we embrace these new and exciting technologies.”

The launch of the vehicles took place in Duxford on May 12, solidifying a commitment to a rolling bus replacement programme to replace 30 vehicles a year across the Combined Authority area, with an ambition to convert the region’s entire bus fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2030.

The programme has been funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Stagecoach East and the Department for Transport following a successful bid to the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.

“Nearly a third of our Cambridge fleet is now electric,” said Darren Roe, managing director at Stagecoach East. “It’s a big investment and part of Stagecoach’s sustainability strategy as we work alongside councils and other partners to decarbonise our nationwide bus network and transition to a 100 per cent electric bus fleet by 2035.”

The Volvo BZL buses are full battery electric, emitting 72 per cent less well-to-wheel CO2 emissions than an equivalent size diesel bus. They can travel on average 200 miles between a full charge, which takes approximately five hours, and uses around 1.2kWh of electricity per kilometre. The buses also use regenerative braking to recharge the batteries every time the bus slows down.

To accommodate their expanding fleet, Stagecoach East is also investing £2m into charging infrastructure for its Cambridge depot, to provide smart charging overnight.

The new buses take Stagecoach East’s total zero-emission fleet up to 32, joining their current two electric vehicles which have been in service since February 2020 as part of a jointly funded partnership with the Greater Cambridge Partnership.