Watt a story! First electric buses hit the road in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport

The First Bus Solent team with Spinnaker Tower lit up green to celebrate the buses' arrival.

The First Bus Solent team with Spinnaker Tower lit up green to celebrate the buses' arrival.

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: April 8, 2024 | Updated: 8th April 2024

The first of Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport’s new electric buses have taken to the roads.

By summer all 62 electric buses in the £28.6m project with First Bus South, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council will be in service.

Routes covered are:

  • 1 Gunwharf – Southsea
  • 3 Fareham – Southsea
  • 9/9A Fareham – Gosport
  • X4 The Hard – Fareham – Southampton
  • X5 Gosport – Fareham – Southampton
  • The Eclipse rapid transit bus from Fareham – Gosport for the ferry connection to Portsmouth

First Bus South says the state-of-the-art, British made zero emission buses from manufacturer Wrightbus, will mean cleaner air and quieter streets for local people.

Offering a smoother, more comfortable ride, on board they are fitted with features including USB charging points, on screen and audio announcements and the latest in accessibility design.

The joint project to bring electric buses to the Solent region was secured with £12.7m from government ZEBRA (Zero Emission Bus Regional Area) funding along with a £15.9m investment from First Bus South, the operator of bus services in the Solent region.

Once all the new electric vehicles (EVs) are in service by the Summer, it means nearly half of the total fleet (42 per cent) operated by First Bus Solent will be electric.

The area where these new electric buses will be operating includes two Clean Air Zones.

The buses will operate from First Bus Solent’s Hoeford depot in Fareham, where works are taking place to support the infrastructure for charging and operation of the new electric fleet.

Simon Goff, First Bus South’s Managing Director, said: “So much hard work and planning has gone into getting us to this point and I’m so excited to see the first EV buses go out onto the roads to serve customers in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.

“These vehicles offer significant environmental benefits as they emit zero tailpipe emissions, which means better air quality for local people.

“What’s fantastic is that they’ll also improve the journey experience for our customers, providing a smoother, more comfortable ride.

“We hope that our passengers are as pleased with them as we are.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to be supporting First Bus South in the drive to transform transport in the region and help build a more sustainable future.

“First Bus South, like us, is at the forefront of new and exciting technology, and our partnership enhances the reputation we have forged in playing an important part in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

“We have great ambitions both in the UK and across Europe to have many more of our buses on the roads in the future.

“All of our buses have been built in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, lending further support to the wider regional economy and allowing us to create green jobs as we continue in our growth.”

James and Niall, Co-Founders of NovaturaTo get the best of Hampshire Biz News straight to your inbox every week, sign up for our newsletter!

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