Go-Ahead’s largest electric bus operator has celebrated the addition of nine Voltra electric buses to expand its fully electric bus fleet in the North East region. The buses are the result of a £2 million investment with top-up funding from the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Fund.
Go-North East’s zero-emission buses will help to improve air quality in the region as it backs the Government’s ‘net zero’ commitment. The new striking futuristic buses will be serving the Q3 route which runs from Great Park to Wallsend via Newcastle City. Go-Ahead’s investment reflects the company’s commitment to a ‘net zero’ bus fleet by 2035.
The Voltra buses boast a range of onboard features to deliver a bus of the future experience, including air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, wireless and USB charging phone holders and ‘tap-on tap-off’ contactless is available for passengers to pay for their travel through Google Pay or Apple Pay. The Voltra buses will be charged overnight at the state-of-the-art Riverside depot in Gateshead.
Go North East, Managing Director, Nigel Featham said: “Our Voltra buses run on electricity sourced with green credentials, but Voltra is far more than just an electric bus fleet. We’ve looked at every detail, working with Pelican Yutong and other suppliers, to maximise the use of technology and innovation. We’re providing high standards in bus travel including customer comfort, information, and ticketing.
“We hope that by adding to our zero-emission bus fleet, we can help flip the switch on people’s behaviour and see more people across our region leave the car behind to help reduce congestion on our roads and improve air quality for us all.”
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Buses are at the heart of our public transport network which is why we are determined to drive down bus emissions even further, providing an extra £200 million for zero-emission buses.
“Our Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme has given operators such as Go-Ahead the opportunity to provide greener connections, reduce congestion and improve air quality across the country and it’s brilliant to see even more hit the road.”
Christian Schreyer, Go-Ahead Group CEO said: “The importance of sustainable travel is growing, reflecting trends in climate change, digitalisation, urbanisation, and demographics. There are increasing funding opportunities for bus lanes, traffic management and improvements to bus stops, helping to reduce journey times and improve the reliability of services. Go-Ahead see opportunities to grow by encouraging people to leave their cars at home and improving our services to make bus travel more attractive for our customers.
“We’ve set ambitious, but deliverable, targets in our ‘Next Billion Journey’s business strategy, and there is an exciting future for Go-Ahead.”
In November 2020, Go-Ahead launched the first fully electric bus fleet in the North East of England, taking Go North East’s total of electric buses to 18 with this latest development. Long established in the area, Go North East employs over 2,000 people, facilitating 175,000 journeys every day on a fleet of nearly 600 buses and coaches across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and into the Tees Valley.