Tuesday 23 April 2024
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Mansfield: £13 million for 23 new electric buses

A £13 million investment has been announced which will see 23 high-quality electric buses enter service on bus routes around Mansfield as part of Nottinghamshire’s transition towards net zero.

Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with Stagecoach East Midlands has been successful in securing £2.8m in funding from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA 2) programme, with the remaining £10.2m investment provided by Stagecoach East Midlands.

The 10 single-deckers and 13 double-deckers will operate on services 1, 6, 7 and 16 and should be in operation by 2026.

Stagecoach East Midlands currently operate two electric buses in Mansfield on behalf of the county council on the 240 service, but these 23 vehicles will be the first electric buses to enter service on commercially operated routes in the Mansfield area.

The new fleet will replace diesel-run buses and will boast superior comfort and quality along with enhanced accessibility features.

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An exciting spin-off brokered by the county council will see Stagecoach East Midlands and West Notts College partner together to help grow the skill base of students currently completing their studies in automotive engineering.

Students will have the opportunity to complete work experience alongside expert engineers at Stagecoach, boosting their chances of gaining apprenticeships upon completion of their studies. In addition, West Notts College will provide education opportunities for Stagecoach staff to help with internal progression and enhance their future opportunities within the company.

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I’m delighted that Nottinghamshire has been chosen to receive the ZEBRA 2 funding so we can deliver on our mission to reduce emissions across the county.

“Having 23 brand new electric buses replacing the current diesel-run vehicles will be an immense help towards achieving our goal.

“With passengers’ needs in mind and helping them remain independent, the new vehicles will have enhanced accessibility features, including a passenger announcement system, hearing loop, and a second wheelchair bay.

“I’m delighted that West Notts College and Stagecoach have agreed to work together to offer vital work experience and training opportunities to give students the tools and knowledge for them to take into the world of employment.”

Matt Cranwell Managing Director at Stagecoach said:

“A great deal of work has been carried out in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council to pull together a strong funding bid to help fully kick start our electric vehicle journey in Mansfield and the surrounding area.

“We are therefore thrilled to hear that the Department for Transport has seen the potential in our vision for bus services in Nottinghamshire and will be supporting this next crucial step by providing funding that will help purchase new electric vehicles and the required infrastructure at our bus depot.

“Electric vehicles will help lower overall emissions and hopefully encourage others to use the bus which will assist in reducing congestion within the communities we serve overall. Stagecoach aims to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035 and therefore this is an important milestone in working towards this objective.”

Gavin Peake, Director of IT, Estates and Learning Resources at West Nottinghamshire County College, said: “Our partnership with Stagecoach will provide students with significant work experience and opportunities to learn about the maintenance of electric vehicles in a workplace setting, preparing them to become the workforce of the future in these emerging technologies.

“This will increase the supply of quality applicants for Stagecoach to recruit as apprentices, while also supporting these skilled young people to gain relevant employment elsewhere within the transport and automotive sector.

“As an added benefit, the new electric buses will serve routes used by many of our students to get to and from college, using their West Notts College Travel Pass. Not only will this improve their journeys, but it will also provide reassurance that their mode of transport is better for the environment.”

The new fleet of electric buses should be in operation by March 2026, with Stagecoach East Midlands completing a major investment to upgrade its Sutton Road depot to provide the necessary vehicle charging infrastructure.

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