First Solent begins electric bus infrastructure work 

Work has begun in Fareham on transforming local bus operator First Solent’s Hoeford depot to operate 62 brand new electric single-deck buses from March 2024.

When complete, electric vehicle charging infrastructure at Hoeford bus depot will enable the fleet of 62 electric buses to run across Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.

The project is the result of a partnership with Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council. An investment of £12.7m has been secured from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) government funding, alongside significant capital investment of around £15.9m from First Bus South – which operates First Solent – to electrify bus services from the Hoeford depot.

The electric buses will replace part of First Bus South’s current diesel fleet and overall, it is expected that each electric bus will save up to 60 tonnes of tailpipe emissions per year.    

The British made electric buses will provide smoother, quieter bus journeys for passengers and will run on routes across the Solent area, and the Eclipse rapid transit corridor.

Simon Goff, First Bus South Managing Director, said: “This is just the start, and there are exciting times ahead for public transport across the Solent area. I am proud to be part of this extremely important partnership with Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council, as we support their plans for better air quality and cleaner, greener travel.”

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Rob Humby, said: “The area where these new electric buses will be operating has two Clean Air Zones.  These are locations where poor air quality is damaging to public health, so this investment marks a major milestone in cleaning up our whole transport system.  If you don’t already use the bus, I encourage you to try, benefitting from the £2 flat fare.”

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, Portsmouth City Council said:  “The partnership with First and Hampshire County Council has enabled us to take huge steps in the right direction in supporting the switch to sustainable methods of travel. We have a vision to transform bus services in our city and working together, we are able to achieve that. I look forward to seeing the development of the Hoeford site, and the arrival of electric buses early next year.”

Image courtesy of First Bus

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