Image Credit: Dan Sellers
CITY OF YORK Council has awarded more than £1.6 million in funding to five separate bus companies, including First Bus, as a plan to make the vehicles more environmentally friendly for the city. In total, the money will ‘retrofit’ or replace 99 buses in York.
Amongst the five companies that have been allocated money, First York has been given the greatest amount of funding with £1,188,000 to ‘retrofit’ or improve 66 of their vehicles, which may also include the University buses, the 66, N66 and 66A.
This is ahead of the launch of York’s Clean Air zone in the City of York on 31 January. After the launch, every bus operating more than five times a day on or within York’s inner ring road will be required to meet the Euro VI emission standard, or have a plan in place that will enable them to meet the standard before January 2021.The Euro VI standard sets maximum limits for certain harmful gases and particulate matter that a vehicle is allowed to emit.
Once fitted with the equipment required to reduce emissions, the buses must then operate on rates serving the Clean Air zone in York for a minimum of five years.Bus operator First York has already begun an initiative to upgrade its fleet to low emission vehicles. £800,000 has been invested into eight buses for the number 11 and 12 routes.
This is not the only aim of the Clean Air zone in York. Anti-idling is also a plan that is due to be launched with signs in place across the city urging people to switch off their engines while parked.
Clean Air Zones are being implemented across the country in many major cities. Drivers of the most polluting vehicles can be charged up to £100 a day to enter areas where councils believe the air to be toxic.
When asked for comment, Councillor Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “The launch of a fleet of 21 brand new electric Park and Ride vehicles during the coming months will also make a major contribution towards work to improve air quality in the city centre and will give York one of the largest fleets of electric buses in the country.
“The new vehicles are being funded by Park and Ride operator First York, with the help of a £2.2 million Low Emission Bus Fund grant from the government.”
This push for greener transport for York is in line with York City Council’s plan to ban cars from the city centre. This plan has been approved by councillors, and will be implemented at some point in 2023