First Unveils Fleet of Micro-Hybrid Buses

Feb. 5, 2015

As the Bristol European Green Capital year gets fully underway, bus operator First has unveiled its fleet of low carbon certified micro hybrid buses, which are being used to provide services across the city.

To further show its support for the Green Capital Year and to give the vehicles an even stronger local identity, the company is also in the process of changing part of the external design on its vehicles in the city, adding the Bristol Green Capital logo to the side of all of its buses. The logo will replace, in many instances, the ‘West of England’ name which has been emblazoned on the side of the company’s fleet since the livery was changed in 2012.

First currently has 28 Streetlite micro hybrid buses in its West of England fleet. A further 50 low emission buses are expected to be welcomed into the company’s West of England fleet in the coming months too.

The new micro hybrid buses – which were delivered at the end of 2014 - are the current jewel in First’s crown: each is equipped with leather seats, free wifi for customers and extra room for wheelchairs and passengers with buggies. They are also fitted with the latest technology which captures energy during braking which can then be used later to power other parts of the bus. The micro hybrid buses are also lighter than conventional single deck buses and, together with advanced engine technology, are around 30 percent more fuel efficient overall, which also means they produce 30 percent less CO2.​​  

In addition to the new Streetlite micro hybrid buses, the company also plans to upgrade 31 of its existing buses in Bristol to fit thermal management technology to the exhaust systems (to optimise the efficient reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions) and retro-fit micro hybrid engine systems to the vehicles. This work is being made possible following a grant from the Department of Transport – secured as a result of partnership working between First, Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

James Freeman, managing director of First West of England, said, “These state of the art micro hybrid buses are great news for our customers, the city and the wider environment more generally. Micro hybrids are some of the most fuel efficient buses in the world, producing significantly less carbon dioxide emissions than conventional buses.”​

“It’s also great that we have so much other investment going into our local fleet – with older vehicles being retrofitted to the same micro hybrid standard, and some more brand new buses expected in the course of the financial year.

“As a major sponsor of Bristol Green Capital it’s important that we do what we can to bridge the environmental gap, and we’re doing just that by investing in, and bringing to the city new, low emission vehicles. Our work in this area continues too, with us set to experiment and trial other new technologies this year too. Ultimately we want to encourage people to get on board with public transport, to see the bus as what it is – part of the solution to an increasingly congested world.

“To further underline our commitment to the Green Capital year we have substantially changed the branding on our buses. This helps raise awareness of the Green Capital year, and similarly gives us an even stronger local identity.” ​

Cllr Mark Bradshaw, assistant mayor for the Place Directorate, added, “I welcome this investment in new vehicles which will play a part in helping to reduce vehicle emissions in Bristol. Bristol is very much open to new thinking about bus and vehicle technology and fuels - as evidenced by recent initiatives and successful bids for government funding."