Over £3m is to be invested into free electric shuttle buses that runs between the Broadmarsh Centre and the Victoria Centre.
The red centre – link electric buses have been around since 2009 where nearly £6 million was spent on modernising the bus network. Considering the savings on the running costs of these buses, they have recently become free of charge, encouraging people to park near the Broadmarsh Centre and use the buses instead of driving into the city centre.
The buses are sponsored by EON and powered by Nottingham’s own enviroenergy who burn the city’s waste to generate electricity. The electric buses offer a carbon saving of up to 40% in comparison to the diesel alternatives. That equates to nearly four tonnes of carbon that the electric buses are saving.
There are 40 electric buses at the moment and £3.2 million will be invested to make the 50 bus fleet the largest free electric bus fleet in Europe. £1.4 million of this investment comes from the Government’s National Green Bus Fund and the remaining £1.8 million will come from Nottingham’s Workplace Parking Levy. The total cost of the fleet when it is finished will exceed £13 million.
There are expected to be annual fuel savings of £250,00 over the ten new buses alone. There is also no vehicle excise duty on the buses making the venture almost free to run. Nottingham City Council has introduced 60 charging points across the City and have said they hope to increase this number over time. The buses can cover up to sixty miles of one eight hour charge meaning that shoppers can be almost continuously transported up the hill to the city centre.
David Thornhill from Nottingham Campaign for Better Transport said “Campaigning for the right transport policy is essential – it’s not about being totally anti car, it is about getting that balance right and we seem to have lost that balance in society.”
Nottingham residents, however that the buses are neither necessary or popular. Many didn’t even know the route existed and that it was free. However as the amount of buses increase and the charging times decrease, more and more people are expected to start using the facility.