New video footage shows behind the scenes work taking place on the fleet of hydrogen powered buses set to operate on the region’s roads.
Similar to the new Merseyrail trains which should be entering service early in the new year, the 20 buses have been directly purchased by the City Region Combined Authority and are set to enhance Merseyside’s transport offer. The region is expecting to receive the first of the zero-emission hydrogen powered buses early next year.
Passengers on the 10A route - the busiest in the region - will then be the first to experience the state-of-the-art buses manufactured by Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL). The Combined Authority is projecting that the first journeys on the new buses will take place by late spring 2023.
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In a new video produced by the Combined Authority, footage shows work taking place on the vehicles, with a large team of mechanics and engineers constructing the 20-strong fleet. The short video features Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and other figures working on their introduction detailing some of the new features and benefits of the buses.
This includes increased capacity for wheelchair users and passengers with prams or buggies. Other additional features include wireless and USB phone charging, internet access and reading lights above seats.
The vehicles will also be fitted out with camera wing mirrors to improve safety, audio and visual announcements for next stops, with high definition onboard screens to update passengers on journey progress, next stops and onward travel connections in real time.
The 10A route which the first bus will operate on has also been earmarked as the region’s very first ‘Green Bus Route.’ These routes aim to make bus journeys faster and more reliable for passengers through a combination of priority lanes, traffic signal upgrades and remodelled junctions to prioritise buses over other road traffic. According to the combined authority, community engagement work on these routes will begin in the new year with a view to starting infrastructural work when possible.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: "Buses are the backbone of our public transport system - with around 400,000 journeys taken by bus in our area every day. With so many people relying on them to get about, I'm on a mission to raise the standard of services for local passengers.
"Designed in consultation with the public, our new hydrogen buses will be the among the most sophisticated, accessible fleet in the entire country with larger, more comfortable seats and more space for wheelchairs and prams, as well as audio visual announcements and a whole host of other smart features such as WiFi and USB charging ports - and best of all, they're owned by us, the public.
"They're completely emission-free too, so the only thing that will come out of the exhaust will be water vapour. While it goes without saying that better air quality is a big win for our residents' health, and for our planet, it's non-negotiable if we want to reach our target to be net zero by 2040 - at least a decade before national government.
"This is just a down payment on my ambitions for the future of our buses. We're working to bring our buses back where they belong - under public control. Reregulation will give us greater control over fares, routes and timetables to help us put money back into the pockets of our residents - we've already shown the difference we can make with the little funding we do have, having brought the cost of a single adult journey to down its lowest price in years at just £2, and have frozen the cost of a MyTicket at £2.20, giving young people unlimited, all-day travel in our region.
"And we're not stopping there - we've invested £500m in our new publicly owned trains, which will be the most sophisticated, accessible fleet in the country, alongside the £42m we're investing in active travel infrastructure across the region. It all forms part of my vision to build a London-style, integrated transport system that makes travel cheaper, faster, cleaner, easier and more reliable - that puts the 'public' back into public transport."
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