First Glasgow bus depot to be UK’s largest electric charging station

The UK’s largest charging station is to be created at a First Glasgow depot with space for 300 electric buses.

The number of chargers at the city’s main bus operator’s Caledonia depot on the south side is to be doubled to 162 from this summer as part of a £64 million project.

First Glasgow’s electric fleet is due to expand from two to 22 from September and 148 by March 2023, built by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk.

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The first entered service in January last year.

Andrew Jarvis of First Bus with Transport Secretary Michael Matheson. Picture: First Bus

It will mean nearly half the buses in the depot, which is also the UK’s biggest, will be electric.

First Bus has pledged to buy only zero-emission buses from December next year and operate no diesel buses by 2035.

The changes are being hastened by Glasgow’s city centre low emission zone, which can only be used by buses with the cleanest diesel engines that have “Euro 6” engines.

The SNP also wants most diesel buses withdrawn by 2023.

First Glasgow plans to increase the number of its electric buses from two to 148 within two years. Picture: First Bus

First will also be adding 125 buses with Euro 6 engines by the end of next year, but that will still leave it with 10 per cent of non-compliant vehicles unable to use the zone.

Most of its buses have numbers – between three and six – on their rear edges denoting their engine type, such as a “6” for Euro 6, with lower numbers indicating they are more polluting.

Caledonia depot will see 11 more dual direct current rapid chargers installed, followed by a further 69 by the end of next year.

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The move to electric has been funded by £35.6m from First Bus and £28.2m from the Scottish Government’s Scottish ultra low bus scheme.

First Bus UK managing director Janette Bell said: “We’re at the forefront of the green transport revolution and continue to fast track our efforts to surpass passenger expectations.

“We are making excellent progress on our commitments to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.

"By improving the air quality in the areas we operate within, we are supporting the health of our customers, and by cutting carbon emissions we are putting our weight behind Scotland’s ambitious plans for tackling the global threat of climate change.”

Andrew Jarvis, First Bus’s portfolio managing director, who is responsible for its operations in Scotland and the other devolved nations, said: “This is an ambitious and exciting plan that will have positive implications for the entire city of Glasgow.

"We’re thrilled that [Scottish Government agency] Transport Scotland understood our vision from the very beginning and that we are starting work on this large-scale project that will help us move closer towards a zero-emission fleet.”

Net Zero, Energy and Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the Scottish Government funding “is bringing green jobs and opportunities across Scotland, including for ScottishPower working on the electrical infrastructure in Glasgow and for Alexander Dennis in Falkirk leading on the manufacturing of new fully electric buses.

“Working in partnership, including through our bus decarbonisation task force, we can accelerate the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet and support Scotland’s world leading net zero target.”

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