City of York Council awards over £1.6m to five bus companies

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Before the launch of a Clean Air Zone in York city centre later this month, City of York Council has awarded more than £1.6 million in funding to five bus companies to help them to make their vehicles more environmentally-friendly.

Bus operators were invited to bid for Clean Air Zone (CAZ) funding to help them meet the cost of ‘retrofitting’ their vehicles with cleaner exhausts to meet the Euro VI emission standard, which sets maximum limits for certain harmful gases and particulate matter that a vehicle is allowed to emit. A total of £1,654,000 has been allocated as follows:

Arriva Yorkshire: £252,000 to retrofit 14 buses.

First York: £1,188,000 to retrofit 66 buses.

Harrogate Coach Travel: £70,000 to retrofit 5 buses.

Reliance Motor Services: £72,000 to retrofit 4 buses and a further £54,000 towards the cost of three new Euro VI buses (total grant of £126,000).

Transdev: £18,000 to retrofit one bus.

A total of 93 buses will either be ‘retrofitted’ or replaced. When the Clean Air Zone launches on 31 January, every bus operating frequent services 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 within 12 months. Once fitted with the equipment required to reduce emissions, the buses must then operate on routes serving the Clean Air Zone in York city centre for a minimum of five years.

From January 31, 2020, the only buses that will be exempt from the requirements are those that enter the Clean Air Zone fewer than five times each day and those due to be retrofitted or replaced before 31 January 2021.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Executive Member for Transport, said: “These grant allocations mean that, as the year progresses, bus emissions will gradually decrease as new and retrofitted buses come into service. By February 2021, all but a very small number of infrequent bus services will meet the Euro VI emission standard.

“This represents a major step forwards in our drive to improve air quality in the city centre by tackling the causes of pollution, and will benefit the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works in York, as well as visitors to the city.

“Of course, the buses operating in the Clean Air Zone will also operate throughout the city, so by declaring a city centre CAZ we will be improving air quality across York.”

Councillor Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “The launch of a fleet of 21 brand new electric Park & 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 & Ride operator First York, with the help of a £2.2 million Low Emission Bus Fund grant from the Government.”