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Electric buses to be trialled at Sturry Road park and ride in Canterbury

ByLydia Chantler-Hicks

A swish new electric bus is taking to the city's streets this month as part of a trial.

The single-decker vehicle will be operating on Canterbury's Sturry Road park and ride route for a week-long test starting on September 23.

Electric buses will be trialled at Sturry Road park and ride this month. Pic: Canterbury City Council
Electric buses will be trialled at Sturry Road park and ride this month. Pic: Canterbury City Council

The initiative aims to look at the viability of using such buses longer-term, and to give insight into the infrastructure that would be needed to support them.

It comes as part of a joint initiative between Kent County Council, Canterbury City Council and Stagecoach South East, which operates the city's three park and ride services on the city council's behalf.

In July, the council declared a climate emergency and set a target to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

One of the key projects it plans to focus on in coming months as part of its work to reach this target is ensuring buses in the next park and ride contract - beginning in October 2020 - are as environmentally friendly as possible.

The authority plans to investigate options including bio-fuel, hydrogen, electric-hybrid and fully electric buses.

Inside the bus which is to be trialled at Sturry Road park and ride. Pic: Canterbury City Council
Inside the bus which is to be trialled at Sturry Road park and ride. Pic: Canterbury City Council

Richard Moore, head of transport and environment at the city council, said: “Having the electric bus for a demonstration will allow us to assess the current position in terms of alternative fuels and understand the infrastructure needed to support such an operation.

"It will also give us a good insight into the range and comfort of a new fleet from a passenger perspective.

“Everyone is welcome to come and try it out and the views of our customers will be an important part of the trial.”

Stagecoach's Commercial Director, Matthew Arnold, said: “We're delighted to be able to bring this exciting new technology to Canterbury and are very grateful to the manufacturers for facilitating this.

"The trial will enable us to understand how electric buses could fit in to our operation and how we'd need to adapt accordingly.

Electric buses will be trialled at Sturry park and ride this month. Pic: Canterbury City Council (16067836)
Electric buses will be trialled at Sturry park and ride this month. Pic: Canterbury City Council (16067836)

"We'll be sharing what we learn with the city council and welcome feedback from customers on their experience.”

It comes ahead of a meeting on Thursday, at which the Canterbury Society plans to urge the city council to make park and ride services at Sturry Road, Wincheap and New Dover Road park and rides as environmentally friendly as possible.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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