City region hydrogen buses move a step closer

As part Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s plans for the Liverpool city region become net zero carbon, the Combined Authority has picked ADL to build a fleet of hydrogen buses. Tony McDonough reports

Image of one of Liverpool city region’s new Hydrogen buses


Well known bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis (ADL) has secured the contract to build Liverpool city region’s new flee of hydrogen-powered buses.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says the vehicles will be purchased through the Liverpool city region’s Transforming Cities Fund. Like the new £500m train fleet for the Merseyrail network, the buses will be owned by the people of the city region.

They will be part of a new generation of hydrogen vehicles from ADL. The buses are designed to be more energy efficient to cover greater distances between refuelling. And they will carry a range of special features for passengers including wireless phone charging and internet access.

The vehicles will also have improved accessibility – with increased capacity for wheelchair users, and audio and visual announcements for next stops. It is planned they will initially serve the region’s busiest route – the 10A between St Helens and Liverpool city centre, jointly operated by Arriva and Stagecoach.

Subject to final agreement of project plan the first vehicles could be delivered as soon as 2022. The hydrogen bus project is a key part of the Metro Mayor’s Vision for Bus, which commits to build a better, more reliable and affordable bus network for the city region. Broader plans also include the building of hydrogen refuelling facilities, which will be the first of their kind in the North West, due to begin later in the year.

Mr Rotheram has set a target for the Liverpool city region to become net zero carbon by 2040 at the latest – at least a decade before national targets. The hydrogen buses will be an important addition to the region’s existing fleet, which is already more than 70% low emissions.

It comes just days after the Metro Mayor fired up the world’s first trial to produce glass using hydrogen instead of natural gas. The project is taking place at the Pilkington factory in St Helens.

He said: “82% of all journeys on public transport in our region are taken by bus and this new fleet will give people a clean, green and comfortable way to get about. Reforming our bus network is a massive part of my plan for an integrated London-style transport network that makes traveling around our region quick, cheap and reliable.

“We want to be doing our bit to tackle climate change and improve air quality across the region too. These buses will be a really important part of making that happen.

“Alongside the hydrogen refuelling facilities we’re building in St Helens and some of the other exciting green projects we’re investing in, our region is leading the Green Industrial Revolution.”

ADL president and managing director Paul Davies said: “Designed and built in Britain, these buses will help to secure skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the bus manufacturing industry which is hugely important as we continue the decarbonisation journey.”

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