Leicester has launched a new electric bus service taking passengers on an orbital route connecting key sites around the city.

The 30-mile Orbital service will operate from Leicester General Hospital, and use an initial fleet of six Yutong electric buses that feature on-board displays, real time information and contactless ticketing.

This will connect estates and suburbs on the city’s outer ring road and beyond, with locations such as shopping centres, hospitals, employment areas and other key transport infrastructure.

The partnership project, with operator Centrebus, also includes a new electric bus charging depot at the firm’s Thurmaston depot.

These electric buses and charging depot have been partially funded (£1.21m) by the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and combine to make the first ZEBRA funded project to be delivered in the country.

The new service replaces the 40 Circleline service and will come into operation on October 24.

Leicester City Council has invested £2.11m in the project, with the aim of removing a predicted 177 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and reducing operational costs by more than £60,000 a year.

Cllr Adam Clarke, Leicester deputy city mayor for transport, clean air and climate emergency, said, “The Orbital route is a very well-used service, and switching over to the latest electric vehicles means another significant part of the city’s public transport system will now benefit from cleaner, more modern buses.”

David Brookes, director of Centrebus, said: “We have worked closely with our colleagues at the city council to introduce these state-of-the-art electric buses to the newly-named Orbital route.”


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