The number 19 bus route that runs South-west out the city along North Deeside Road to Culter has been the first to receive Aberdeen’s brand new fleet of hydrogen buses.
The new hydrogen buses were launched in Aberdeen on January 28th.
The brand spanking new bus is already being regularly spotted on the North Deeside line although it’s difficult to hear with a slight whine as the bus pulls away instead of the usual roar of the old diesel engines.
The route takes in Mannofield, Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber before finishing in Culter.
So far the project has cost £8.3m with each bus coming in at £500,000 a piece.
“The 15 new buses will be more frugal to operate, should provide significant improvements to the bus operator, whilst enhancing the passenger experience.”
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The 60 seater double-decker buses are the first of fifteen to come to the city and emit no emissions.
Aberdeen City Council is reported to have already ordered another ten.
Local councillor for the ward of Lower Deeside Phillip Bell is heavily involved in encouraging hydrogen infrastructure into Aberdeen City.
Councillor Bell was delighted with the new buses and told The Reporter the technology is developing fast and becoming far more cost efficient.
Councillor Bell said: “The fifteen new buses were significantly less costly to purchase than the City’s first generation vehicles, will be more frugal to operate, should provide significant improvements to the bus operator, whilst enhancing the passenger experience.”
The project has support from Bell’s council leaders with both Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden approving the new buses despite the cost.
Council co-leader Laing said: “Aberdeen is one of Europe’s pioneering hydrogen cities. The new double-decker buses are a great addition. They push established hydrogen boundaries and will greatly assist us in tackling air pollution in the city.”
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director at First Bus which runs the fleet in Aberdeen, was both encouraging of the new hydrogen fleet but also cautious about the technology.
Jarvis raised the point about the price of the vehicles as well as their reliability when speaking to the Press & Journal.
Jarvis said: “Previously we had four hydrogen vehicles and they weren’t the most reliable. It was rare to get all four into production at any one time over the entire project.
“The cost of some of this technology is very high compared with bus fares. You need a lot of them to pay off a half-a-million pound bus.”
The project is funded in partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Scottish Government grants and the European Union JIVE project (Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe).