Bus company Stagecoach has brought nine electric buses to the firm’s hometown of Perth.
The firm’s CEO Martin Griffiths was joined by transport minister Graeme Dey to show off the new zero-emission vehicles in the city centre.
Graeme, who was in Dundee just days before for a launch there, spoke about his pleasure at seeing momentum build around decarbonising public transport.
And he urged people to set aside apprehensions over the pandemic and use public transport.
The nine electric buses will be placed on the 1 and 2 routes in Perth, stopping at destinations including PRI, Letham, the city centre and McDiarmid Park.
But the company said there is no date yet for when the vehicles will hit the road.
Stagecoach is also launching electric buses in Kilmarnock and Aberdeen, bringing the combined total to 46 zero-emission vehicles.
‘Perth is our home town’
Martin described the launch as the “start of a longer journey” to get more low and zero-emission vehicles on the road.
Stagecoach aims to have a fully zero-emission fleet by 2035.
He said: “Perth is our home town. Stagecoach was born here 40 years ago.
“It always makes a big difference to passengers when they feel and see new investment coming into their towns.”
The buses have been supplied by Falkirk-based manufacturer Alexander Dennis.
Martin is proud to work with Scottish firms, making the whole enterprise even more environmentally friendly.
“Alexander Dennis is manufacturing, in my view, world-leading technology in the bus sector,” he added.
“It’s really important that we have a strong, healthy bus manufacturing base on our doorstep.”
What challenges does greener transport face?
Stagecoach is keeping a keen eye on how electric vehicle charging infrastructure develops.
The firm has been working with SSE to ensure their new electric buses are kept fully charged.
Martin said: “The infrastructure is critical, as you can imagine.
“You can start to see the emergence of the technology, but we’ve got to get the infrastructure to go alongside it and be able to roll that out quickly.”
Martin said they will work with the likes of SSE and local authorities to “make sure that infrastructure gets put in place”.
Scottish jobs boost
Transport minister Graeme Dey said the local link-ups seen between Tayside and Falkirk is “great for Scottish jobs”.
“We are seeing momentum beginning to build, with tangible evidence of these buses appearing on our streets.”
Mr Dey is encouraged by conversations with other public transport companies “large and small”.
“There’s a level of ambition and they clearly get this,” he said.
The Angus South MSP hopes people make the most of the electric buses and hop on.
“The main thing is to encourage people out of their cars and on to public transport.
“Buses reach parts of cities that rail wont.”