Electric buses come to Reading

Reading's getting it's first electric buses.

The town's bus company has ordered six, to go on the roads later in the year. They will run on a mixture of electricity and diesel and have been partly paid for with a government grant of £650,000.

If the buses are successful, Reading Transport has told Heart it will order fourteen more to be delivered at the beginning of 2012.

Earlier this month, a report criticised the company for failing to consider the proper cost of green bio-fuel before using it. Last year that led to Reading Transport stopping using the fuel which turned out not to be cost efficient. But Chief Executive, James Freeman, denies this will happen with the electric buses, "A detailed business case was created to support the purchase proposal. Both the initial costs and economics of the project have been very carefully worked through."

The new hybrid buses will be 11.4 metres long so will hold more seats and have more room for buggies and wheelchairs than the models currently on the road.

The buses have no gearbox and use an electric motor for their final drive. Each one costs £300,000.

James Freeman said it has been possible to afford them due to a grant from the Green Bus Fund, "The hybrid specification of these buses has been encouraged by the government’s £30 million Green Bus Fund allocated last November, more than £2 million of which will be coming to Reading."

Of the £300,000 cost of each bus, £108,000 has come from the grant.

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