Bus bonds success for Big Lemon
Brighton-based The Big Lemon has achieved its target of gathering £405,000 funding for three Optare single-deckers ahead of deadline.
Last month, the operator launched a bond offer to raise money for the vehicles (announced in B&CB 1471, 16 March 2018). The bonds were offered on a three-year term at 4%, and a five-year term at 5%, with a minimum investment of £100. Three weeks in, and three weeks before the offer closed, the target has been reached. The three new buses have been ordered and are expected to enter service in the autumn.
A fourth bus is being retrofitted from diesel to electric by Magtec, the addition of which to its fleet will enable the company to run its network of six public bus services in Brighton & Hove with fully electric, zero emissions vehicles. The electricity powering them is harvested from solar panels on the roof of the bus depot. The Big Lemon has extended the target by another £135,000 to fund the extra bus and is offering both shares and bonds to members of the public.
Chief Executive, Tom Druitt, said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to all those who have invested in this project. It’s exciting to be on the verge of creating the UK’s first fully electric public bus network in Brighton & Hove and this will make a huge difference to air quality in the city.
“From a personal perspective the success of this campaign is very exciting as it shows that communities do not need big business or the banks to fund the improvements they so desperately need – people power can do it too. Because of the huge response we’ve had we’re extending our plans to cover one more bus which will enable us to ensure the network is fully electric even when a vehicle is having its four-weekly maintenance inspection.”