Electrics back after blaze
First in York’s Optare electric buses were due to go back in service this week following their temporary withdrawal. The buses were taken off the road after one of the Versa EVs caught fire last week whilst being driven on York’s Park and Ride service 9. During the buses’ absence, the company has been able to operate a full service with the existing fleet through ‘flexible but temporary management of its internal processes’. Following the incident, the operator said in a statement that it would continue to work closely with the vehicle manufacturer, undertaking further precautionary safety checks on the other 11 electric buses in its fleet. At the time of going to press, First said it was working with its partners to identify the cause of the blaze.
The Optare Versa EV was travelling into York and was involved in what the operator described as a ‘thermal incident’ on The Stonebow at 11.40. According to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the blaze was caused by an electrical fault and the bus sustained considerable damage. Fire Service Crews from Acomb and Huntington attended the incident. A dozen customers were travelling at the time, but none of them reported injuries, with the driver of the bus applauded for his actions in evacuating the vehicle when prompted by a warning light. The attending fire crew used breathing apparatus, hose reel jets and a thermal imaging camera at the scene.