First’s new micro-hybrid fleet
First has unveiled 28 Wrightbus Streetlite micro hybrids for its West of England fleet, which are being used to provide services across Bristol. They were launched as the Bristol European Green Capital Year gets fully underway. In support of the environmentally friendly initiative in the city, the operator is in the process of changing part of the external design on its vehicles in the city, adding the Bristol Green Capital logo to the side of all of its buses. The logo will replace, in many instances, the ‘West of England’ name which has been emblazoned on the side of the company’s fleet since the livery was changed in 2012. A further 50 low emission buses (39 double deck and 11 single deck) are expected to be welcomed into the company’s West of England fleet in the coming months too (39 of which are expected to be used in Bristol).
The new micro hybrid buses were delivered at the end of 2014. Each is equipped with leather seats, free Wi-Fi and extra room for wheelchairs and passengers with buggies. In addition to these new buses, First also plans to upgrade 31 of its existing buses in Bristol by fitting thermal management technology to the exhaust systems. This equipment optimises the efficient reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions. The operator also plans to retrofit micro hybrid engine systems to the vehicles, which like the StreetLites, will help harness energy lost while braking, powering electrical systems instead, and thus saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions. This work is being made possible following a grant from the DfT, secured as a result of partnership working between First, Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.