A TRAVEL provider has announced a major investment of £15.7 million into new electric buses that will serve the Ayrshire area.

Stagecoach West Scotland unveiled its fleet of 27 fully electric buses at an official launch event on February 20 at the historic Robert Burns Birthplace – Burns Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire.

The investment of around £15.7 million sees 25 Volvo BZL single-deck buses, the first to operate in the UK added to the West Scotland electric fleet.

In addition, two Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) BYD single-deck buses will be introduced, taking the total ADL fleet to 17.

Local communities will benefit from 48 electric buses being used on routes around Ayrshire as the operator makes progress toward reducing its emissions and air pollution.

At the launch, guests, including Siobhian Brown MSP, were able to get a first glance at the new electric buses and chatted with employees from Stagecoach.

Stagecoach West Scotland Managing Director Fiona Doherty said: “This is an exciting day for Stagecoach as we launch our new fleet of electric buses, which will serve communities in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine with zero-emission public transport.

"This multimillion-pound investment is part of our strategy to decarbonise our fleet and bring state-of-the-art bus travel to our customers in the urban areas we serve.

"Bus travel is one of the greenest forms of transport available and we encourage everyone to leave their cars at home and try our new electric buses.”

Stagecoach welcomed the investment in new electric buses for Ayrshire, supported by the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “With this significant introduction of 27 new electric buses, Stagecoach continues to demonstrate a real commitment to help meet Scotland’s world leading climate change targets.

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“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to support the ambitions of Stagecoach West Scotland, as part of our Mission Zero for Transport, by providing £8million through our Scottish Zero Emission Bus Scheme.

“Choosing bus is already a fantastic choice for our environment. Zero emission buses offer even more benefits.

"Communities across Ayrshire will benefit from improved air quality and reduced noise pollution, helping more people to choose bus.”

The launch is part of Stagecoach’s drive to target a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035.

The bus operator has invested in installing 21 new charging stations during recent upgrades to their Kilmarnock and Ayr depots.

The buses will operate from morning to night on a single daily charge with no engine noise or emissions, and are set to be available from March 2023. 

The new fleet offers facilities including USB charging points, app, and contactless onboard payment.