Region's first zero emission Fuel Cell Electric bus service launched at Gatwick

23 October 2018

A prototype fuel cell electric double-deck bus was shown in public for the first time at Gatwick's Annual Transport Forum on Friday 12th October.

In a first for the region, the new technology will soon trailed with an in-service trial of the bus run by local service provider Metrobus on the company's Fastway 100 service between Crawley, Gatwick Airport and Reigate. Metrobus expects to follow this with an order for 20 single deck fuel cell electric buses to expand provision of zero emission journeys and improve local air quality.

During the trial, the fuel cell electric powered double decker bus will operate alongside conventional low emission buses on the Route and will be refuelled at the Metrobus depot at Manor Royal Business Park.  Metrobus is already running a zero emission electric bus trial on its Route 400 between Caterham, Redhill, Horley, Gatwick Airport, Manor Royal, Crawley and East Grinstead.

Gatwick has an established relationship with Metrobus to support innovation and encourage bus use within the local communities, including many employees working at the airport.  Gatwick has also just increased its financial support for local bus services to help ensure that sustainable travel options operate during early mornings, evenings and weekends.

Also highlighted at the Transport Forum was the success of the airport’s new staff car share scheme, which sees staff who give lifts to colleagues given preferential airport parking, in addition to saving on fuel costs.  Vehicle emission savings are also recorded and after only two months the scheme already has 400 members who have collectively saved over 20,000 vehicle miles, eliminating 7,009g of NOx and 8,230kg of CO2.

Due to the high level of take up among staff additional preferential parking bays are being added to support the popularity of the scheme.

Alastair Darling delivered the keynote speech at Gatwick’s Transport Forum, which is attended by stakeholders and partners from around the region and celebrates recent successes and innovation, such as the Metrobus hydrogen bus initiative. 

The Forum comes just a month after the UK’s current Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, experienced Gatwick’s new airport electric car sharing service – a UK airport first – and a flexible, zero emissions option for getting on and off the airport.

Other transport projects highlighted at the Forum included:

  • The Smart Motorway project on the M23 which will deliver improved journey times and reduce congestion by 2020
  • The uplift in rail services through Gatwick which means a train now leaves the airport for London every four minutes

Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“As an airport we are determined to increase sustainable travel options for our passengers and staff by supporting transport initiatives that help to improve the environment.

“Our new staff car-pooling service is already generating impressive environmental savings.  I also expect our electric car sharing scheme to be the first in what will become a wider network across the South East. 

“The new hydrogen powered bus service is yet another example of the region’s transport partners leading the way by adopting the latest technology and turning it into a sustainable public transport option.”

Nick Hill, Commercial Director, Metrobus, said:

"We are delighted to be continuing our valued partnership with Gatwick Airport on this exciting project, by working together over many years, we have managed to ensure that Gatwick Airport, it's workers and passengers enjoy amongst the best bus service connectivity of anywhere in the world and if our current funding bid to UK Government is successful, the airport will soon be benefiting from a zero emission bus service, serving the airport up to every 6 minutes, 24 hours a day".

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