NEWPORT's first fully electric zero emissions bus is set to go into service in the city on Thursday - and the Argus got an exclusive trip on it around the city centre today (August 19).

The Newport Transport bus is the first of 15 electric single-decker buses which will be in service in the city by spring 2020.

It is a Yutong E12 bus seating up to 39 passengers and has an operating range of up to 200 miles (330km) according to the manufacturer.

The buses have no engine vibration or noise, and feature separate air-conditioning for the driver and the passengers, as well as LED lighting and separate USB charging points.

And as Newport Transport already utilises 214 solar panels at its Corporation Road depot, a significant proportion of the energy used to charge the buses will be from a renewable source.

Scott Pearson, managing director of Newport Transport, hosted the inaugural bus ride attended by Newport City Council leader Cllr Debbie Wilcox, Cllr Jane Mudd, who is chairman of Newport Transport, and Barclay Davies, director of Bus Users Cymru.

He said: "This electric zero emissions bus is the first one in Wales to go into service. The other 14 will be arriving from China at the end of February. We wanted to get this bus into service as soon as we could and let our customers test it. We are very excited about it."


"This is the start of a very exciting journey for the company as it moves into providing the people of Newport with an environmentally clean option for travel in and around the city. We recognise that in this ever-changing world, sustainable renewable energy is essential, and this must include public transport.

"This venture will mean that Newport will be the first area in Wales to operate zero-emissions buses for our customers and the environment. It will show that we are pushing the agenda for Wales.”

The Department for Transport helped fund the new buses, which Mr Pearson said was a 'coup' for Newport Transport.

The buses will be used on routes throughout the city, with a focus on routes into Caerleon to help tackle air quality problems in the area.

Cllr Debbie Wilcox said: “The launch of this new bus shows that things are moving in the right direction in terms of climate change and customer satisfaction.

"It is excellent news. Newport Transport is at the forefront of a revolution in public transport in Wales.

"These clean, efficient, zero-emission electric buses will significantly improve air quality across the city for the benefit of all those who live and work in Newport.”

The announcement that Newport Transport was improving its fleet with the 15 new electric buses came shortly after the M4 relief road project had been scrapped.

Taxpayers had contributed £114m to the project since 2013 before it was scrapped - including £44m on a public inquiry that found in favour of the relief road.

The two main reasons given by First Minister Mark Drakeford for rejecting the relief road were the damage it would cause to the environment and the costs involved - estimated at more than £1.4bn.

After the decision was announced, Newport council revealed they would have access to a £1bn borrowing facility to improve transport infrastructure around the city.