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First Bus and Openreach announce powerful new Electric Vehicle charging partnership

First Bus is thrilled to announce a significant collaboration with the UK’s largest broadband network provider, Openreach, granting them access to its rapid Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at bus depots nationwide. 

In this groundbreaking deal, Openreach joins the ranks of DPD and Police Scotland, plugging into this innovative shared infrastructure initiative from one of the UK’s largest bus operators.  

The initial phase of the partnership will witness up to 30 Openreach Electric Vehicles from its fleet charging at First Bus depots in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Leicester while buses are in service. This enables Openreach engineers to cover more ground, reduce their environmental impact, and dedicate more time to the needs of their customers. 

As industry leader in the decarbonisation space, First Bus is keen to harness its EV infrastructure to help support local communities and businesses reach their own environmental aspirations.  This commitment aligns with the Bus Operator’s own ambition of reaching a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. 

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Currently, Openreach has more than 3000 electric vehicles in its fleet – but it is aiming to convert all its diesel fleet to zero emissions by 2031 and proudly stands as a founding member of EV100, a global initiative uniting companies dedicated to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles this decade.  

Faizan Ahmad, Decarbonisation Programme Director at First Bus, said: "We're excited about this collaboration, showcasing the power of teamwork to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in the communities we serve. The shift to electric is a journey for businesses nationwide, and we are offering a smart, community-friendly solution that's simple, effective, and benefits everyone." 

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s Partnership Director, said: “We are excited to try a new approach with First Bus that can potentially help both our businesses. As two major fleet operators in the UK, it makes sense for us to explore the most efficient ways to power up our electric vans and buses.   

“First Bus has made a massive investment in charging infrastructure and using their empty stations to juice up our vans will take pressure off public charge points. Our engineers often live in flats or apartments where charging is not yet an option, so this will make life easier for them too. 

“It is all about learning and trying new, sustainable ways of working. There are many hurdles on the low carbon journey, and businesses need to join forces to overcome them, help drive wider adoption of electric vehicles and talk to government on issues like charging infrastructure availability.” 

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 Andrew Kirkby, Head of Fleet Sustainability at BT Group, added: “We are constantly looking at new options that can help us the transition of one of the largest commercial fleets in the UK to electric vehicles, which will be vital to achieving our goal of being a carbon net-zero business by March 2031. Enabling UK-wide charging infrastructure will be a key part of how we achieve this, and we welcome trials that will help accelerate the removal of diesel vehicles from our fleet.” 


Notes to editors

First Bus is continuing to roll out its electric bus fleet across the UK at pace, with over 600 Zero Emission Buses expected on the road by the end of March 2024. The business will have four fully electric bus depots, and a total of 9 sites with electric charging infrastructure and an operational EV bus fleet. 

The operator is interested in hearing from businesses and organisations who would like to benefit from a similar partnership at its electrified bus depots in Norwich, Portsmouth, Hoeford, Leicester, York, Leeds, Bramley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Scotstoun. 

About First Bus 

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus.  

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every week for the communities we serve.  

Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.  

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best-in-class’ amongst UK bus operators.  

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).  

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road. 

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.  

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.    

Find more information on First Bus here:     

About Openreach  

We’re the people that make the net work.  

Our wholesale broadband network – the UK’s largest – supports more than 700 service providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen to provide broadband, TV, phone, data and mobile services to their customers.   

Any company can access our network through equal pricing, terms and conditions, and our 37,000 people help deliver services to every community in the UK.  

Right now, we’re investing £15bn to build a new ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network to 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026. We’ve already reached eleven million premises and we’re passing thousands more every week. We’ve created 10,000 new jobs and we’re retraining thousands of our existing engineers to help build, connect and maintain the new network.  

Our new network will help Openreach and its customers to dramatically cut emissions, with research suggesting nationwide Full Fibre broadband could save 300 million commuter trips every year. We’re also switching our own 29,000 diesel vans to electric by 2030.  

We’re a wholly owned and independent subsidiary of the BT Group and for the year up to the end of March 2023, we reported revenues of £5.675bn  

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