Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News


22 Nov 2019 by JOHN GELSON - Next Stop Communications

Mission to create UK’s first Low Emission Bus Town scoops top national green travel prize

The team behind Harrogate’s ground-breaking electric buses is celebrating today after winning gold at the UK’s bus industry Oscars.

The Harrogate Bus Company was chosen as winner of the top prize in the prestigious Environment category at the 2019 UK Bus Awards, for its mission to create the UK’s first ever Low Emission Bus Town.

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The UK Bus Awards recognise and reward the industry’s finest talents and are hotly contested by hundreds of bus operators across the country.

Awards judges were extremely impressed by the success of Harrogate’s electric buses, describing them as “a beacon of excellence, truly demonstrating the outstanding innovations that are possible within the industry.”

The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said: “I’m absolutely delighted and very proud to receive this award on behalf of our amazing team in Harrogate – this is for every one of them.

“The UK Bus Awards celebrate the great innovation, talent and pride driving our bus industry forward, here in Harrogate and across the UK. We’ve earned a national reputation as one of the UK’s most innovative and successful transport operators, with our customers at the heart of everything we do.

“We also benefit from excellent partnerships at a national and local level, with organisations who see the positive contribution our electric buses make to the environment and the economy. Sponsorship from partners, including Harrogate Water Brands, Slingsby Gin and Harrogate BID, helps us to provide free travel on Sundays through our Sunday Freeway initiative – bringing more people into the heart of our town while protecting its environment.

“The challenge for us into 2020 and beyond is to keep on improving and looking after the growing number of customers who choose to travel with us every day. We’re lucky to have such a talented team who fully deserve this recognition as the nation’s finest.”

The award was presented to the Harrogate team at a ceremony in London by Graham Vidler, the chief executive of the trade association representing hundreds of UK bus and coach operators, the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

UK Bus Awards Chairman Mark Yexley said: “We congratulate the whole team at The Harrogate Bus Company on its outstanding achievement. This project shows how powerful technology, stakeholder engagement and innovation can be when used effectively as a package.”

As part of its own plan to create Britain’s first Low Emission Bus Town in Harrogate, The Harrogate Bus Company launched eight all-electric buses onto three local routes in Harrogate in 2018, supported by a successful bid for £2.25m from the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme.

The company has also invested significantly in new and revitalised buses across its wider Harrogate network, powered by low-emission Euro 6 engines – and formed partnerships with the spa town’s businesses to offer free journeys to everyone on Sundays on three routes served by the electric buses. Promoted as ‘Sunday Freeway’, the move quickly proved a major success, generating a 70 per cent rise in customers travelling into Harrogate on Sundays within a single month.

In another first, electric powered and Yorkshire-built buses have also been introduced to the company’s service along Nidderdale, between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge.

Two more Transdev companies also made the final shortlist for this year’s UK Bus Awards – in the Sustained Marketing Excellence category, for the promotion of the ever-popular Coastliner network linking Leeds and York with the North Yorkshire Coast as Britain’s Most Scenic Bus Route with the message “Welcome to Coastliner Country” and in the Making Buses A Better Choice category, for the successful turnaround of North West bus firm Rosso to deliver 9.5% passenger growth.