SP Energy Networks and Community Transport Glasgow have unveiled Glasgow's first ever all-electric minibuses, fully funded by the Distribution Network Operator to support vulnerable, disadvantaged and elderly people across the city.
The DNO is supporting Community Transport Glasgow, a charity working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, to use these new buses as social transport, making it Scotland's first community transport service with an all-electric fleet.
SP Energy Networks has funded five fully electric minibuses and two people carriers; replacing aging diesel vehicles that put the charity's vital community work in jeopardy as they had become increasingly unreliable.
Three new buses were unveiled last week at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, when the service's first users were joined by Glasgow icon, actress and comedian Elaine C. Smith (pictured above).
The community transport minibuses will be a first for Glasgow, and will enable Community Transport Glasgow to reduce its carbon footprint through a 33 tonnes reduction in CO2 emissions.
The all-electric community vehicles are being funded as part of SP Energy Networks' £20m Green Economy Fund, which supports Glasgow's mission to become the UK's first net zero emissions city by 2030 and the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to meet climate change targets.
The fund also aims to boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for all.
Over 75,000 passengers who depend on the charity's services each year, including older adults, those with a disability, those with mobility issues and those who are socially isolated.
Frank Mitchell, chief executive at SP Energy Networks, said: "Glasgow has ambitious plans to be the UK's first net zero carbon city by 2030 but we must ensure that no community is left behind. That is at the heart of our Green Economy Fund, which helps communities build their own green economy and establish low carbon infrastructure. We are so proud to be funding Community Transport Glasgow as they begin to build an electric fleet that will allow them to play their part in improving the city's air quality and supporting some of the city's most vulnerable residents.
"SP Energy Networks is working closely with Glasgow City Council and a wide range of local partners to support the city's net zero vision. Just two weeks ago, we unveiled Glasgow's first commercial electric bus route - the M3 from Milton to the City Centre - and infrastructure that will allow First Bus to introduce 22 electric vehicles in the future. Decarbonising Glasgow requires everyone to think and act differently - we're playing our part by supporting innovative solutions and providing a roadmap to net zero for Glasgow."
Graham Dunn, manager at Community Transport Glasgow, said: "Community Transport Glasgow is delighted that it is able to move to an electric fleet that will reduce our CO2 emissions. This would not have been possible without full funding from SP Energy Networks' Green Economy Fund.
"This will be transformational, not only in terms of the environment, but also for the social impact it will have as it assists with our long-term financial sustainability to ensure we can continue to provide vital transport services to the vulnerable communities of Glasgow. Our ambition is to lead the way by being the first community transport organisation to operate with a fully electric fleet in Scotland."
Lena McKale, a member of Eastenders Stroke Group and user of Community Transport Glasgow's services, said: "After suffering a stroke, my life became increasingly lonely as getting out of the house and meeting people was incredibly difficult. Community Transport Glasgow truly transformed my life.
"Their new electric vehicles are beautiful and much more reliable than the previous minibuses we were using. The vehicles really are a lifeline for myself and many other users, so we couldn't be more grateful for the support we have received from SP Energy Networks."