YORK’S biggest bus operator has invested £800,000 in a fleet of low emission buses on two of its services.

First York says passengers on its 11 and 12 routes will also benefit from a superior interior including leather seating and a lighter environment, along with more space for customers with pushchairs.

A spokesman said eight five-year old ‘StreetLite’ single-deck vehicles would replace older buses on the Ashley Park - York - Bishopthorpe number 11 service and the Monks Cross - York - Foxwood Lane number 12 service.

He said they were fitted with ‘Euro V’ engine technology and would be upgraded to ‘Euro VI’ to meet Clean Air Zone requirements in partnership with City of York Council and the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund.

“This investment follows the positive change for customers last month on service 10 (Stamford Bridge – York – Poppleton) with new journeys added and the evening service taken on by First York commercially,” he said, adding that 21 new electric double decker buses would be introduced later this year.

Managing director Marc Bichtemann said First was committed to providing safe, punctual and reliable bus travel for the people of York, and so it was important that it continued to invest in its services.

“With the support of our partners including City of York Council, this investment will also reduce bus emissions on the corridor and support the Clean Air Zone requirements,” he said.

“I’m sure our customers and the local community will welcome these improvements and encourage more people to switch to using bus services.”

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, council executive member for transport, welcomed the First news.

“Together with the introduction of 21 new electric double decker buses in York later this year, it’s another important step towards achieving our goal of creating a Clean Air Zone in the centre of York by reducing emissions and improving air quality.”

Meanwhile, York-based train operator LNER has invested more than £100,000 on 135 automated external defibrillators to go on its trains and in its stations in a bid to save passengers’ lives.

Spokesman Warrick Dent said every second counted when it came to saving a life. “When a cardiac arrest occurs on a train, it can take a while to get back to a station for the ambulance service to assist,” he said. “Investing in the installation of AEDs on our trains will give casualties the best chances of survival.”

St John Ambulance gave training in using them to 50 LNER managers, who shared it with 2,000 colleagues.