We have introduced a greener way to travel in and around Ruthin thanks to a partnership between Denbighshire County Council, Transport for Wales, and Welsh Government Energy Service.
The new offering is a zero emissions vehicle which we have launched as part of fflecsi - a demand responsive bus service which allows passengers to pick and choose when they travel.
Our new vehicle is a 16-seater battery-electric e-Cityline and it’s the first zero emissions vehicle for the fflecsi service in Wales. The cost to use the bus is low, with fares currently standing at £1.50 for any journey from villages into Ruthin and £1 within the town.
Passengers book the bus one hour ahead of their journey by either downloading and using the fflecsi app, or by phoning a dedicated call centre. The app can then keep the customer informed of any changes in pick-up times.
One of the great things about the service is that destinations are not just town centre based and can include anything from the local doctor’s surgery and hospital to the supermarket and leisure centre.
One of the other important considerations is safety because we always know how many passengers we are picking up, which means we can guarantee a seat for everyone onboard and avoid overcrowding.
We already operate a pilot fflecsi service in rural areas in Denbighshire and we know that it is popular. The new electric bus will replace three fixed-route services in Ruthin and experience tells us that it is most likely going to result in an increase in passenger demand when compared to fixed-route services.
The innovative service is exciting for the region as it supports Welsh Government’s vision to reduce car usage and promote greener forms of travel, while also supporting the local economy and ensuring access to public transport.
The scheme will also provide useful feedback on the suitability of such vehicles useful in other similar situations and locations across Wales.
Collaboration is key. Many organisations have played an important role in getting this off the ground and we’ve had to pull funding from many sources, so be ready for partnership working.
Patience is important too. Whenever you’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before, there is no blueprint and that is always going to mean there’s likely to be bumps in the road. If you keep your focus and remain patient, you’ll get where you want to go.
Be enthusiastic! If you want to get that necessary buy in from others, you have to take the lead when it comes to most things – so remaining positive is a must. Then you can build on everyone else’s enthusiasm. What may be driving you might not be driving others, but as long as you have a shared vision for the outcome, that’s absolutely fine.
You need to know your stuff! For fleet officers in particular, this really means knowing the vehicle and understanding the infrastructure needed to support it. You will be asked all sorts of questions from the likes of drivers to politicians – so it’s absolutely paramount that you can answer with confidence. It’s your confidence and knowledge that will inspire others to buy in to your idea.