At the start of the year, Dundee City Council announced it was supporting Ember’s bid to launch the UK’s first intercity electric coach service between Edinburgh and Dundee.
Due to start in May, this new service was an exciting step forward in the council’s plans to decarbonise public transport.
And then, of course, just as Ember was due to welcome the delivery of the first coach, Coronavirus arrived instead; the entire supply chain was hit, leading to an unavoidable six month delay in the launch.
Now, both Ember and Dundee City Council are pleased to announce a new launch date of October 1st – and whilst the past few months could have been a challenge for everyone involved, instead they’ve looked to make the best of the situation and are now launching with two coaches.
“We’re now planning to launch on October 1st with two coaches. The Covid-19 delay gave us additional time to build more of our technology platform and partner with Triodos, a leading sustainable bank. Having a partner who is totally aligned with net zero and the need for green, patient capital is critical,” says Keith Bradbury, co-founder of Ember.
“This has allowed us to launch with two coaches rather than one. It will allow us to offer a more frequent service from the get-go and expand faster in the coming months and years.”
In fact, despite not launching when initially planned, Ember has worked hard to ensure that come October, they’ll get to where they’d always hoped to be by this point of the year.
Which means the Ember electric coaches will be fully equipped to offer a unique and convenient experience for passengers – making them more than worth the wait! Advanced tracking lets pre-booked customers receive accurate ETAs and service updates, allowing a sleek and smooth boarding process. Then, once on board, they’ll benefit from increased leg space and features like USB charging and free wifi.
Plus, there’s the all-important environmental aspect of the new service, with the recent lockdown and its knock-on effects illustrating just how a vital a role services like Ember can have in Dundee’s green recovery.
“One of the silver linings of lockdown has been that it has shown the benefits of living in less polluted cities with less traffic and more active travel,” says Keith.
“We want Ember to be part of making this change permanent as lockdown eases, rather than seeing a rush back to cars. For example, we’re very supportive of changes that councils have been making to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians.”
In the short term, Ember will help by creating seven new jobs and establishing an eco-friendly alternative for intercity travel. But in the long term, the company also has ambitious plans to expand rapidly and add further jobs over the coming months and years. All in all, it looks set to play an exciting part in the city’s green recovery going forward.
“We think it’s important to provide better public transport as part of the recovery. We don’t want a future with more cars, more traffic and more air pollution. Public transport provides a key service for many people and it will be important for businesses across the country that people can travel safely, easily and reliably,” added Keith.
Dundee City Council has long been working to establish a green future when it comes to transport for the city of Dundee under its campaign Drive Dundee Electric, part of which includes the ambitious goal to convert 20% of all vehicles in Dundee to electric by 2027.
And it’s already proving a success – a switch to electric vehicles has seen the council travel over 5.6 million miles on pure electric, saving an estimated 250,000 tons of CO2, whilst electric vehicle charging points can now be found across the city.
The launch of Ember is just one part of the local authority’s plan to decarbonise Dundee and boost the city’s electric vehicle infrastructure – it’s also working with partners at the likes of NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee in other areas.
But the fast approaching electric coach service launch in October is an exciting and important next step for everyone – the council, Ember and Dundee as a whole.
Mark Flynn, deputy convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “This innovative project works on so many levels for us to help deliver on our goals.
“Clearly the first intercity electric coach service in the UK is a feather in our cap and the improvements that it will bring about in terms of air quality and other environmental benefits are notable.
“But in addition as we reopen facilities and tourists come back to the city it offers a unique way of getting to and from Dundee that in itself is a visitor attraction that fits perfectly with our position as a leader in the field of sustainable transport.”
The new Ember service: quick facts
- 8 return trip trips daily, Dundee-Edinburgh
- Pre-booked tickets cost £7.50 each way
- Onboard tickets cost £9.50 each way
- Dundee’s main coach stop is Greenmarket
- Additional stops in Inchture, Perth, Kinross and Rosyth
- Concession cards accepted for free travel
- Wheelchair and bike spaces available
- Real-time arrival tracking for passengers
- Free WiFi and USB charging on board.
If you want to find out more about Dundee’s electric vehicle vision, please visit www.drivedundeeelectric.co.uk
Meanwhile, keep up with the Ember launch at www.ember.to