Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland's Partnership Director (second from left) & Graeme Macfarlan, First Bus Scotland's Commercial Director (second from right)

First Bus and Openreach announce powerful new Electric Vehicle charging partnership

First Bus has announced its biggest electric vehicle partnership to date in a milestone collaboration with the UK’s largest broadband network provider, Openreach, helping them carry out cleaner, greener journeys in Glasgow, Aberdeen and beyond. 

In this groundbreaking deal, Openreach will join DPD and Police Scotland as early movers plugging into this innovative shared infrastructure initiative from one of the UK’s largest bus operators.  

The initial phase of the partnership will witness up to 30 Openreach electric vehicles from its fleet charging at First Bus depots in Glasgow and Aberdeen while buses are in service. This enables Openreach engineers to cover more ground, reduce their environmental impact, and dedicate more time to the needs of their customers. 

As industry leader in the decarbonisation space, First Bus is keen to harness its EV infrastructure to help support local communities and businesses reach their own environmental aspirations. This commitment aligns with the bus operator’s own ambition of reaching a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. 

Openreach will charge its EVs at First Bus depots in Glasgow and Aberdeen

Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Bus Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new partnership with Openreach which demonstrates the power that comes from working together to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality in the communities we serve. 

 “As businesses across Scotland embark on the journey to electrify their fleets, it simply isn’t practical for every business to build its own charging infrastructure. We understand these challenges and are providing a smart solution that benefits the community and optimises space. It’s simple and effective – and everyone wins! 

“At First Bus, we are committed to delivering cleaner, greener journeys across our UK networks, not only through our own fleet but by working in partnership with businesses such as Openreach. We’d love to attract more businesses to charge up using our kit whilst our buses are out on the road.” 

Currently Openreach has more than 3,000 electric vehicles in its fleet – but it is aiming to convert all its diesel fleet to zero emissions by 2031 and proudly stands as a founding member of EV100, a global initiative uniting companies dedicated to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles this decade. 

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s Partnership Director, said: “We are excited to try a new approach with First Bus that can potentially help both our businesses. As two major fleet operators in the UK, it makes sense for us to explore the most efficient ways to power up our electric vans and buses. 

“First Bus has made a massive investment in charging infrastructure and using their empty stations to juice up our vans will take pressure off public charge points. Our engineers often live in flats or apartments where charging is not yet an option, so this will make life easier for them too. 

“It’s all about learning and trying new, sustainable ways of working. There are many hurdles on the low carbon journey, and businesses need to join forces to overcome them, help drive wider adoption of electric vehicles and talk to government on issues like charging infrastructure availability.” 

Located on Glasgow's southside, First Bus’s Caledonia Depot has 160 state-of-the art, rapid-charging points, and this arrangement means the green potential of First Bus’s charging hub will be maximised while its own electric fleet is out in service.

First Bus is interested in hearing from businesses who wish to benefit from this partnership across its Caledonia, Scotstoun and Aberdeen sites. 

Notes to editors

About First Bus

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus.   

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every week for the communities we serve.   

 Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.   

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best-in-class’ amongst UK bus operators.   

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).   

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road.  

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.   

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.     

Find more information on First Bus here: 


About Openreach   

We’re the people that make the network.   

Our wholesale broadband network – the UK’s largest – supports more than 700 service providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen to provide broadband, TV, phone, data and mobile services to their customers.    

Any company can access our network through equal pricing, terms and conditions, and our 37,000 people help deliver services to every community in the UK.   

Right now, we’re investing £15bn to build a new ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband network to 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026. We’ve already reached eleven million premises and we’re passing thousands more every week. We’ve created 10,000 new jobs and we’re retraining thousands of our existing engineers to help build, connect and maintain the new network.   

Our new network will help Openreach and its customers to dramatically cut emissions, with research suggesting nationwide Full Fibre broadband could save 300 million commuter trips every year. We’re also switching our own 29,000 diesel vans to electric by 2030.   

We’re a wholly owned and independent subsidiary of the BT Group and for the year up to the end of March 2023, we reported revenues of £5.675bn   

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