Final preparations are being made ahead of Aberdeen’s new hydrogen buses being rolled out to passengers later this month.
Earlier this week, the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker was delivered to First Aberdeen’s depot on King Street.
Staff are now receiving training ahead of the new fleet of 15 hitting the roads on October 28.
Bosses at First Aberdeen are promising a quieter and smoother journey than passengers are used to on regular diesel-powered buses.
And the Evening Express was granted an exclusive look inside the first of the vehicles ahead of the big rollout.
Gary West, First’s engineering director for Scotland, said: “Passengers can expect roughly the same ergonomics as they would see if they were on board a diesel vehicle. The layout will be the same.
“The benefit of it comes in reduced noise compared to a standard double-decker. Normally the vehicles are quite noisy but the hydrogen-powered buses are much, much quieter.
“With diesel, there is also quite a lot of vibration throughout the vehicle. These new buses mean it will be a much smoother, quieter ride for our passengers.”
He added: “First Aberdeen is taking on the maintenance of the hydrogen fuel cell ourselves. Compared to a diesel engine, maintenance is less labour-intensive – but it requires a far higher level of technical understanding.
“It needs specialised training which our guys are receiving over the coming weeks ahead of the buses being rolled out to passengers at the end of October.
“Every member of staff has received gas safety training as part of the project, so they understand the risks, and our technicians will be able to carry out advanced interrogation of the system.”
Some changes are also being made to First’s depot to keep workers and members of the public safe.
New alarm systems have been fitted to notify staff of any gas leaks, while anti-spark lights and equipment is being installed.
Mr West said: “There were some safety measures in place already because of the previous vehicles but more have been introduced.
“We are introducing spark-proofing to make sure the depot is safe – so all the lights and equipment in the areas where our vehicles are maintained have been changed.
“There are also alarms throughout which will sound if the hydrogen level in the air reaches 10%.”
He added: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have this opportunity to be at the forefront of this project. To be doing it on a global scale doesn’t happen every day.
“It will be great to get the buses out on the road at the end of the month.
“We will be doing familiarisation training with our drivers to make sure they are all happy with it, then as soon as they are ready they will start to run.”