Toyota is supporting a pioneering new tourist transportation trial at one of the UK’s most popular visitor destinations, providing zero emission vehicles to link locations in and around the Peak District National Park.
Toyota battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses are being used in the programme which is exploring the practicality of alternatives to fossil fuels and gathering feedback on the customer experience.
The two-week trial will run until 16 September and is led by Gateway at PEAK, a 300-acre tourism resort that is being developed on a regeneration site on the park’s eastern boundary. It is using Toyota models and technologies that are commercially available today: the vehicles – the e.City Gold and H2.City Gold – are manufactured by Toyota’s European partner CaetanoBus and are already in service worldwide.
The structure of the trial will demonstrate how Toyota’s multi-technology strategy for reaching the ultimate goal of zero carbon provides flexibility for different mobility requirements: rechargeable battery electric vehicles appropriate for shorter, commuter-style journeys and hydrogen fuel cell electric models for longer trips and heavier haulage.
The trial route connects eight locations and attractions in and around the park, including Chesterfield railway station, Chatsworth and the Gateway development, which will be the hub for a new PEAK Express service, scheduled to open in 2025. Currently 85 per cent of park visitors arrive by car and these numbers are set to increase. Regional stakeholders are also keen for more diverse groups to access the park and to grow the local economy through tourism. The aim is to deliver these goals in a sustainable way without increasing carbon emissions or damaging the park’s biodiversity and protecting community wellness and prosperity.
Once fully operating, PEAK Express at the Gateway alone aims to remove half a million tourist journeys from the National Park, reducing CO2 emissions by 3.6 million kilogrammes a year and provide a national exemplar of sustainable visitor economy growth. The long-term ambition is to see multiple hubs located around the Peak District National Park boundary.
Andrew McCloy, Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “Protecting the National Park for future generations and developing more sustainable ways for people to visit is high on our agenda. The PEAK Gateway site outside the National Park is an excellent location for a transport hub. The Peak Express service is a commitment to net-zero and will connect more of the National Park’s attractions without the need for a car, making them more accessible and spreading out the economic benefits of tourism.”
Jon Hunt, Toyota (GB) Alternative Fuels Manager, said: “There is not one simple solution for zero carbon mobility. That’s why this trial provides us with an exciting opportunity to trial both EV and hydrogen vehicles, assessing which is more suitable to different types of journeys across the park. We will also be looking at optimal ways to provide refuelling and great levels of customer service on board the vehicles.”