Local authorities are invited to apply to become the UK’s first all-electric bus town.
If successful, the winning council will receive up to £50 million to pay for a new fleet of electric buses. It’s part of the government’s plan for all UK buses to be fully electric by 2025.
The £50 million fund is part of a total £170 million allocated to improve services and make journeys greener and more reliable.
A £20 million pot is available for the trial of on-demand ride sharing services in rural and suburban areas. In theory, it means that people could catch a bus when and where they want it.
A further £30 million fund is available for local authorities to improve current bus services or restore those that have been lost. Passengers will also benefit from low-cost, high-frequency ‘Superbus’ services, like the one in Cornwall.
But it’s the all-electric bus town proposal that’s likely to grab the headlines. The Department for Transport (DfT) says it wants the winning bidder to act as a role model for other local authorities to follow.
‘All-electric bus town is just the start’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Buses carry more people than any other form of public transport in the UK, and with 200 electric buses able to offset 3,700 diesel cars, it is clear they have a crucial role to play in bringing down emissions.
“But Britain’s first all-electric bus town is just the start. Helping deliver on our manifesto promise, this £170 million package will help us to create communities which are cleaner, easier to get around and more environmentally friendly, speeding up journeys and making them more reliable.
“By focusing on efficient and affordable transport, we will make greener journeys the natural choice.”
The news has been welcomed by the Campaign for Better Transport. Chief executive Darren Shirley said: “This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the part buses can play in improving air quality in urban areas, increase the output from manufacturers, and contribute to cutting the UK’s carbon emissions.”