People across Yorkshire will enjoy greener, cleaner journeys as an extra 34 British-made electric buses are rolled out thanks to £7.6 million in Government investment.
The latest investment announced on 2 March means that the First Bus York depot will operate fully electric fleets by March 2024, one of the first bus depots in the UK outside London to reach this milestone.
Meanwhile, 25 brand new electric buses will also be introduced at the Bramley bus depot in West Yorkshire, bringing the total number of electric buses funded by the ZEBRA scheme in West Yorkshire to 136.
The funding comes from an extra £25.3 million rolled out nationwide to pave the way for the Government’s ambitious rollout of zero emission buses (ZEBs).
The funding is an additional investment from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which was launched in 2021 to allow local transport authorities to bid for funding for zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure.
The move brings total Government funding from the ZEBRA scheme to almost £300 million for up to 1,395 zero emission buses in England, taking the vision of a net zero transport network one step closer to reality.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Buses are the most popular form of public transport, and these new British-built zero emission buses will help clean up the air in communities across Yorkshire.
“We’re providing an additional £7.6 million to roll out 34 new electric buses to provide residents in Yorkshire with better, cleaner and quieter journeys, as we step up a gear to reach net zero faster and level up transport across the country.”
Zero-emission buses are also often cheaper to run, improving the economics for bus operators. All these additional buses funded through the ZEBRA scheme are battery electric.
This latest investment will support British manufacturing around the country. The new buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by FirstBus, supporting hundreds of new high-skilled jobs to help level up and grow the economy.
Janette Bell, managing director at First Bus said: “We are delighted to be accelerating investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from the Department for Transport. As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system. We are rapidly transforming our business with zero emission bus fleets and will continue to work closely with central and local government across the UK to deliver our decarbonisation plans.”
The move is part of the Government’s wider £3 billion National Bus Strategy to significantly improve bus services, with lower and simpler fares, more integrated ticketing and higher frequencies.
Councillor Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport at City of York Council, said: “We are delighted to be successful in receiving an additional £1.8 million in funding towards providing clean, zero emission public transport across the city.
“This is fundamental to achieving the city’s carbon reduction goals while supporting the development strategy set out in the Local Plan. To encourage greater use of the bus network, and sustainable travel routes, our network and bus services must be safe, convenient and attractive to residents, commuters and visitors.”