Grant Shapps, transport secretary, has announced that Coventry and Oxford are developing proposals to become the first parts of the UK to run all-electric bus services. Both Coventry and Oxford are developing business cases in an England-wide competition to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.
Subject to successful business cases each area could be awarded up to £50 million for this. The money will go towards replacing the entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, as well as to also install new infrastructure including charging stations and pay for electric grid updates.
Changing to a cleaner and greener bus fleet will help improve air quality and reduce emissions. Plus, this will help to further deliver on the government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network and support local businesses and jobs in the UK developing green buses.
The government received 19 bids from across England to become the first all-electric bus town or city. Applicants were required to show buy-in from stakeholders in their local areas, summarise current plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality and show how the plan would tackle existing air quality problems.
Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “As we build back greener from Covid-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air.
Coventry and Oxford could soon be at the forefront of our plans for a new era of bus services, helping us develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in the UK.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am delighted the Secretary of State and his department have once again put their faith in our region to deliver. Turning all of Coventry’s bus fleet electric is not only a major boost to public transport in the city, but it will also help tackle the climate emergency we face both here in the West Midlands and the wider UK.”
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Oxfordshire County Council Leader, said: “Oxfordshire’s bid comes at a time when our council is determined to take concerted climate action to cut vehicle air pollution and expand the provision of bus services with our Zero Emission Zone and Connecting Oxford plans. This council is committed to offering our residents a clean and environmentally sustainable future through a series of steps including through better public transport.”