An electric bus is being trialled in Reading that could help clean up public transport in the town. Reading Borough Council, in partnership with Reading Buses, have submitted an expression of interest to the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) £120m Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. This would deliver 59 electric buses to the town over four years.
Reading Buses has deployed the battery-electric BYD ADL Enviro400EV double-decker. It’s being trialled on the purple 17 route between Wokingham Road and Tilehurst for nine days. The BYD ADL Enviro400EV being trialled can achieve at least 160 miles (257km) between charges.
If the council’s bid is successful, the scheme would additionally contribute funds to help cover the infrastructure improvements. This would include rapid chargers for the electric bus fleet at Reading Buses Great Knollys Street depot.
If Reading’s expression of interest is approved by the DfT, the council will be invited to produce a full business case for the scheme that would be submitted later this year. A final decision from the government on bids received is expected early in 2022.
Other councils have also applied for funds through the ZEBRA scheme. These include Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Kent County Council, Leicester City Council, Milton Keynes Borough Council, Warrington Borough Council and West Midlands Combined Authority. It’s good to see so many councils working hard towards net zero and cleaning up their towns and cities.
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council, said: “The council, along with Reading Buses, is fully committed to Reading’s net zero carbon target by 2030 and is serious about improving the poor air quality which blights some parts of our town.
“Tremendous progress has already been made by both the council and Reading as a whole towards the 2030 target, but this is exactly the sort of initiative we need to accelerate that progress. We hope the Government will allow us the opportunity to develop our bid later this year.”