UK government invests £143 million in electric buses to improve public transport

  • UK government invests £143 million in nearly a thousand new electric buses.
  • Priority given to rural areas to improve public transport networks.
  • Initiative aims to support UK jobs, boost the economy, and pave the way for a greener future.

£143 million investment in electric buses set to reshape the UK’s public transport network

The UK government has announced a significant investment of £143 million to enhance public transport. Particularly focusing on improving bus services across England. This substantial funding is aimed at rolling out nearly a thousand new zero-emission buses. Priority is given to rural areas.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper commented:

“As part of our plan to improve local transport across the country, we’re providing a further £143 million to improve journeys for bus passengers particularly in rural areas, with almost a thousand brand new, zero emission buses due to hit the road.

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This latest investment into our bus fleet comes on top of the £3.5 billion we have invested into our bus network since 2020, protecting and improving bus routes into 2025 as well as extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.”

From Derbyshire to Devon, and from Torbay to the Tees Valley. Communities across England will benefit from this investment. The plan is to make local bus fleets more efficient, comfortable, and environmentally friendly.

The funding announcement follows the UK’s emergence as a European leader in electric buses. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The UK registered more electric buses in 2023 than any other European country. Moreover, advancements such as the Sheffield Interchange electric bus charging hub propel the UK towards sustainable public transit.

The initiative focuses on introducing new buses and emphasises the importance of improving existing infrastructure. Over £270 million has been allocated to 16 local transport authorities (LTAs) and councils in the first round of ZEBRA funding. With an additional £143 million injection, the total government support for zero-emission buses now exceeds £413 million across 41 LTAs.

A notable aspect of the investment is its impact on rural communities.

Recognising the challenges faced by these areas. The government has earmarked the first £40 million specifically for rural transport improvements. This move aims to ensure that all parts of England benefit from better bus services and green technology.

Furthermore, the government’s commitment to enhancing bus services extends beyond the ZEBRA programme. Since 2020, over £3.5 billion has been invested to protect and improve bus routes in England. This includes extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated High-Speed 2 (HS2) funding.

In addition to improving public transport, the investment will contribute to smoother roads across England. An allocation of £8.3 billion has been dedicated to resurfacing over 5,000 miles of roads. This marks the largest-ever funding uplift for local road improvements, again funded by reallocated HS2 funds.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has welcomed the government’s support for electric buses. Emphasising the opportunity for Britain to lead the world in creating a modern, sustainable transport network. 

The government’s investment in electric buses represents a significant step towards a green public transport system. By prioritising rural areas and investing in both buses and infrastructure, the initiative aims to deliver cleaner, more reliable, and more comfortable journeys for millions of passengers across England.

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