UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that Coventry and Oxford are developing proposals to become the UK’s first all-electric bus cities.
The two cities are currently developing business cases in an England-wide competition to swich an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles. If the business cases win, each city could be awarded up to £50 million not only to replace its entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, but also to install new infrastructure, for example charging stations, as well as paying for electric grid updates.
By changing to a cleaner and greener bus fleet, the air quality will be improved, which will also lead to a reduction in emissions. This in turn will help to deliver on the Government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network, as well as supporting local businesses and jobs in the UK developing green buses.
Mr Shapps 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.”
The Government has received 19 bids from across England to become the first all-electric bus town or city. Applicants were required to:
- Demonstrate buy-in from stakeholders in their local areas
- Outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality
- Show how the plan would tackle an existing air quality problem
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This news is brilliant for Coventry and the West Midlands, and 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.”
Oxfordshire County Council Leader, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, 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.”
The government will work with the two local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks.
The all-electric bus towns and cities competition is part of a wider package of measures to improve services and make bus journeys greener, easier and more reliable.
In February 2020, the government announced £5 billion for a new golden era for buses and active travel. The UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy will be launched in the coming months to ensure buses are prioritised in the future.
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