electric bus
Image credit: Wikimedia

The UK’s Department of Transport has opened invitations for local town and village authorities to become Britain’s “first all-electric bus town” along with up to £50 million to help pay for a brand-new fleet of electric buses.

A town with 200 electric buses could save around 7,400 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent to taking 3,700 diesel cars off the road.

The £50 million fund is part of a total £170 million allocated to improve services and make bus journeys greener, easier and more reliable. This commitment marks the next step in delivering the UK government’s £220 million package to overhaul bus services across England and level up transport infrastructure.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Buses carry more people than any other form of public transport in the UK, and with 200 electric buses able to offset 3,700 diesel cars, it is clear they have a crucial role to play in bringing down emissions.

“But Britain’s first all-electric bus town is just the start. Helping deliver on our manifesto promise, this £170 million package will help us to create communities which are cleaner, easier to get around and more environmentally friendly, speeding up journeys and making them more reliable.

“By focusing on efficient and affordable transport, we will make greener journeys the natural choice.”

A further £30 million of funding in 2020 to 2021 has also been confirmed for local authorities to help them improve current bus services or restore those that have been lost.

Every local authority in England, outside of London, is eligible for this funding to ensure that crucial bus routes can be revived or reinvigorated.

Passengers will also benefit from new low-fare, high-frequency Superbus networks to increase the frequency of services by investing in bus lanes and other priority measures. The first will be introduced in Cornwall next year, where the network will be integrated with the county’s main railway line, which will also see increased train frequency, connecting people with jobs, education and family.

Investments are also being made to speed up bus journeys. As part of the first tranche of the £2.5 billion Transforming Cities Fund, Derby and Nottingham, the North East, Portsmouth and Southampton will see the deployment of bus priority traffic lights to speed up trips to the city centres.

The government announced last year that it will launch the UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy and long-term funding plan, to ensure that buses are prioritised into the future.

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