Apply for the all electric bus town scheme – Funding Opportunity

Buses play a vital role in our transport system – getting people to work, to education and to see friends and family, the everyday journeys that make up our lives. The benefits of a reliable and innovative bus service are clear: less congestion, greater productivity and communities that are connected.

A Better Deal for Bus Users sets out a package of ambitious and innovative actions to meet the needs and demands of the travelling public. With £220 million of new funding to help start a revolution in bus services, they include:

  • A National Bus Strategy for England, along with a long-term funding settlement and a review of existing bus funding.
  • all new road investments receiving Government funding explicitly address bus priority measures to improve bus journey times and reliability
  • refreshing the Government’s guidance to local authorities to provide up to date advice on prioritising those vehicles which can carry the most people
  • over £20 million investment in bus priority measures in the West Midlands investing up to £50 million to deliver Britain’s first all-electric bus town or city
  • improving passenger information through new digital services and at bus stops
  • challenging industry to deliver a campaign to attract people to buses
  • incentivising multi-operator ticketing with lower fares, with all buses accepting contactless payments for passenger convenience
  • trialling new “superbus” networks to deliver low fare, high frequency services including funding 4-year pilot of a lower fare network in Cornwall
  • £30 million extra bus funding to be paid direct to local authorities to enable them to improve current bus services or restore lost services
  • £20 million to support on-demand services in rural and suburban areas

The commitments to deliver Britain’s first all-electric bus town or city, trial new “superbus” networks, and support on-demand services are the subject of three separate calls for proposals, launched today.

£50 million has been made available to develop an all-electric bus town or city that would see an entire place’s bus fleet changed over to vehicles that are fully electric, or capable of operating in electric, zero-emission mode.

The Government is committed to tackling air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Road to Zero Strategy1 sets a target for the transition to zero emission transport by 2050 and for the United Kingdom to become the best place in the world to develop and manufacture zero emission vehicles. This ambition extends to all vehicles including buses – it is therefore our ambition for zero emission-capable buses to be adopted across industry.

Transport accounts for the greatest share of UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions, rising to 27% in 2017, and has only fallen around 3% since 1990. Whilst we expect to see a fall in emissions over the next decade, a step change across all modes is vital if we are to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and deliver interim legally-binding carbon budgets.

However, to reach the UK target on net zero will require all sectors to deliver substantial further emissions reductions, building on the ambitious frameworks set out in the Industrial Strategy and the 2017 Clean Growth Strategy.

Buses can play a significant role in trying to meet those targets. A fully loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road, helping to reduce congestion and reduce the impact of transport on the environment.

The bus operator sector has already committed to only purchase next generation ultra-low or zero emission buses from 2025 (but starting this process by 2023 in some urban areas).2 We support this commitment. The Government has already invested £240 million since 2010 to support the move to lower emission buses, with several rounds of low emission bus funding and money to retrofit older buses. The last round of Ultra-Low Emission Bus Funding allocated £48 million and will see 263 new buses, mostly electric, on some of our most polluted roads.

We want to build on this good work between Government, bus operators and local authorities. The funding to date has been spread around the country. This has helped bus operators gain experience in zero emission bus operations and tackle air quality issues on specific roads. Now we want to go a step further and see what can be achieved when the entire bus fleet in a town goes electric zero emission.

More information here