UK funds electric buses, also in rural areas

The British government is providing a further 129 million pounds to help local transport authorities introduce hundreds more locally emission-free buses. That’s the equivalent of around 151 million euros, from which local electric bus manufacturers are also set to benefit.

The new funding comes as part of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2 program, for which all UK local transport authorities in England outside London can now apply. Applications will give priority to those that have not yet been granted funding. The first £25 million (currently around €29 million) is also earmarked for rural communities.

This second phase of the ZEBRA program builds on the first phase, which funded 1,300 locally emission-free buses. In total, the British government has so far subsidized 4,000 such buses. This includes orders from the Harrogate Bus Company or the British transport company First Bus. The British transport company Go-Ahead received funding from the first ZEBRA program in February. The UK government announced the first round of the program in November 2021 and extended it in March 2022.

“Todays’ funding for more zero-emission buses will help decarbonise public transport and grow the economy by keeping our communities connected,” said UK Transport Minister Mark Harper. “We have already reached our initial target of funding at least 4,000 zero-emission buses, and this additional funding will improve journeys for even more passengers, reaching those in the most remote areas.”

Bus Minister Richard Holden added: “This brings our total investment in new zero-emission buses to almost £500 million, helping to kick-start a new generation of bus manufacturing in the UK and create good, high-quality jobs from Scarborough to Falkirk.”

At the same time, the transport minister announced a new research centre, with a total of £10 million (currently around €11.7 million) in funding from the Department for Transport, National Highways, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The ‘Net Zero Transport for a Resilient Future Hub’ of Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow will develop innovative ideas to ensure that future transport infrastructure is low-carbon and resilient.


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