Coventry and Oxford are set to become the first cities in the UK to run all-electric bus services, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced last week. The cities are developing business cases in an England-wide competition to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.
If successful, each area could be awarded up to £50 million to not only replace its entire fleet of buses with all-electric versions, but also to install new infrastructure, such as charging stations, and pay for electric grid updates.
The change to a cleaner and greener bus fleet will help improve air quality and reduce emissions, helping further deliver on the Government’s efforts to decarbonise the transport network, as well as support 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.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street 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 now work with the two local authorities to finalise their business cases over the coming weeks.
The UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy will be launched in the coming months to ensure buses are prioritised into the future.