All-electric bus city plan backing finalised

Published Friday, 19 March 2021

Coventry will receive £50m to fund 297 all-electric buses after the West Midlands Combined Authority Board gave their final approval at a meeting today after seeing the final business case.

It means Coventry will be the first city in the country to host all electric buses. The target date is by 2025.

The city bid highlighted how the scheme could help solve poor air quality.

The funding from the Department for Transport aims to support improvements to air quality, lower greenhouse gases, and reduce the costs of running buses. The electric buses will also provide a more comfortable passenger experience which will help to boost the number of people using buses to travel around the city.  Highways officers believe it will save around 55 tonnes of Nitrogen Dioxide every year.

The work will start next month.

The bid was secured by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

As well as funding for new vehicles, the grant will also cover investment in wider infrastructure such as charging points and upgrades to the electric grid.

The £50m will be supported by a further £78m of investment from local bus operators into the new electric buses, depot charging facilities and associated power upgrades.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “We have finally got this over the line after we were able to convince the government that this city is the ideal location. We persuaded the combined authority to support our bid ahead of other areas in the West Midlands and this will make a major dent in addressing air pollution. We already have a range of schemes to improve air quality and this will help exceed our targets.”

“We have great working relations with bus companies in the city and these are exciting times for all of us. The hard work starts now.”

The all-electric bus city programme will also give a commitment to ensure all future buses operating in the city after winter 2025 must be all electric.

David Bradford, Managing Director at National Express Coventry, said:

“As part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance partnership we work very closely with Coventry City Council and Transport for West Midlands to deliver reliable, affordable and green transport in the communities we serve.

“Early last year National Express proudly announced our ambition to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2030. This was closely followed by the launch of our first 10 fully electric buses here in Coventry, and 19 others across the wider West Midlands region.

“So we are delighted that Coventry will become the UK’s first all-electric bus city and look forward to continuing to work in partnership, both to support local jobs and businesses here in Coventry and the UK, and to help to improve local air quality by attracting more people onto public transport.

“The easiest and the cheapest way we can clean up our air and fight climate change is to hop on a bus. We already have a comprehensive network of bus services across Coventry and we’ve frozen fares again this year, ensuring bus travel continues to be affordable and accessible for all.

“We all have a part to play in making cleaner, greener choices, so it’s worth remembering that a double decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road. By choosing public transport we can reduce the level of traffic on our roads, which in turn makes journeys quicker, and the air cleaner for everybody’s lungs.

"Bringing hundreds more electric buses to the city of Coventry will complement other measures being delivered through the Bus Alliance to drive even more improvements for new and existing bus customers.” 

Coventry has one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charge points in any city outside London, and the investment in buses will complement other schemes that feature and promote electric vehicle use in Coventry such as the electrification of the Council’s own fleet of vehicles and the promotion of electric taxis.

 

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