City of York Council has been awarded more than £8.4 million in order to support the purchase of 44 fully electric buses.
The funding was announced last week by the Department for Transport following a successful submission by the council in January. This is one of the key sustainable transport schemes and initiatives which the council wants to deliver.
The council submitted the multi-million pound bid to the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme to further support the roll-out of zero-emission buses in York, where 33 electric buses already operate on the city’s Park & Ride service.
The ZEBRA bid also brings significant investment in York from FirstGroup, with First pledging £10m towards the new buses, alongside the DfT’s £8.4m. The new buses will be used on First’s routes 1, 4, 5, 6, the Hospital Shuttle Bus and Park and Ride route 2.
After the fleet is delivered York will have 77 electric buses in service, operating more than half the mileage in the city. This will reduce carbon emissions in York by 2,300 tonnes per year as well as reducing nitrous oxide and particulate emissions across the city, but especially within the city centre Clean Air Zone.
Overall, York’s electric bus fleet will reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 3,900 tonnes per year – the equivalent of the carbon emissions from driving 650 cars around the circumference of the Earth.
In October last year, the council also submitted a £39 million bid to the DfT setting out how the city will bring forward measures to make bus services faster and more reliable, upgrade the Park and Ride network and reform fares. A funding decision on this Bus Service Improvement Plan – City of York Council’s response to the National Bus Strategy – is expected soon.
The number of passengers on York’s bus service is also recovering well following the COVID-19 pandemic, with passenger volumes currently 80 to 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport at City of York Council, said: “We are delighted to be successful in receiving over £8.4 million in funding towards providing clean, zero emission public transport across the city.
“The city’s Bus Service Improvement Plan is also a key supporting policy underpinning the council’s new Local Transport Plan and I hope the government will announce funding for this shortly.”
Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment at City of York Council, said: “Securing this investment is excellent news for the city. Here in York, we have already gone to great lengths to promote sustainable travel, particularly on public transport.
“In partnership with First York, we already have introduced 21 double-decker electric buses on the Park and Ride fleet, saving thousands of tonnes of CO2 in the city. York already hold bold targets for reducing carbon and taking steps to tackle climate change.
“We know that we cannot achieve this alone and that is why this funding will be so important in helping us reduce York’s carbon footprint and improving our air quality.”