Bus operators have welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement in today’s Budget of a further £355m of new funding for zero emission buses, and an allocation of £70m under the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme to five chosen locations.
The Budget also reiterated the Government’s pledge of £3bn of bus investment across this Parliament.
The Budget will see proportional similar sums allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales under the Barnett Formula, used by the Treasury to automatically adjust the amounts of public expenditure allocated to the devolved regions to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to public services in England.
Go-Ahead Group, Britain’s largest operator of electric buses with nearly 300 on the road, welcomed the news but urges a clear roadmap for decarbonisation of the national bus fleet.
Martin Dean, Managing Director, Business Development at The Go-Ahead Group, said: “Buses are a green mode of transport and with COP26 looming, we’re glad that the Government is committing more funding to electric vehicles.
“But to make the transition to low-carbon buses financially sustainable, the industry needs to sell more tickets. More bus lanes and bus priority schemes are vital in improving frequencies and speeding up journey times, which will encourage people to leave their cars at home.
“This is a once in a generation shift in transport technology – and that means a clear long-term roadmap is needed for decarbonisation of the national bus fleet.”
Go-Ahead is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. It runs nearly 6,000 buses across England and a quarter of London’s buses for Transport for London. Outside London, it serves high-density commuter markets in the North East, Greater Manchester, East Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, East Anglia, the South East and the South West of England. It also operates a bus contract in Singapore and two bus contracts in Ireland.