Greener electric buses will soon be on roads thanks to £15M investment

New electric buses will be on North Somerset roads from early next year, after North Somerset Council successfully bid for £15million of new funding for greener buses across the region.

North Somerset Council is receiving £12.8million from First Bus, to be invested into the Weston-super-Mare First Bus depot and services. In addition, the Council is receiving £2.1million in capital funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). 

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding will deliver 24 brand new electric buses for the X1 and X4 bus services, as well as electric vehicle charging points at the Weston-super-Mare bus depot.

First Bus will provide its funding for the project over financial years 24/25 and 25/26. Most of the funding will be awarded before April this year, with plans for buses to be on the road from early 2025.

The focus of this investment is electrifying two popular bus corridors. The X1 and X4 routes are North Somerset’s first and third most popular services, attracting 141,131 and 79,402 passengers in October 2023.

North Somerset Council is also investing £48million of DfT funding in bus related infrastructure. New schemes include bus lanes, bus gates, smart traffic lights that detect and prioritise buses, and improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. 

I am delighted that North Somerset is receiving this multi-million pound investment which will continue to see the area develop as a great place to work and live. I’d like to thank council officers and First Bus who worked collaboratively to secure this funding. As ZEBs start to replace diesel buses, we will continue to implement our Bus Service Improvement Plan to better connect North Somerset residents to work, school and essential services with the aim of making bus travel the first choice over using a car.

Cllr Hannah Young, Executive Member for Highways and Transport at North Somerset Council

Weston-super-Mare’s bus interchange was established in 2019 and designed to be ZEB ready with EV charging points which the new fleet will use.  

The new electric greener buses will benefit the environment. North Somerset Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019 with 40% of all CO2 emissions related to transport, including local bus activity. 

I’m delighted to hear we’ve been successful in this bid. The new 24 electric buses will support our goal of becoming carbon neutral and help improve poor urban air quality that is known to increase antibiotic resistance, as well as poor respiratory health in the UK. 

In addition to supporting this cleaner air ambition, ZEBs generate significantly less noise than diesel equivalents, therefore helping to improve community quality of life in local neighbourhoods in which depots are situated and on routes that the ZEBs will be travelling.

Cllr Annemieke Waite, Executive Member with responsibility for the climate change emergency at North Somerset Council

This is a real landmark moment for the West of England, as we secure our first electric buses in the region, demonstrating our ongoing commitment towards a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035.

We’re delighted that our customers will benefit from over £12.8 million that we as a company are investing in this upgrade to our buses and transforming the Weston-super-Mare depot, alongside the government funding. We’ve worked tirelessly with North Somerset Council to get to this point, and we cannot wait to get these vehicles on the road. 

It’s an exciting time for our colleagues as we start to transform the Weston depot. It is also great news for our customers who will benefit the most from these state-of-the-art vehicles, including improved air quality and a much better journey experience overall.

We’re proud to be a leader in sustainable transport, and we’ll continue to work closely with central and local Government to deliver our decarbonisation ambitions to create a nation that loves and uses the bus.

Doug Claringbold, First West of England Managing Director

North Somerset Council and the West of England Combined Authority received over £105 million from the Department for Transport to improve bus services by 2025. 

As part of our plan to improve local transport across the South West, we’re providing over £2 million to roll out 24 brand new zero-emission buses across North Somerset.

This latest investment into our bus fleet comes on top of the £3.5 billion we have invested into our bus network since 2020, protecting and improving bus routes into 2025 as well as extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper

The Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) supports our commitment to create a bus transport network that will become faster, more convenient, coordinated and better for the environment and your pocket than running a car.

Working in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority, our local BSIP supports our vision to encourage everyone to ‘walk or wheel’ where possible, helping to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. When that’s not possible, bus travel is encouraged to be the first choice over car usage, helping ease traffic congestion and creating a greener way to travel. We are delivering this programme by working closely with local bus operators.

For more information about North Somerset Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan, please visit

Original press release by North Somerset Council