Regional Mayor secures cash to power up 70+ electric buses

More than 70 fully electric buses – along with the charging infrastructure needed to support them – will be coming to the West of England, Mayor Dan Norris announced. The Mayor has successfully secured £6.6 million of funding in partnership with First Bus so the region can get on with a plan to roll out 74 electric buses (67 double-deckers, and seven single-deckers) to replace more polluting vehicles by the end of 2025.

The £6.6m secured by the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority unlocks the project – being matched by a major £37m investment from First Bus, and means both can get on with delivering the electric-powered proposals for locals. The cash will also be used to fully electrify First Bus’s Hengrove depot – including installing the power charging and infrastructure to handle the introduction of zero-emission buses.

These will be the region’s first fully electric, zero-emission buses and are a key part of Mayor Norris’s plans to build a sustainable West of England bus network, building on new and innovative schemes like Birthday Buses to get more passengers onto the West’s buses. As the local transport authority, the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority has a duty to tackle poor air quality.

Cutting-edge, zero-emission buses will help attract more passengers onto the region’s buses and cut carbon.

Transport on our roads makes up around 40% of all our carbon emissions; we have to hurry and move from petrol and diesel to cleaner solutions. These new buses will help us follow our green plan to decarbonise our transport network.

We’re investing to ensure that the West has a bus fleet to be proud of – one that’s better for passengers, and for our planet, too.

Dan Norris, West of England Mayor, said:

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 £37 million that we as a company are investing in this upgrade to our buses and transforming the Hengrove depot.

We’ve worked tirelessly with the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority to get to this point, and we cannot wait to get these vehicles on the road.

Doug Claringbold, First West of England Managing Director,

Through measures like funding the introduction of £2 fares – four months before government – rolled out by First Bus, and introducing new and innovative services like Birthday Buses and WESTlink, the Mayoral Combined Authority has grown passenger numbers by 13% in 2023, which is translating into better services for locals.

Under the Bus Service Improvement Plan, the Mayoral Combined Authority has pledged for all the region’s buses to be zero emission by the end of 2035.

The West of England Mayoral Combined Authority secured the funding after a successful bid to the DfT’s Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) fund which covers up to 75% of the cost difference between the zero emission vehicles and a standard diesel engine bus.

Original press release by the Mayoral Combined Authority