York secures £8.4m for more electric buses

York secures £8.4m for more electric buses


City of York Council has been awarded over £8.4 million to support the purchase of 44 fully electric buses – one of the key sustainable transport schemes and initiatives that City of York Council is aiming to deliver.

The Department for Transport funding announced this award on 26th March, following a successful submission by the Council in January.

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 and 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 £8m. 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 NOx and particulate emissions across the city, but especially within the city centre Clean Air Zone. Overall, the Council says that 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.

“We are delighted to be successful in receiving over £8.4million 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 Government will announce funding for this shortly,” said Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport at City of York Council.

Last year, City of York Council invested in two high-speed charging hubs for electric cars at the Monks Cross and Poppleton Bar Park and Rides in York, with EvoEnergy beginning construction on the two sites in February 2021.

In October last year, City of York Council also submitted a £39m 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 lockdowns, with passenger volumes currently 80-90% of pre-pandemic levels.

“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,” said Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for the Environment at City of York Council.

“York already holds 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.”