Coventry to fund 297 electric buses

Coventry is to receive £50m to fund 297 all-electric buses that will be on city streets by 2025.

Coventry is one of only two cities selected by Government from the 19 towns and cities that applied to be the UK’s first all-electric bus city – having shown how the scheme could help solve poor air quality. Oxford was also successful.

The funding will be secured once a final business case is submitted to and approved by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) on 19 March.

The project aims to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gas, and reduce the costs of running buses. The electric buses will also provide a more comfortable passenger experience which will help to boost the number of people using buses to travel around the city. Highways officers believe it will save around 55 tonnes of Nitrogen Dioxide every year.

The £50 million will be invested by the Department for Transport and the work to put an all-electric bus fleet on the streets of Coventry will begin from April.

The bid was secured by Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA.

As well as funding for new vehicles, the grant will also cover investment in wider infrastructure such as charging points and upgrades to the electric grid.

The £50m will be supported by a further £75m of investment from local bus operators into the new electric buses.

A report will be discussed by councillors next week.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “This is great for Coventry and will make a major dent in addressing air pollution. We already have a range of schemes to improve air quality and this will help exceed our targets.

“This is also even more evidence of the city embracing and applying new technologies. Innovation is part of the DNA of the city.

“We already have excellent partnership working with bus companies like National Express Coventry and together we have been striving to make our public transport network better, greener and cleaner.

“Our approach is about making a long-lasting impact on those that live and work here, and visit the city. That’s exactly what an all-electric bus fleet will help deliver.”

The all-electric bus city programme also will give a commitment to ensure all future buses operating in the city after winter 2025 must be all electric.

David Bradford, Managing Director at National Express Coventry, said: “As part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance partnership we work very closely with Transport for West Midlands and Coventry City Council to deliver reliable, affordable and green transport in the communities we serve. So, we are delighted that Coventry is set to become one of the UK’s first all-electric bus cities.

“The easiest and the cheapest way we can clean up our air and fight climate change is to hop on a bus. We already have a comprehensive network of bus services across Coventry and we’ve frozen fares again this year, ensuring bus travel continues to be affordable and accessible for all.

“We all have a part to play in making cleaner, greener choices, so it’s worth remembering that a double decker bus can take up to 75 cars off the road. By choosing public transport we can reduce the level of traffic on our roads, which in turn makes journeys quicker, and the air cleaner for everybody’s lungs.
“Early last year National Express proudly announced that every new bus we buy will be zero emission. This was followed by the launch of 10 fully electric buses in Coventry towards the end of summer.

“We’re looking forward to bringing hundreds more zero emission buses to the city of Coventry, complementing other measures being delivered through the Bus Alliance to drive even more improvements for new and existing bus customers.”

Coventry has one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charge points in any city outside London, and the investment in buses will complement other schemes that feature and promote electric vehicle use in Coventry such as the electrification of the Council’s own fleet of vehicles and the promotion of electric taxis.

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