Blackpool Transport awarded Government Funding for Electric buses

6 months ago Mon 28th Mar 2022

A fleet of state-of-the-art electric buses will soon be arriving in Blackpool, following a successful joint bid by Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services (BTS) to the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) fund. 

 

The ZEBRA scheme has the following key aims:

  • To support the government’s commitment to decarbonisation and to reduce the transport sector’s contribution to CO2 emissions
  • To support the roll-out of the 4,000 Zero Emission Buses that the government committed to in February 2020
  • To support bus manufacturers in the development of zero emission bus technology
  • To support partnership working between Local Transport Authorities, bus operators, and other local stakeholders as set out in the National Bus Strategy
  • To understand better the challenges of introducing zero emission buses and supporting infrastructure to inform future government support for Zero Emission Buses.

Plans are in place to introduce 115 new buses over the next three to five years, providing one of the cleanest, most modern bus networks in the country. Our Rigby Road depot is also set to be transformed to accommodate the vehicles. 

Blackpool will receive £20m from the ZEBRA fund to support the scheme. The fund was first announced by the Prime Minister in 2020 and helps local transport authorities outside London to introduce zero-emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. 

Jane Cole, Managing Director at Blackpool Transport said ‘Good air quality is hugely important to everyone and the introduction of electric vehicles will contribute positively towards reducing air pollution. This funding is a key step in our strategy to make Blackpool a vibrant, digital-technology led town.

James Carney, Finance and Commercial Director at Blackpool Transport added ‘Blackpool Council have shown their ambition for a clean public and modern transport system since 2016, when the first Euro VI, environmentally friendly diesel buses were delivered as part of a £22m finance programme to invest in new buses. This grant will take Blackpool’s bus network to another level because by operating electric buses, the company will no longer need buy 2m litres of diesel a year. We will be able sell most of our current fleet of diesel buses to other UK bus operators, providing access to low-emission diesel buses at an affordable cost and allowing funds from the sale of the buses to be reinvested in the local transport network’

The funding will allow for a 3-year scheme of work to begin to allow us to transform our bus depot, making it fit for purpose to operate electric vehicles. You can see more about our plans for the depot by watching the video below. You can also read the full business case for the proposal of Blackpool's application to the scheme here.