First Bus announces £89 million investment in zero-emission buses and infrastructure

Posted: 26 March 2024 | | No comments yet

First Bus announces an £89 million investment in 178 zero-emission buses and infrastructure across four regions, marking a significant step towards its pledge for a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.

First Bus announces £89 million investment in zero-emission buses and infrastructure

Credit: First Bus

First Bus has unveiled plans for a substantial £89 million investment aimed at furthering its transition to zero-emission buses and infrastructure. This initiative, spanning across four regions, is set to revolutionise public transportation while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

In collaboration with local authorities, First Bus has secured £16 million in funding through the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme. This financial backing will support the introduction of 178 zero-emission buses and the enhancement of infrastructure in strategic locations.

The investment will facilitate upgrades in power and infrastructure at depot sites in Taunton, Weston-super-Mare, Basildon and Hengrove in Bristol. These enhancements are aimed at future-proofing the sites for the transition to a fully electric fleet in the years to come.

With a focus on improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions, this initiative is expected to benefit rural communities and inter-urban routes, where the deployment of zero-emission buses will make a significant impact.

UK government invests £143 million to roll-out zero-emission buses nationwide

First Bus will introduce the zero-emission buses across several regions:

  • Basildon depot in partnership with Essex County Council
  • Weston-super-Mare depot in partnership with North Somerset Council
  • Hengrove depot in partnership with West of England Combined Authority (WECA)
  • Taunton depot in partnership with Somerset Council.

This announcement comes on the heels of First Bus’s Norwich depot becoming the first outside of London to operate a zero-emission bus fleet. In addition, depots in York and Leicester are slated to follow suit, with their own zero-emission bus networks expected to roll-out by the end of Spring 2024.

Upon completion, First Bus will operate more than 800 zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure across 14 depot sites in the UK. This will constitute at least 18% of its overall UK bus fleet, representing a significant stride toward its pledge to achieve a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2035.

Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus, said: “We’re delighted that customers will benefit from government co-funding of these transformative projects. We’ve worked tirelessly alongside our local authority partners to get to this point and cannot wait to get these vehicles out into service for our customers. It is an exciting time for our colleagues at all four of these sites as we start to transform and futureproof our depots. This is also great news for our customers, who will see the immediate benefits of these state-of-the-art vehicles – including improved air quality and enhanced customer experience.”