Blackpool to introduce new electric bus fleet after successful £20m funding bid

Current bus fleet

A new 115-strong fleet of electric buses is set to take to the roads of Blackpool.

It follows 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 new fleet will enter service over the next three to five years, giving the region one of the cleanest, most modern bus networks in the country.

BTS’s 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.

The successful bid for funding faced sharp competition. Blackpool was competing with city regions such as Manchester and Liverpool, amongst 15 other local transport authorities that had all reached Stage Two of the 2021/22 funding round.

Each new bus will feature a modern, customer-focused design and will be entirely tailpipe emissions-free, helping to improve air quality across the Fylde Coast.

Jane Cole, managing director at BTS, 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, said: “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 to buy two million litres of diesel a year.”

Cllr Neal Brookes, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport, also welcomed the successful bid: “The ZEBRA funding means we can push forward with plans to replace the current bus fleet with zero emission vehicles. It’s yet another shot in the arm for Blackpool’s public transport system and our push towards becoming a greener town.”