£1.8m worth of extra funding secured for electric buses

The Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded York City Council an additional £1.8m to increase the scope of the Zero-Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.

The ZEBRA bid also brings significant investment in York from First Bus, with First pledging to co-fund a further nine electric buses.

With these additional vehicles, the First York bus fleet will become fully electric by 2024.

In March last year, City of York Council was awarded an initial £8.4m in ZEBRA scheme funding, which enabled an order for 44 electric buses from British manufacturer Wrightbus.

The local authorities successful in this initial bid were then offered the opportunity to apply for additional support from the DfT. Of those applicants – five local authorities have been successful, including York.

The funding will also be used to support the electrification of First’s James Street depot, including the installation of charging equipment and removal of the diesel refuelling station.

This award is in addition to the Bus Service Improvement (BSIP) funding of £17.36m received from the DfT in November 2022.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, deputy leader and executive member for transport at City of York Council, said: “We are happy to be successful in receiving an additional £1.8m in funding towards providing clean, zero emission public transport across the city.

“This is fundamental to achieving the city’s carbon reduction goals while supporting the development strategy set out in the Local Plan.

“To encourage greater use of the bus network, and sustainable travel routes, our network and bus services must be safe, convenient and attractive to residents, commuters and visitors.”

Councillor Paula Widdowson, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, said: “Securing this investment is excellent news for the city. Here in York, we have already gone to great lengths to promote sustainable travel, particularly on public transport.

“York already has bold targets for reducing carbon and taking steps to tackle climate change – and a fully electric fleet is a significant move forward and the removal of the fuel tanks from the First Depot will be a significant milestone and message for the city.

“We know 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.”

Tom Bridge, operations director for First Bus in North & West Yorkshire, added: “We are pleased to be able to accelerate investment in the electrification of our bus fleet and infrastructure, supported by co-funding from DfT.

“As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government and City of York Council’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system.”