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UK to get first fully electric bus town and new on-demand ride-sharing services

The UK’s first all-electric bus town is to go live alongside new on-demand ride-sharing services for rural and suburban areas under latest government eco plans.

Local areas will receive up to £50m to help them make the switch to electric buses

The schemes are to be delivered as part of a £170m fund intended to help encourage people to use greener bus transport as the Department for Transport recognises that electric buses have a “crucial role to play in bringing down emissions”; it says a town with 200 electric buses could save around 7,400 tonnes of CO2 each year, the equivalent to taking 3,700 diesel cars off the road.

Applications are already open to local authorities to apply to become the UK’s first all-electric bus town, with funding of up to £50m available to help make the switch.

Local authorities can also apply for funding of up to £20m to trial on-demand ride sharing services in rural and suburban areas, £70m for ‘Superbus’ networks and £30m to improve current services or restore lost routes

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Britain’s first all-electric bus town is just the start. Helping deliver on our manifesto promise, this £170m package will help us to create communities which are cleaner, easier to get around and more environmentally friendly, speeding up journeys and making them more reliable.

“By focusing on efficient and affordable transport, we will make greener journeys the natural choice.”

Daniel Brown, policy manager and EV lead at the Renewable Energy Association (REA), greeted the announcement as “forward-thinking initiative from Government that will support those pioneering British companies and local authorities who are striving to deliver on our Net Zero goals”.

He added: “We hope such a project will demonstrate the efficacy and affordability of electric buses, which will help the private sector replicate this project in other communities.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.