Local authorities have greenlit plans for Coventry to become the UK’s first all-electric bus city.
On Friday 19 March, proposals for a bus revolution were supported by leaders of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and will be supported by £50 million of funding from the Department for Transport.
The plan will see every bus in Coventry be electric-powered by 2025, which is intended to improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower running costs.
The project will be led by Transport for West Midlands in partnership with Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and local bus operators. Together, they are paying 25% of the added costs of electric vehicles over diesel and charging infrastructure.
West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said: “It took a lot of lobbying and persuading, but I am delighted we won the Government’s national competition to turn Coventry’s bus fleet all electric.
“It was great to welcome the Prime Minister to Coventry this week to talk about our all-electric plans, and crucially today’s confirmation by the WMCA board now unlocks his Government’s £50 million investment, meaning we can get on with rolling out the clean, green, electric buses onto the city’s roads.
“Not only will the clean bus fleet improve the public transport offering in Coventry, but it is also another step towards tackling the climate emergency and helping to attract people to leave their cars at home in favour of taking the bus.
It is a bus revolution here in the West Midlands, and Coventry is right at the heart of it
– Andy Street
“This is a great time for bus users in Coventry, with our newly refurbished Pool Meadow bus station, the trial of West Midlands On Demand buses serving the University of Warwick campus, as well our wider investment in fare-capping and better value fares, bus priority measures, real-time travel information and on board facilities like wi-fi and USB charging.
“It is a bus revolution here in the West Midlands, and Coventry is right at the heart of it.”
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Our £50m investment will see Coventry’s entire fleet of buses replaced with new, all-electric vehicles. This will have a profoundly positive effect on air quality and emissions in the area and reduce noise pollution.
“This Government is committed to decarbonising the transport network across the UK, as we build back greener and strive to achieve net zero by 2050.”
Coventry city councillor Jim O’Boyle said: “We have finally got this over the line after we were able to convince the government that this city is the ideal location and this will make a major dent in addressing air pollution.
“We already have a range of schemes to improve air quality and this will help exceed our targets.”
This news comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the city on 16 March, launching a new national public transport strategy aimed at encouraging more people to use buses.
During the visit, Mr Johnson said: “Buses are lifelines and liberators, connecting people to jobs they couldn’t otherwise take, driving pensioners and young people to see their friends, sustaining town centres and protecting the environment.
“As we build back from the pandemic, better buses will be one of our first acts of levelling up.”