New electric bus fleet en route to Blackpool

Posted on Monday 28th March 2022

Logo on back of a bus with Blackpool Tower reflected in the glass

A fleet of state-of-the-art electric buses will soon be arriving in Blackpool, following 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. 

Plans are in place to introduce 115 new buses over the next three to five years, providing one of the cleanest, most modern bus networks in the country. BTS’ 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. 

The council and all of its arms-length companies are striving to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Buses in general play a key role in reducing congestion and will now contribute more than ever in our universal need to reduce carbon emissions and protect our planet for future generations. 

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, added:

“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 buy 2 million litres of diesel a year.  

“We will be able sell most of our current fleet of diesel buses to other UK bus operators, providing access to low-emission diesel buses at an affordable cost and allowing funds from the sale of the buses to be reinvested in the local transport network.” 

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. 

“We’re working hard to make public transport more attractive for local residents, and I hope this will encourage more people to swap their car for the bus.” 

Find out more about how we’re making Blackpool better and sign up for email updates via our Making Blackpool Better page.

Posted on Monday 28th March 2022

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