The city of Leicester will get 18 new electric buses after a £3 million investment from the UK government.
The latest round of funding means all diesel buses will now be replaced with 86 electric buses, making Leicester home to one of the first bus depots in the UK to transition to fully electric.
In total, the government has invested nearly £22 million in Leicester’s bus fleet through the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (Zebra) scheme, with 114 electric buses now operating in the city.
Alongside the new investment for Leicester’s bus fleet, roads minister Richard Holden announced Bus Centre of Excellence, a new scheme aimed at boosting skills and diversity in the bus sector, which will be backed by £815,000 of government investment.
“Buses are the backbone of our transport network, providing affordable travel for commuters, families, and pensioners, and providing an economic lifeline for towns and cities around the country,” said Holden.
“This multi million investment for Leicester’s clean transformation, coupled with the new Bus Centre of Excellence, will help drive the country’s bus sector recovery and provide passengers with cleaner, more affordable buses that run on time.”
The Bus Centre of Excellence, hosted by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) will also provide training opportunities, direct access to industry experts and networking events in order to encourage more people to use the bus network.
“This partnership (alongside other government initiatives) will see CIHT help to bring together a wide range of professional skills and knowledge from both the public and private sector to facilitate change to local infrastructure, service delivery and the sector across the country – with the ultimate aim of improving bus services,” said CIHT president, Neil Johnstone.
The Bus Centre of Excellence follows the £155 million announced last month that will support bus services around the UK, helping to provide affordable journeys by extending the £2 bus fare cap.
In total, the government has invested more than £2 billion in the bus industry since the pandemic, and plans to add a further £1 billion to improve the quality of bus services.