Blackpool secures £20m to invest in electric bus fleet

Blackpool authorities have successfully pitched for £20m funding which will be used to introduce a fleet of 115 electric buses to its roads within five years.

Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services submitted the joint bid to the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) fund. 

The fund, introduced in 2020, helps local transport authorities outside London to introduce zero-emission buses and the infrastructure needed to support them. 

The fleet will help the council achieve its net zero ambitions. And in addition to a modern, customer-focused design, each bus will be entirely tailpipe emissions-free, helping to improve air quality across the Fylde Coast.  

Blackpool invested £22m in environmentally-friendly diesel buses in 2016. This fleet will be sold on to other UK operators at affordable prices, saving Blackpool two million litres of diesel a year and raising funds to be reinvested in the local transport network.

Coun Neal Brookes, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport, said: “The ZEBRA funding is 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."

Jane Cole, managing director at BTS, added: "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."