The Labour Party say they will fund the entire electrification of England’s 35,000 buses by 2030 if they win the general election.
The plans would cost £4bn and would come from Labour’s £250bn ‘Green Transformation Fund’, which aims to upgrade the country’s energy and transport networks. Labour believes that electrification would cut air pollution on the bus network by 72%.
The party would also give local authorities the power to regulate bus services and create new council-owned bus companies, which is currently being planned for Greater Manchester.
They would also offer free bus travel to under 25s in areas that bring buses into public control or ownership.
The plans will be announced tomorrow (December 7) and Labour also reiterated their plan to put money into rural bus services.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘The Westminster bubble doesn’t care about buses but cuts to bus routes leave so many people isolated, stuck at home and unable to make vital trips out.’
Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, added: ‘Buses are by far the most used and most important form of public transport but huge budget cuts has caused bus use to plummet to an all-time low.
‘The Conservative Party do not care about buses nor the people and communities who rely on them.’
‘Labour is offering a once in a generation transformation of bus services by delivering the funding and powers to deliver a world class bus service in every corner of the country, that will connect people and communities to work and leisure.’
The Conservative manifesto includes plans to invest in new ‘superbus’ networks in city centres that have lower fares and are more regular.
They also say they will invest in electric buses and hope to develop the UK’s first all-electric bus town.
A bus industry source told Air Quality News that Labour’s electrification pledge was ‘well thought out’ but any funding must also cover charging infrastructure such as converting depots from diesel to electric as well as building charge points.