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Coventry on the verge of becoming UK’s first all-electric bus city after multi-million funding approved

todayMarch 19, 2021 21

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Pollution-busting plans for Coventry to become the UK’s first All-Electric Bus City have been backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) leaders today.

Approval from the WMCA Board means that £50 million Department for Transport (DfT) funding will now be handed to the region to deliver the project.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, will work with bus operators to replace buses and install charging infrastructure on Coventry’s streets. This includes pantograph, or overhead, charging points which will be available to all bus operators.

TfWM will lead the project 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.

Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who chairs the WMCA, said: “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 broader investment in fare-capping and better value fares. 

“It is a bus revolution here in the West Midlands, and Coventry is right at the heart of it.”

Coventry was selected as the UK’s first All-Electric Bus City following a successful bid to the DfT. Applicants were required to demonstrate support from stakeholders in their local areas, outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases, improve air quality, and show how the project would tackle an existing air quality problem.

The clean air benefits will be felt beyond the city boundary, as many services which start or finish in Coventry serve Warwickshire, Solihull, Birmingham, Rugby and Leicester. This will support the #WM2041 target for the region to be net-zero carbon within two decades. 

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, 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 significant dent in addressing air pollution. 

“We have excellent working relations with bus companies in the city, and these are exciting times for all of us. The hard work starts now.”

Written by: David Watkins

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