Electric buses could be on Calderdale's roads under proposed £81m West Yorkshire public transport scheme

Eight electric buses will be introduced in Calderdale and Kirklees if an £81m scheme to shake up the region's public transport comes to fruition.

By Chris Young - Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 10:33 am

The initiative means almost a fifth of West Yorkshire's buses could be electric in the next few years, with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority aiming to add up to 245 zero-emission buses.

That would include the eight earmarked for Calderdale and Kirklees, at a cost of £4m, with a focus on “exploring the impact of hilly landscape on the running of electric buses”.

A report by the authority claims that the move would “revitalise” a service in “long-term decline”.

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An electric bus pictured in Glasgow last year.

The first phase will introduce 111 electric buses in Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield and could be rolled out as soon as August.

With priority being given to areas with the lowest air quality, Bradford is likely to be one of the biggest local beneficiaries of the scheme.

A £24m bid for Government funding to help introduce more zero-emission buses was approved earlier this year.

This funding will support phase one of the scheme – a £56.2m programme to introduce the 111 buses along with infrastructure such as charging stations on the routes. This phase will begin in August.

The second phase will see eight electric buses rolled out in Calderdale and Kirklees, and the third phase will be a £21m project to introduce between 60 and 126 zero-emission buses and associated infrastructure. The report, which will be discussed at a meeting of the combined authority on Thursday, says: “Bus patronage is in long-term decline, and Covid-specific factors have caused major issues for the industry.

“By modernising the service and electrifying vehicles, the service will be revitalised, bringing new jobs and growth into the green sector.

“The West Yorkshire Zero Emission Bus programme will result in a direct increase to the West Yorkshire fleet electrification, from two per cent to up to 19 per cent, which will lower emissions and bring hi-tech modern buses into operation.

“This will also improve bus patronage in key areas through improved service quality.

“Electrification of bus depots will also lay the groundwork for further electrification in the future.

“This programme will improve transport by bus in the region by removing older, more polluting vehicles which do not meet the needs of passengers, with modern, high-class vehicles connecting our cities and towns across the region.”

The report says the programme will “prioritise converting routes which will bring the greatest environmental and emission benefits. The Government has a target of funding 4,000 zero-emission buses across the country.