A new scheme backed by £49m of county council funding, has been announced today (24 November 2020) to accelerate the introduction of ultra-low and zero emission buses in Surrey.
The Surrey Ultra Low and Zero Emission scheme will see the introduction of up to 80 ultra-low or zero-emission buses and 50 community transport minibuses by 2025 with the aim that all buses across the county will be ultra-low or zero-emission by 2030. Residents will also benefit from improvements to bus journey times and increased real time passenger information in busy areas.
Financial support will be provided by Surrey County Council with supporting investment from bus operators and community transport providers. Surrey County Council’s investment will see £32.3m allocated to buses, £6.3m for Community Transport vehicles, £9m for bus priority measures on the highway and £1.4m dedicated to improving the real time passenger information system.
Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This scheme is a key part of our significant investment in Surrey’s entire transport infrastructure to help address the climate change emergency and achieve a greener future.
“By acting now to reduce the environmental impact of buses, we can reduce harmful vehicle emissions and improve Surrey’s air quality whilst providing new, state of the art vehicles for a healthier travel experience.
“We know that our bus network is already highly valuable to many of our residents and we hope that buses, walking and cycling prove to be increasingly popular travel options in the future for journeys when cars aren’t essential.”
Industry bus operators will be able to bid to the Surrey Ultra-Low and Zero Emission scheme for a proportion of the cost difference between buying an ultra-low or zero emission bus and a conventional diesel-powered equivalent, from early 2021. Buses could be hydrogen fuel-cell powered, full electric or hybrid electric with preference given to bids for bus routes that run through Air Quality Management Areas.
In 2019, the first electric park and ride fleet for southern England was introduced in Guildford, Surrey.