Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet has approved amended plans for the town’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which will let the authority proceed with the project to replace Warrington’s Own Buses’ entire fleet with electric buses.
The council plans to deliver 105 buses during 2024, marking one of the largest procurements of electric buses for any town or city in the UK. The entire fleet with will be replaced with electric vehicles (EVs)
In 2021, the council secured funding from the ZEBRA fund to replace its diesel fleet with a greener alternative, with Warrington also contributing some of its own money to the scheme.
Recent economic uncertainty has posed challenges to the project, leading the council to propose a remodelled scheme, including adjustments to the total number of buses purchased.
Once the government gave its assent and the cabinet approved the revisions, Warrington was able to officially move forward with the new plans.
Hans Murphy, councillor and Warrington Borough Council’s cabinet Member for transportation, highways and public realm, said: “I’m delighted that Cabinet has now given the go ahead to our remodelled ZEBRA scheme.
“This investment will be transformative for bus travel in our borough, enabling us to provide environmentally friendly, modern and attractive bus services for everyone.
“Delivering a truly green bus system will bring huge benefits for Warrington, significantly improving air quality and supporting our ambitions to decarbonise our transport system as we work towards a zero-carbon future.
“At the same time, delivering one of the highest numbers of electric buses in the UK will put our town at the forefront of delivering sustainable, zero emissions public transport, further enhancing our reputation as forward-thinking location to live, work, and do business.
“Crucially, this significant investment in the town’s bus company will make a huge difference to local people, helping make our buses more reliable and attractive and keeping fares low, which we hope will encourage many more people to choose this mode of transport.”
The local authority has also committed to an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with all local operators to maximise the benefits of the ZEBRA scheme.
This collaboration will see the council engaging with all bus operators in Warrington to ensure high vehicle standards are set, clear journey time and reliability targets are established and areas in need of bus priority measures are identified.