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Shrewsbury bidding to become first all-electric bus town in England

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Environment | Published:

Shrewsbury is bidding to become England's first town to have all-electric buses through a new £50 million Government initiative.

The first electric bus pulled into Shrewsbury last year on trial

The Department for Transport (DfT) is inviting local authorities to bid for money to help pay for a new fleet of electric buses.

Shropshire Council has already registered its interest and is keen to move forward with its plans to introduce more sustainable transport in the county town, according to cabinet member for transport, Steve Davenport.

The DfT said that the winning town would be used as a model by Government as it aims to ensure all buses are fully electric by 2025.

Councillor Davenport said: "We registered our interest at the beginning of the year as we knew it was coming. We will have to wait to see if we have been successful but ideally I would like to run the whole Park & Ride service on electric buses.

"My aim when I first got this job was to remove traffic and pollution from the centre of Shrewsbury and the surrounding towns. Naturally part of that is growing the Park & Ride to make getting into the town as easy as possible.

"Of course I would like to see that expanded further but it all depends on how much money is allocated. We will be bidding for the very maximum so we can do as much as possible with electric vehicles going forward."

Work

Over the last year the authority has made big strides towards to becoming more environmentally friendly.

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In July Shropshire Council’s first-ever electric bus pulled up in the county on a three-week trial and members are working on introducing driverless pods to the county town.

Councillor Daveport added: "We've already done a lot of work around buses and electric and that will form part of our bid. Most recently we trialled an electric bus from Shrewsbury to Ludlow and back again.

"It really quite surprised me because I was concerned about the range at first but we did actually get a range that was suitable. Later this month we're getting them on test again. We're really trying to do as much as we can and hope we can get money to build on it."

The Government announcement comes as part of a wider package of measures for buses.

About £70m will go towards high-frequency "superbus" networks and £20m will go towards trials of on-demand buses, which can be ordered through an app.

Last year Councillor Davenport started looking into an Uber-style bus service which matches people travelling in the same direction with the right minibus.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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