£46 million funding bid for all-electric buses in Shrewsbury
A scheme to transform Shrewsbury into an 'electric bus town' and improve the county's rural bus service could become reality with a £46 million funding bid by Shropshire Council .
The authority has bid for more than £46 million of Government funding to help improve bus services across Shropshire, including developing Shrewsbury into an all-electric bus town, and improving rural transport links.
Two bids have been submitted to the Department for Transport. One is for £1.1 million to develop a ‘demand-responsive’ service in rural Shropshire to help link up healthcare services and the existing local bus network.
The other bid is for £45 million to help turn Shrewsbury into an 'electric bus town'. This would mean making all the town’s buses electric, and installing charging points and other related infrastructure.
Shropshire Council hopes this will improve the Shrewsbury service and mean that revenue generated can be used to enhance the rural bus network.
In March this year the Department for Transport awarded Shropshire Council £320,000 to extend its park and ride service to 7.30pm, and to provide a park and ride service between Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals.
The new funding bids will link with Shropshire Council’s plans to launch a ‘next generation’ park and ride service for Shrewsbury, which will go out to consultation in the next few weeks.
Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "With one successful funding bid behind us, we have our fingers firmly crossed that these two new bids will also be successful and see significant amounts of Government money heading to Shropshire to help us improve our public transport services still further.
"We have really ambitious plans for public transport and this funding will go a long way to making these plans a reality. We’ve submitted two very strong bids and now eagerly await an announcement from the Department for Transport.
"The electric bus town bid is especially exciting. Making Shrewsbury’s bus services entirely electric would transform the service, put us on the map locally and nationally, and act as real statement of intent in relation to our climate change commitments."
Earlier this year, Shropshire Council registered its interest in a Government scheme to become England's first town to have all-electric buses through a new £50 million initiative.
In February, the Department for Transport invited local authorities to bid for money to help pay for a new fleet of electric buses and Councillor Davenport said the authority was keen to move forward with its plans to introduce more sustainable transport in the county town.