IPPR think-tank calls for £2.5bn investment in new zero emission buses and urges levelling-up to end ‘deep-rooted regional unfairness’ on buses
More than 5,800 extra green buses are needed by 2030 in English regions outside London to reach net zero and support the levelling up agenda, according to a new report from think-tank IPPR.
The National Bus Strategy and Levelling Up White Paper committed the government to levelling up public transport across England to be “significantly closer to the standards of London”. The government has also committed to replacing existing diesel buses across the UK with 4,000 new green buses.
However, as of May 2023, despite thousands of buses being nominally ordered or funded, only 87 of these zero emission buses were in use outside the capital.
New IPPR analysis shows how a genuine commitment to levelling up bus services across England would result in substantial benefits for regions and the environment. By 2030, this would result in an increase of 2.7 billion bus journeys, an equivalent of 900,000 cars taken off the road, and emission reductions from cars and buses of 18%.
Deep-rooted regional unfairness means London has at least twice as many bus trips per person as any other metropolitan area in England
The think-tank says “deep-rooted regional unfairness means London has at least twice as many bus trips per person as any other metropolitan area in England”.
To address the disparity in bus services and level up transport connectivity across England, IPPR is calling for the government to:
Phase-out the sale of new diesel bus sales by 2030 and “make clear that the default choice of technology for buses is electric, not hydrogen”;
Invest £2.5bn by extending the funding of Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) between 2023 and 2030;
Set out a more ambitious transport decarbonisation plan “which delivers a world-leading, clean and affordable, local public transport system”.
This story appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.
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