City region to buy 58-strong fleet of electric buses

Liverpool city region to introduce a fleet of 58 electric buses costing more than £30m after securing £9.4m from the Government – but the hydrogen buses remain off the road. Tony McDonough reports

Queen Square
A new fleet of electric buses is to enter service in Merseyside. Picture by Tony McDonough


Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) has secured £9.4m from the Government towards the purchase of a 58-strong fleet of electric buses.

On Friday the Department for Transport (DoT) announced its Zero Emission Bus Regional Area fund was backing the electric bus purchase. The CA will chip in £22m taking the total investment to £31.4m.

These new vehicles will join the city region’s current fleet which is already more than 70% zero or low emissions.They include a 20-strong fleet of hydrogen buses as well as buses powered by hybrid electric and biomethane gas.

However, the hydrogen vehicles have had a troubling start. They came into service on the 10A Liverpool to St Helens route in May 2023. Weeks later a shortage of hydrogen took them off the road. A limited service returned in the autumn but LBN understands they are currently not in operation.

It’s planned that the electric buses – which will be operated by Stagecoach – will run on the 17, 19, 14 and 20/21 bus routes between Kirkby, Tower Hill, Northwood and Liverpool city centre.

Richard McGuckin, executive director for place at the Combined Authority, said: “We know this was a highly competitive process so this award speaks to the high quality of our submission and the hard work of colleagues.

“The money secured will, along with the match-funding already committed by the CA, help to bring dozens of new zero-emission buses to the city region enabling us to push forward with our ambitions to decarbonise our transport network and improve air quality.”

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Transport secretary Mark Harper added: “As part of our plan to improve local transport in the North West, we’re providing £9.4m to roll out 58 brand new zero-emission buses for the Liverpool City Region.

“This latest investment into our bus fleet comes on top of the £3.5bn we have invested into our bus network since 2020, protecting and improving bus routes into 2025 as well as extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.”

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