This is why South Yorkshire received just 27 electric buses in the Government's funding announcement

Transport bosses in South Yorkshire have explained why the region only received 27 electric buses in a recent Government funding announcement.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 1:18 pm

The majority of the new buses will serve two routes through Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster while Sheffield will get four serving the city centre.

Sheffield is also entitled to additional revenue support worth £2.2 million from a separate fund, to operate the buses bought under Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced 4,000 EV buses would be provided as part of the National Bus Strategy in March 2021.

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An electric bus run by Stagecoach

Transport bosses at South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) said this was a competitive ‘bidding process’, in which all council areas could participate.

It’s understood that of those who submitted bids for electric buses, less than 50 per cent of bids from across the country were successful with South Yorkshire being one of them.

Others who were successful didn’t receive all the funding they asked for while South Yorkshire received 100% of the grant asked for.

It was also said that SYMCA had to focus on routes that would run in clean air zones to stand the best chance of meeting the DfT criteria.

It was also revealed that there was ‘limited appetite’ among large bus operators but Stagecoach will run the 23 buses in Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley.

Other successful areas included West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Blackpool, York, Portsmouth and Oxfordshire and Nottingham.

On the ‘constraints’ of the bidding process, a SYMCA spokesman said: “The bid was competitive, without indication of value to bid for, other than that the overall original pot was £50 million for all local authorities intending on putting a bid forward

“The bid was therefore built bottom-up, the investment based on what routes we could operate zero-emission on and be delivered within the ZEBRA grant timescales

“We had to partner with commercial operators and there was limited appetite amongst larger operators.

“The DfT’s criteria for selection meant we had to focus the route selection on aligning with Clean Air Zones in South Yorkshire to get the most competitive option into the DfT.”