Zero Emission Bus funding making an impact in Oxford and South Yorkshire

Both Oxfordshire County Council and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority have announced this week that they are beginning reap the rewards of winning ZEBRA (Zero Emission Buses Regional Area) funding.

12 Local Transport Authorities were awarded standard track funding in 2022, with five others having been given fast-track funding the year before .

(l to r)  Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member Judy Roberts, Leader Liz Leffman, CEO Martin Reeves, with Stagecoach MD Rachel Geliamassi and OBC MD Luke Marion 

Oxfordshire County Council have partnered with bus operators to launch what will be one of the biggest UK fleets of electric buses outside London.

The £82.5 million project will deliver 159 new battery buses on to the roads of Oxford – the first of which have already gone into service. It has also funded two associated electric charging hubs at the city’s bus depots.

The Oxford Bus Company vehicles have been manufactured by Wright Bus in Northern Ireland, with the Stagecoach vehicles manufactured by Alexander Dennis in Scotland.

Oxford Bus Company will deliver 104 electric buses into service and Stagecoach 55. Working with Zenobe, the UK’s leading fleet electrification specialist, Oxford Bus Company has installed 104 charging points at its Cowley House depot, with Stagecoach installing charging points at its Network Oxford site.

The charging hubs are powered by EDF Energy’s Oxford Superhub network, providing enough electricity to charge all 159 buses, enough for each bus to drive up to 200 miles per day.

Meanwhile, in South Yorkshire, work has started at a depot to bring the first fleet of zero emission electric buses to the area as part of a partnership between Stagecoach and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.

Electrification work has begun at the Rawmarsh depot ahead of the arrival of the first fleet of 23 zero emission electric buses to arrive in the region – a further four are earmarked for Sheffield.

The brand-new electric Yutong buses will be introduced on the region’s bus network in the spring and will feature on routes which connect the Dearne Valley across Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster.

South Yorkshire bid for  ZEBRA funding in partnership with South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority  and Stagecoach and received £8,351,721 from the DfT. SYMCA also contributed £2,683,051 of their City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) provided by Government.

The infrastructure needed to charge and maintain the electric buses also reflects a major £2.5 million investment in the Rawmarsh depot based in Rotherham.

The contractor, EO, will install the 23 output chargers as well as two mobile workshop chargers at the depot which will facilitate the running of the zero-emission fleet.

South Yorkshire’s Mayor, Oliver Coppard, said: ‘We think around 200,000 people in South Yorkshire live in areas vulnerable to air pollution, and 1 in 20 deaths here are related to poor air quality. That’s a challenge we simply have to address, and why we need to get cleaner, greener vehicles of all sorts on our roads.

‘To meet that goal we’ve funded electric bus projects that are underway across the region as part of the Zebra1 project and we also have a second bid for Zebra 2 funding submitted to the Department for Transport with Stagecoach and First.’

Photos: Ed Nix



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