£3 million for 18 more zero emission buses in Leicester


The government has announced £3 million for 18 brand new zero emission buses in Leicester. The new buses will be manufactured in Northern Ireland by Wrightbus and operated by First Bus.

This latest investment means all diesel buses at the operator First Bus’s depot in Leicester will now be replaced with 86 electric buses funded by the Zero Emission Buses Regional Areas (ZEBRA), making Leicester home to one of the first bus depots in the UK to transition to fully electric. In total Leicester has benefitted from nearly £22 million funding from the ZEBRA scheme to support 114 electric buses.

Janette Bell, Managing Director at First Bus, said: "We’re absolutely delighted that Leicester will become one of our blueprint bus depots of the future, helping us to refine and iterate this new concept so we can roll it out across the rest of the UK. At First Bus, we’re continuing to trailblaze with our partners to ensure we meet our net zero targets, supported by co-funding from the Department for Transport.

"As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the government’s ambitions for a net zero carbon transport system. Through this co-funding with the ZEBRA scheme, we’re excited to electrify another 5 of our UK depots before March 2024, and look forward to introducing even more electric buses to our constantly growing fleet.

"We cannot wait to see our customers’ reactions once the project is complete, as we know the difference this will make to the city. Electric really is the future and we’re glad we can take our customers on this journey with us."

This comes as the government announces a new Bus Centre of Excellence, backed by £815,000 in government investment, which will bring together expertise from local government, bus operators and industry to boost skills and diversity in the bus sector.

Hosted by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, the centre of excellence will provide training opportunities, direct access to resources and industry experts, as well as networking events to uplift the capacity and capability of the whole sector, working to encourage people to get back on the bus.