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Wiltshire Council and Salisbury Reds awarded funding for £11.4m electric buses project in the city

Published 22 March 2024
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Wiltshire Council and Salisbury Reds have successfully secured funding from the Department for Transport's (DfT) ZEBRA (Zero Emission Bus Regional Area) scheme to bring 23 new electric buses to the city.

The two organisations worked in partnership to bid for the funding, and they will both be providing their own financial contributions to make up the £11.4m project, with the council providing up to £1m from its Salisbury Transport Strategy fund. The investment not only includes the purchase of the buses, but also the electric charging infrastructure, which will be installed at Salisbury Reds' depot.

The 23 electric buses, which will come into service in 2026, will run on major city routes and surrounding areas, including services to and from Stonehenge and the city's Park and Ride sites.

Cllr Tamara Reay, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "It's fantastic that our partnership with Salisbury Reds has attracted this huge investment into the city, which will both reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality - two key parts of our business plan.

"We have committed to improving our bus network across the county, and Salisbury, with its many bus routes in the city, is the perfect place to bring the first electric buses to Wiltshire.

"Our officers and colleagues from Salisbury Reds will now work on implementing this plan, starting with the installation of the bus charging infrastructure, and people will start to see these new electric buses in the city from 2026."

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Salisbury Reds, said: This is very exciting news, and it will put Salisbury right at the forefront of sustainable transport.

"We are bringing 23 new, all electric, double and single decker buses into our fleet - to join the three we already have - and these are set to arrive in early 2026. Each bus will be equipped with tap on, tap off, technology for contactless payments, USB charging points for all seats, and next stop audio and visual announcements. The buses will also have a fully accessible wheelchair ramp, audio loops, dementia-friendly internal colour schemes and CCTV for added security.

"Our Salisbury depot is already equipped to charge our three electric park-and-ride buses, and we will be upgrading the charging infrastructure to accommodate our new fleet.

"All of this will have a significant impact on Salisbury's overall carbon emissions. It will also improve air quality here.

"The success of this bid is testament to the excellent working relationship we enjoy with Wiltshire Council - and it gives us a wonderful opportunity to make Salisbury's transport the envy of other areas of the United Kingdom and, indeed, the World.

"All of this also ties in perfectly with our parent company the Go-Ahead Group's Climate Change Strategy - which has an overarching target to become a net zero carbon business by 2045."

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