A proposal to bring 20 hydrogen-powered double decker buses to the city region is to advance should a business case be approved this week.
A Combined Authority meeting on 19 March is to consider the project business case and funding proposal. The vehicles will be directly funded by the Combined Authority and, like the new trains for the Merseyrail network, will be publicly owned.
The project is set to secure a funding boost of up to £12.5m from the Transforming Cities Fund and is described as a key part of the Metro Mayor’s ‘Vision for Bus’, which commits to using the powers available through devolution to build a better, more reliable and affordable bus network for the Liverpool City Region.
The announcement also follows the publication this week of the Government’s “Bus Back Better” national strategy, hailed by Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps as “another example of the Government’s work to level-up transport infrastructure across the country”.
Plans for the hydrogen bus project also include the building of refuelling facilities, which will be the first of their kind in the North West. Construction on the new hydrogen refuelling facilities is planned to begin later in the year.
The buses will join the existing city region fleet, which the Combined Authority said is already more than 70% low-emission. It is expected that the buses will initially serve the 10A route between St Helens and Liverpool city centre – the city region’s busiest bus route, operated jointly by Arriva and Stagecoach.
Steve Rotheram, metro mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “In the Liverpool City Region we are already leaders in green technology.
“The new vehicles will help our city region tackle poor air quality and achieve our ambition of being net zero carbon by 2040.
“It’s another example of how we’re using the power of devolution to make things greener and cleaner and improve our transport system to make it more reliable, attractive and affordable for everyone who lives and works here.”