Electric Buses (Glasgow)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 11 January 2024.

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Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to support the roll-out of electric buses across the Glasgow city region. (S6O-02951)

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

Since 2020, £62 million of Scottish Government investment has supported operators to acquire 315 zero-emission buses and supporting infrastructure to serve the Glasgow area. Of those buses, 305 are already on the road, as the remaining 10 will be by the end of March. The final phase of the Scottish zero-emission bus challenge fund is currently live, offering a further £43 million to transform the market for zero-emission buses so that they are affordable to all operators, without subsidy.

Photo of Kaukab Stewart Kaukab Stewart Scottish National Party

Electric vehicles go a long way in improving inner-city air quality and public health, as well as contributing to meeting the net zero target. Naturally, therefore, the decision not to award Strathclyde Partnership for Transport ScotZEB 2 funding for a new fleet of electric buses has been met with disappointment. What support can the Government offer organisations such as SPT to help them to meet their electric vehicle ambitions?

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

Organisations such as SPT can contact the remaining lead bidders to discuss joining their consortia ahead of the deadline for best and final bids on 19 January. Information is available from the Energy Saving Trust, which administers the scheme. I encourage all bus and coach operators and organisations to explore the range of information packs, how-to guides and case studies that have been produced by our bus decarbonisation task force, which is hosted on the Confederation of Passenger Transport website.

Photo of Graham Simpson Graham Simpson Conservative

Given the budget announcement that there will be no direct funding for the bus partnership fund next year, what will happen to work by the Glasgow city region bus partnership, and other partnerships, to progress bus priority measures?

Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party

That does not necessarily relate directly to the roll-out of electric buses and the ScotZEB fund. Graham Simpson will be aware that there has been progress on bus partnerships, to support bus priority lanes. I add that his Conservative colleagues in Aberdeen have been highly critical of the work and investment that are already taking place in Aberdeen to encourage such bus lanes.

I remind Graham Simpson that we cannot have the United Kingdom Government introducing budgets, such as the one that was made by Liz Truss and her Chancellor of the Exchequer, that decimate the public finance system and introduce a capital reduction of almost 10 per cent at a time of increasing construction costs, then have him come to the chamber to ask for more money that literally does not exist because of his Conservative colleagues at Westminster.