Leading the charge towards greener public transport

The Go-Ahead Group continues to lead in the transition towards greener public transport in the UK, boasting a fleet of over 1,100 zero-emission buses. This achievement underscores our commitment to fostering cleaner air and a healthier planet.

Our recent success in securing an additional 201 zero-emission buses into our regional fleets, signifies a monumental leap forward in our sustainability efforts in regional UK. These battery electric and hydrogen buses, planned for completion by the end of 2025, will be deployed right across England including Plymouth CityBus, Go Cornwall Bus, Go North East, Pulhams Coaches, Salisbury Reds, Southern Vectis, East Yorkshire Buses, and Brighton & Hove and Metrobus.

This investment underscores the power of collaboration, with our local operating companies partnering with our local authority partners and the Department for Transport - through the ZEBRA Zero Emission Bus Regional Area scheme. Combined the total investment in greener and cleaner buses is £112m, with £50m contributed from ZEBRA and local authorities, and a £62m investment from Go-Ahead.

Importantly, the transformative impact of this initiative transcends mere statistics. In Plymouth for instance, the introduction of 44 zero-emission buses is poised to elevate Plymouth CityBus' city fleet to an impressive 50% zero-emission ratio, marking a significant milestone in their journey towards sustainable urban transit. Similarly in Salisbury, the inclusion of 23 additional zero-emission buses brings the city fleet closer to achieving 100% zero-emission status. And customers travelling via Salisbury Reds routes to the iconic Stonehenge will now benefit from a fully zero emission bus journey.

In addition to our achievements in electric bus deployments, our success in securing ZEBRA funding for 43 hydrogen vehicles for our Metrobus fleet is an important milestone in the evolution of hydrogen bussing. This funding is predicated on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approving the use of liquid hydrogen refuelling systems which has been a challenge to date.

The delay in regulatory approval from the HSE underscores the urgent need for government policy to be updated to align with the practical requirements of using hydrogen as an alternative fuel. Addressing these concerns will not only accelerate the deployment of zero-emission buses but also pave the way for future advancements in alternative fuel technologies. By aligning government policy with practical needs and ensuring transparent regulatory processes, the transportation industry can move closer to achieving ambitious decarbonisation targets and fostering a cleaner, greener future for all. Therefore, we need government support to cut through red tape and address HSE barriers to enable this technology to be a reality.

Looking ahead, The Go-Ahead Group remains dedicated to addressing the climate crises and transitioning to a fully decarbonised bus fleet by 2035. The recent ZEBRA announcements are a great example of how we can work together in partnership to deliver innovative and sustainable transport solutions which will shape a brighter, greener, and cleaner future for generations to come.