TRANSPORT minister Jenny Gilruth has welcomed the announcement from Stagecoach that it will be introducing the UK’s first all-electric city bus networks.

Plans are underway to see Britain’s biggest bus operator make its city bus networks in Inverness and Perth all-electric from the end of 2022 and early 2023 respectively. 

New e-buses are set to run across routes that have previously operated with largely diesel fleets, helping to drive cleaner air in the two cities. 

Stagecoach is introducing the £13.9 million fleet of 38 new e-buses, partly funded by the Scottish Government, as part of Scotland’s overall target to achieve net zero by 2045. 

Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “I’m pleased that Scottish Government investment continues to rapidly transform bus fleets across the country. 

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“This latest announcement from Stagecoach is welcome, and is fantastic news for everyone who lives in, works and visits Inverness and Perth. 

“Not only will these new buses help reduce transport emissions and respond to the climate emergency, they will improve local air quality too.”

The new electric buses in Perth are set to be introduced in early 2023, will be made up of a £4.8m fleet of 13 buses.

They will add to the fleet of nine zero emission buses introduced in the city last December. 

Gilruth continued: “Stagecoach has been a valued partner in our Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce. 

“They understand that to respond to the climate emergency, we all need to accelerate the transition to a zero-emission bus fleet as soon as possible.

“I look forward to seeing the latest electric buses soon, which I know continue to be welcomed by customers across Scotland.”

The £9.1m investment in Inverness will see a fleet of 25 new electric midibuses introduced from late 2022, replacing the city’s diesel bus fleet. 

New zero emission buses are also being introduced over the coming months on Stagecoach networks across other areas of Scotland including Aberdeen, Ayr, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Kilmarnock. 

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Stagecoach regional director for Scotland Sam Greer said: “As part of our drive to target a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035, we are excited to be announcing our plans to deliver the UK’s first all-electric city bus networks, building further on the investment made in new zero emission buses in a number of places in the UK. 

“An investment of almost £14, supported by the ScotZEB fund, will see new state of the art electric buses introduced across Inverness and Perth that will help deliver significantly reduced emissions in these major cities. 

“One of the quickest ways local people can help deliver net zero is by switching from cars to buses, as well as walking and cycling more. 

“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Government and local transport authorities on measures to deliver more priority for bus passengers, more reliable services, simpler ticketing and the best value fares.”