Bus electrification under threat without proper funding

20 January 2022

The current dispute between the Government and the Mayor of London over future funding for the capital’s transport requirements has implications for the wider country, Sadiq Khan has warned.

If Transport for London (TfL) does not receive adequate financial support, he explained, the continued electrification of the capital’s bus fleet would be under threat, with the date for a full zero-emission fleet likely to slip until at least 2037, from 2034.

Bus electrification in London is encouraging other areas around the country to follow suit, Mr Khan continued, and if orders for electric buses stop in London, jobs will be put at risk and national progress will slow, increasing costs and losing the benefit for the entire country.

Additionally, 1000 New Routemaster buses, owned by TfL and introduced by the previous Mayor, are currently due their mid-life refurbishment. If adequate funding is not provided, TfL may be unable to refurbish these buses and, along with potential bus service cuts, they may need to be removed from the roads, impacting the order pipeline for a range of bus manufacturers and specialists around the country.

London’s bus manufacturing supports 3000 jobs across the UK alone, including in Scarborough, Falkirk, Leeds and Ballymena, Northern Ireland; sites that produce between a third and a half of all new bus orders in the UK in any given year.

TfL has paused the awarding of new bus contracts since early November, and London bus operators only place vehicle orders when new contracts have been awarded, meaning the lack of a long-term funding deal is having an immediate impact on the order books for UK bus manufacturers.

“It is no exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs – many of which would be from outside the capital - will be at risk if Ministers fail to properly fund TfL,” the Mayor concluded.