The Scottish Government has announced plans to pump more than £62m into replacing almost 300 old diesel buses with new electric models.
Transport minister Jenny Gilruth said the funding – Scotland’s largest investment to decarbonise buses – was being made available through the first phase of the Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).
The cash boost will help bus firms replace 276 existing diesel vehicles with new battery-powered electric models. It will also help with the costs of the necessary charging infrastructure.
Meanwhile, with 137 of the new buses being built in Falkirk, the money will help support green jobs in Scotland, as well as cutting emissions from transport and helping to tackle climate change.
Gilruth said: “We want more people to choose to travel by bus now and in the future and to do so, knowing that local buses are contributing to our climate change ambitions.
“Our Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund is successfully decarbonising Scotland’s bus fleet faster than ever before and making a significant contribution to our mission zero ambition for transport.”
Cash from the ScotZEB scheme is going to smaller bus operators and rural service providers, such as Houston’s Coaches in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway.
Owner William Houston said: “Here at Houston’s we want to do our part to respond to the climate emergency and move to a zero emission fleet.
“As a smaller local operator, it’s been difficult for us to compete with larger operators and attract in financial support to help make the switch.
“The ScotZEB programme has helped us compete and enabled Houston’s to invest in new zero emission buses.
“I’m delighted that our customers will soon benefit from the modern conveniences of four new battery electric buses, which at the same time will improve air quality and help protect our environment.”