Supporting local authorities to improve local bus use and expand zero emission bus provision

Silviya Barrett
Campaign For Better Transport & UK100
Decarbonising Transport
This report examines local authorities’ views on the aim of the Government’s Bus Back Better strategy to support local authorities to improve and increase bus services and zero emission buses (ZEB), as well as the structural and institutional barriers that prevent them from taking further action.

It reflects on what to include in the Local Authority Toolkit – announced in the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan (TDP) – to overcome some of the obstacles identified.

The key findings:

  • Local transport authorities’ capacity and capability to deliver on Government strategy vary significantly. ZEBs are only on the agenda for large, urban authorities, while smaller and more rural authorities have operational concerns
  • There is lack of clarity about how local zero emission vehicle standards would be enforced or delivered in those local authorities with enhanced partnerships (EP)
  • Uncertainty about funding cycles has made local authorities postpone investment decisions - there is a need to restructure how public transport provision is financed
  • Many local transport authorities (LTAs) are unsure of how best to support the increased adoption of ZEBs - there are big gaps in LTAs’ understanding of how to drive investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, and how to engage in fleet management with operators
  • The Bus Centre of Excellence (BCoE) and Local Authority Toolkit need to provide clarity and help remove these barriers to action.