Scottish Government backs electric buses with £62million ScotZEB fund

In the largest investment made in Scotland to decarbonise buses, the Scottish Government has awarded more than £62million in the first phase of its Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).

It will support operators in replacing 276 diesel buses with new battery-electric models and the required charging infrastructure.

ADL is to build 137 of the buses in Falkirk, supporting green manufacturing jobs in Scotland.

Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth says: “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.

“Supporting a just transition to a net zero economy is central to the ScotZEB approach. Through this round we’re supporting smaller bus operators and rural service providers, whom I’m pleased are equally keen to step up and help tackle the climate emergency.”

William Houston, Owner of Houston’s Coaches in Lockerbie adds:

“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.”

ADL president & managing director Paul Davies says: “The Scottish Government continues to lead by example with its support for the bus industry, and the ScotZEB challenge fund supports our collaborative business model of working in close partnership with operators, infrastructure partners and stakeholders. We are pleased that bids for 137 of our zero emission buses have been successful in this phase.

“These zero emission buses will be built at our factory in Falkirk and therefore ensure this Scottish Government investment is made domestically, allowing the benefits to be felt by our team members and across our communities. We very much look forward to working with the successful operators to finalise terms and get our teams working on these buses.”

ScotZEB awards

Bus Operator*Award offeredNumber of buses**
Bluebird Buses Ltd£                3,066,54713
Craig of Cambeltown Ltd£                2,409,29410
Dumfries and Galloway Council£                   633,9344
Ember Core Ltd£                5,562,12626
Fife Scottish Omnibuses£                7,329,92332
First Aberdeen Ltd & First Glasgow No1 Ltd£              18,599,85874
Highland Country Buses Ltd£                5,834,97825
Houston Coaches£                   368,4134
McGills Bus Service Ltd£                9,086,93341
Shuttle Buses Ltd£                   485,9555
Stirling Council£                   595,4043
Western Buses Ltd£                8,029,89039

Source: Scottish Government, 2022.

* This table shows the operators who have been offered awards. There are more operators than there were bidders, as all the bids from Stagecoach owned operators were treated as a single bid.

** A variety of bus sizes, from minibuses to double decks, are being supported. All awards also include support towards the charging infrastructure, in some cases the charging infrastructure will support a greater number of vehicles than the number of buses shown in the table.