The business case for a project that would see 20 hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-decker buses enter service on Merseyside is set for approval at a Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) meeting on 19 March.
Under the proposals, the buses will be directly funded by LCRCA and purchased by Merseytravel. They will be leased to operators. Plans call for them to be used initially on the 10A corridor between Liverpool and St Helens. The 10A is run jointly by Arriva Merseyside and Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire and it is the city region’s busiest bus service.
Up to £12.5m for the project is set to come from the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF). Plans include the construction of fuelling facilities that would be the first of their kind in the North West, work that is slated to begin later in 2021. Overall, LCRCA has secured £172.5m from TCF for local transport investment over a five-year period.
Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram says that the hydrogen buses, if approved, will be “another example of how we are using the power of devolution to make things greener and cleaner and to improve our transport system to make it more reliable, attractive and affordable for everyone who lives and works here.”
Mr Rotheram adds that the buses form part of wider work to tackle air quality in the Liverpool City Region. A report that will go before the LCRCA meeting on 19 March states that the project will represent a five-year trial to establish the viability of hydrogen as a fuel source, and contribute to the City Region’s net zero carbon emission target by 2040.
Separately, a report to be presented to Liverpool City Council on 19 March states that while a Clean Air Zone in Liverpool city centre looks “highly likely,” other measures will be required to meet legal air quality standards.