Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) has agreed plans to double to 40 a forthcoming fleet of hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers if a bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme via its fast-track mechanism is successful.
An Expression of Interest in ZEBRA was submitted to DfT on 21 May and the proposed bid was discussed and agreed at an LCRCA meeting on 4 June. If it is successful, the award would cover up to 75% of the cost differential between a diesel bus and the hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers.
That would allow the £12.5m already committed to the project through the Transforming Cities Fund to be spread over the cost of more such buses. That would set “a future course of direction for the decarbonisation of the Liverpool City Region’s bus fleet,” a report discussed at an meeting notes.
Procurement of the 20 confirmed hydrogen buses has begun. They will be purchased by Merseytravel with funding from LCRCA. Entry into services is expected in 2022 and they will be leased to Arriva Merseyside and Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire for use on service 10A between Liverpool and St Helens, which is the city region’s busiest. A further 20 would allow that route to be entirely converted, although testing would also take place on other services.
The report that was put to LCRCA on 4 June also asked attendees to note that approval is likely to be sought for a further business case for a full depot conversion in order to be ready for further funding rounds for zero-emission buses.
Speaking about the forthcoming hydrogen fuel cell-electric bus fleet, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram claims that they form part of his plans “to deliver a London-style transport system that is quick, cheap and reliable.”