Diesel Bus in Basildon Jamie Warr

Fully electric, zero-emission buses are coming to South Essex

More than £30 million is to be invested in safer, greener and healthier travel in Basildon.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed the town will be one of a number of areas across the south-east of England to receive funding for electric buses.

Essex County Council and First Bus were successful in securing £4.8 million from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 2 scheme. This will fund 55 electric buses in Basildon.

First Bus is additionally investing £25.8 million into the scheme, which will also include upgrading the Basildon bus depot.

The Bus is expected to be in place in late 2025, and are expected to service Basildon, as well as routes between the town and neighbouring areas such as Chelmsford, Lakeside and Southend.

Councillor Tom Cunningham, Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport said: "The news our bid for 55 electric buses in Basildon has been successful is very exciting. This is an important development in looking to new technology to support how we travel more sustainably and help Essex meet its net zero ambitions."

Councillor Kevin Blake, Cabinet Member at Basildon District Council for the Environment, Carbon Reduction and Waste Enforcement, said: “We have ambitious plans to reach Carbon net zero in the borough and I am delighted to hear of the introduction of these electric buses. I would also like to thank First buses for their significant investment into the transport infrastructure. Making transport more sustainable will contribute considerably to us reaching our net zero targets.”

Piers Marlow, Managing Director of First Bus East of England, said: “We are absolutely delighted with today’s announcement that we have secured Zero-Emission bus funding from the Department for Transport.

“We have worked in close partnership with Essex County Council on this bid, and we are excited about getting these vehicles onto the road.

“The £25.8 million investment from First Bus, combined with £4.8 million of ZEBRA funding, secures the upgrade of our Basildon Depot, and the purchase of 55 brand new fully electric buses for Essex.

“These vehicles are modern and quiet making them great news for our customers, but crucially they are also great news for our communities, as zero tailpipe emissions means cleaner air for residents and visitors.

“This announcement is another important step towards First Bus delivering its commitment to operating a fully electric, zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:  “As part of our plan to improve local transport across the South East, we’re providing over £30 million to roll out 179 brand new zero-emission buses across the region.  

“This latest investment into our bus fleet comes on top of the £3.5 billion we have invested into our bus network since 2020, protecting and improving bus routes into 2025 as well as extending the £2 bus fare cap until the end of 2024, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.”