The Progressive Alliance which runs Milton Keynes City Council has highlighted its disappointment as bus operator Arriva has suddenly withdrawn from a consortium deal to bring a fleet of fully electric buses to the city.
Last year the City Council successfully bid for £16m in funding through the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Access (ZEBRA) scheme. It was expected that Milton Keynes would get 60 brand new electric buses and an upgraded overnight charging depot facility.
But Arriva has this month decided to pull out from the deal citing commercial reasons – less than a year before the City Council was set to receive the buses.
The Progressive Alliance has since criticised Arriva for its last-minute ditch of the plans despite being fully supportive and engaged with the multi-million-pound bid from the outset.
Councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said:
“It’s incredibly disappointing that we won’t be able to bring electric buses to Milton Keynes as quickly as we intended. As a Council, we’ve always championed sustainable transport and improving air quality, with electric buses due to be at the heart of this.
“Arriva’s decision to pull out of the deal at the eleventh hour is incredibly short sighted. Sadly, this means that there has been a major waste of Council and Government time and resources. It feels like a kick in the teeth as a lot of work went into preparing the bid and rolling out electric buses would have taken us closer to reaching our climate ambitions as a city.
“We must now go back to the drawing board to find a new partner to deliver green and sustainable transport in our city.”