The first of 159 electric buses to operate in Oxford will arrive in September, Oxfordshire County Council has confirmed.

The authority, which approved the use of controversial traffic filters last year, has bought the £82.5 million fleet thanks to £43.7m from bus companies Stagecoach and the Go-Ahead Group, £32.8 m from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and £6m which it contributed.

The money funds both the vehicles and charging infrastructure.

OCC expects to reduce bus journey times by 10 per cent once the filters are in operation in early 2024.

Cllr Andrew Gant, cabinet member for highways management, said: “This is a huge boost in the move towards creating a sustainable, decarbonised public transport system, and improving air quality.

“We believe that, along with other schemes proposed in the county, this new fleet of electric buses will transform our public transport system and encourage more people to travel by bus.”

Oxfordshire was one of only 12 local authorities to successfully apply for ZEBRA funding and its is one of the biggest schemes in the country.

The new buses are being manufactured in the UK and all 159 are expected to arrive by March 2024.

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