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Britain's FirstGroup to add another 117 electric buses to fleet by 2024

(Reuters) - Britain’s FirstGroup will add another 117 electric buses to its fleet by next year after the public transport operator secured new funding as part of the country's move towards cleaner travel.

FirstGroup, an operator of buses and rail in the United Kingdom, said its capital spending would increase to 120 to 125 million pounds ($149.6 million) in the full year 2024 as it plans to put in an additional 35 million pounds to expand the fleet and electrify the infrastructure, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The group was able to secure 25 million pounds of government co-funding in partnership with local authorities through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) funding programme.

Britain is on the road to investing heavily in policies that promote public transport, including buses, providing incentives for operators to convert diesel buses to electric or hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The company, which runs First Bus and First Rail, was also awarded funding under the first ZEBRA scheme last March. The new funding will take the total number of electric buses in its fleet to more than 600 by March 2024.

FirstGroup's York and Norwich depots are set to become the UK’s first bus depots outside of London to run fully electric fleets, the company said.

($1 = 0.8354 pounds)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)