Labour has pledged to make every bus on England’s roads electric-powered by 2030 as the general election looms.
The party announced late on Friday it will invest £4bn in bus services. The investment will be spread over 10 years and come from the £250bn Green Transformation Fund, to be raised via public borrowing.
The green bus drive announcement comes as part of a final push to persuade voters to back Jeremy Corbyn on 12 December.
“This policy will bring our bus services into the future and help to revitalise our high streets and rebuild local communities,” Corbyn said.
A move to entirely electric buses would reduce emissions by more than 70% and support Labour’s ambitious target of eliminating most carbon emissions within the next 10 years.
According to Labour there are currently 35,000 buses in use in England but only 700 are electric and, of those, most serve London.
In order to meet the 2030 phase-out deadline the party plans to use the £4bn to buy electric buses and reimburse bus owners whose conventional petrol or diesel vehicles will have to be taken off the road.
Corbyn said that many voters he has met on the campaign trail have brought up the issue of bus service cuts.
“The Westminster bubble doesn’t care about buses but cuts to bus routes leave so many people isolated, stuck at home and unable to make vital trips out,” the Labour leader said.
“Away from London, many people have approached me in this election to talk about their local bus route closing down.”
Labour says there have been £645m real-terms annual cuts to bus service funding under the Conservative government and has committed to investing £1.3bn per year in order to reverse this and revive bus use across the country, with money to be drawn from vehicle excise duty – formerly known as road tax.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The Tory manifesto didn’t pledge a penny to reverse a decade of cuts to local bus services.
“Buses are by far the most used and most important form of public transport but huge budget cuts has caused bus use to plummet to an all-time low.
“The Conservative party do not care about buses nor the people and communities who rely on them.
“Labour is offering a once-in-a-generation transformation of bus services by delivering the funding and powers to deliver a world-class bus service in every corner of the country, that will connect people and communities to work and leisure.”
Other measures the Labour party hope to introduce, should they win the election next week, include allowing councils to run their own bus municipals and providing funding to allow all under 25-year-olds to travel free of charge.