A series of routes in and around Woking are set to benefit with a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses about to launch across parts of Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

A partnership between Surrey County Council, Metrobus (Go Ahead), West Sussex County Council, Kent County Council and London Gatwick has won a bid for funding to launch a fleet of 43 hydrogen-powered buses.

The Department for Transport has awarded the partnership over £10 million, which combined with £11.6 million from Metrobus (Go Ahead) and almost £3 million from the other partners brings the total for the project to over £24 million. 

The 19 electric buses for Surrey’s bid will be operating on three principal routes: Falcon Buses, 436 - Woking, Sheerwater, West Byfleet, Byfleet, Brooklands, Weybridge Station and Weybridge town centre; and 461 - Chertsey, St. Peter’s Hospital, Ottershaw, Addlestone, Weybridge, Walton, West Molesey, Hampton Court and Kingston.

And White Bus service 446 - Hatton Cross, Heathrow, Ashford Hospital, Staines, Penton Park, Chertsey, St Peter's Hospital, Ottershaw and Woking.

Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and economic growth, said: “I am delighted that we have been successful in our joint bid to fund 43 new hydrogen-powered buses. This is great news for Surrey residents and for everyone else travelling in and out of the three counties.

“This is part of our continued commitment to make our buses greener following previous investment, including £32.3m for more ultra-low and zero-emission buses and £6.3m for more ultra-low and zero-emission community transport minibuses.

“A further £9m is being invested in bus priority measures to ensure Surrey buses turn up on time, and £1.4m in improving information for passengers at bus stops.

“We also recently launched the Surrey LINK card which gives young people half-price bus travel and expanded our on-demand Surrey Connect bus services to cover areas where there are no fixed bus routes, giving more options to travel by bus for our residents.”

The buses will operate across a wide area of Surrey, Sussex and Kent to connect rural areas with local towns and London Gatwick. Destinations will include Caterham, Dorking, Redhill, Burgess Hill, Crawley, Horsham, Worthing, Brighton and Tunbridge Wells.

When fully operational, it will be one of the biggest fleets of hydrogen-powered buses in the country and the only one operating in rural areas.

Nick Hill, commercial director, Metrobus, said: “We are delighted to be awarded match funding from the Government’s Zebra 2 fund for 43 new hydrogen buses, making our hydrogen fleet one of the biggest in the country.

“Our contribution to this project is £11.6 million, which we consider to be a critical investment in providing zero-emission buses on the Metrobus network for our customers.

“Buses are one of the most sustainable ways to travel. Hydrogen buses release zero emissions at the tailpipe, helping to reduce carbon emissions and create cleaner air for everyone.

“This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working by putting the transport needs of local people first.”