With many candidates for the May 2 mayoral elections pitching bus reform in their campaigns, what to the results mean for the industry? DAVID JENKINS investigates

Kim McGuinness has pledged that the North East will have “the greenest public transport in the UK”. To date, there are only a handful of electric buses in service, although a ZEBRA2 award will help fund another 43. From one of two batches of Yutongs with Go North East, E12 5806 (NL72 EUB) in Quaycity livery reveals its battery and air conditioning equipment as it passes through Jesmond.

More than eight million people were able to vote for a Combined Authority (CA) mayor in May's elections in England, but less than a third actually bothered to do so.

Two new and one expanded authorities mean that over 18m people now live in areas covered by metro mayors, although the new additions – East Midlands, York & North Yorkshire and an enlarged North East – mean that the role increasingly encompasses some deeply rural areas, rather than the established city regions where the concept originated.

If they all choose to exercise their bus franchising powers, it would be possible to travel all the way from Berwick-upon-Tweed to (almost) Burton-upon-Trent entirely by franchised bus. Indeed, there is just a 15 mile gap between the southernmost outpost of the East Midlands CA in Derbyshire to the nearest point of the West Midlands CA at Brownhills.

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