By Ben Simmons

Commuters and bus passengers across England will see more eco-friendly buses on the roads, congestion reduced and services upgraded, thanks to a new £101 million package of improvements approved by Local Transport Minister Norman Baker.

“This funding means a better deal for passengers and encourages more people to travel by bus," comments Local Transport Minister Norman Baker. "It updates and improves services and infrastructure, reduces congestion, gives quieter journeys and with the introduction of new carbon friendly buses, reduces fuel costs and CO2 emissions, creating a greener network.”

Following a two month bidding process the department has also provided funding for 439 new eco-friendly buses for 2012/2013. Passengers will see 128 single-decked and 311 double-decker buses in service from spring 2013, saving over 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year. The 26 bus operators including Stagecoach, Arriva and First are receiving more than £22 million, with more than £8 million split between five local authorities.

Five bus manufacturers will benefit from orders for their eco-friendly hybrid, electric and gas buses. They comprise: Volvo, Wrightbus, Optare, MAN and Alexander Dennis Limited, all of which are based in, or partly in, the UK.