The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of $82.04m (€73.5m) to Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) for the acquisition of 254 zero-emission buses to deal with climate changes.

TMB will use the funds to buy 116 new electric buses, 63 hybrids and 75 using the latest generation compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.

The fleet renewal will also include Barcelona’s 20 diesel-powered double-decker tourist buses, which will be replaced with hybrids.

From a total 254 vehicles, nearly 105 will be delivered by late-2019, another 75 by 2020, while the remaining 74 buses will be supplied to TMB by 2024.

The agreement was signed in Barcelona by EIB head of public sector operations in Spain Joan Basora and TMB CEO Enric Canas.

Through this new initiative, TMB aims to speed up transition to a zero-emission bus network and reduce reliance on private transport use.

Barcelona’s public city buses have transported 203 million people in 2018. It also witnessed a 17% increase in use of public city buses over the last six years.

Funding by EIB will also enable Barcelona to improve the on-board information system and set up new electric charging stations.

The project is expected to generate around 1,084 jobs during the construction phase of the new vehicles.

EIB vice-president Emma Navarro, responsible for the bank’s activities in Spain as well as for climate and the environment, said: “Local residents will be able to enjoy cleaner air thanks to the introduction of these cutting-edge city buses.

“The agreement will also help create new economic opportunities in the city by improving connections and revitalising certain areas. It is a good example of the EIB’s financing priorities in Spain.”

The latest agreement is the fourth signed by the EIB in Spain under its Cleaner Transport Facility programme for financing cleaner transport systems in Europe.

So far, the EIB has granted loans under this initiative to renew the city bus fleets of Las Palmas, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.