With the backing of nearly £200 million in Government funding, green buses are being rolled out in twelve areas in England. Quadrant Transport highlights how this can encourage a modal shift in the UK.
The areas located from Greater Manchester to Portsmouth will receive funding from the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme to deliver electric or hydrogen-powered buses, as well as charging or fuelling infrastructure.
This comes after in 2018; road transport contributed to 91% of UK domestic transport emissions. Now, providing clean green transportation is more important than ever because the UK hopes to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Speaking earlier this month, Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “I will level up and clean up our transport network. I’ve announced hundreds of millions of pounds to roll out zero emission buses nationwide.
Not only will this improve the experience of passengers, but it will help support our mission to fund 4,000 of these cleaner buses, reach net zero emissions by 2050 and build back greener.
“Today’s announcement is part of our National Bus Strategy, which will introduce lower fares, helping drive down the cost of public transport even further for passengers.”
This is all part of the Government’s wider £3bn National Bus Strategy to significantly improve bus services. This will see new priority lanes, lower and simpler fares, more integrated ticketing and higher frequencies.
Stagecoach’s journey to entirely zero emission vehicles
Without Stagecoach bus services, there would be an annual increase of 190,000 tonnes of CO2. This is down to passengers using alternative transport, mainly cars.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Chief Executive, spoke about how Stagecoach is welcoming the announcement: “We welcome today’s announcement, which will complement the significant investment and initiatives by operators as we work together to transition to a zero emission bus fleet and help the country achieve its net zero ambitions.”
Continuing, “Stagecoach has already started its journey towards our target of an entirely zero emission UK bus fleet by 2035, and there is also a significant opportunity to deliver cleaner air by people switching to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking.
Britain’s buses have an exciting future ahead, helping decarbonise the country, as well as driving economic recovery and levelling up our communities.”
Moving forward from the traditional internal combustion engines will boost decarbonisation goals.
It is hoped that from 2032 at the latest, the sale of all new vehicles, powered either in part or totally by an internal combustion engine, would cease to be allowed.
Therefore, any new buses sold from that date would need to be fully zero-emission at the tail pipe, and the end of sales would apply across the whole of the UK.
Calls for evidence has also been launched on ending the sale of new non-zero emission coaches and minibuses. This will allow evidence to be gathered on the challenges to moving to a zero-emission fleet, and what an appropriate end of sales date might be.
If the UK wants to deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, this clean green transport needs to encourage modal shift.