A transport charity is calling for more to be done to deliver a zero-emission bus fleet as figures reveal only a tiny proportion of buses on the road are currently electric.
Of the 38,000 buses nationally, only 12% of the fleet are hybrid and only 2% (4% in London and 1% in the rest of England) zero emission, according to the Campaign for Better Transport.
The transport charity is warning that without further Government support, its ambition to deliver 4,000 zero-emission buses by 2025, as well as plans to clean up the rest of the 38,000 strong bus fleet, are likely to be missed.
It is calling for a number of measures to help speed up the transition to zero emissions including more incentives for local authorities and a Government-led campaign to boost bus passenger numbers along with a long-term funding plan. It also wants local authorities to adopt more bus friendly policies.
‘Buses are already one of the greenest forms of transport – contributing only 3% of the UK’s domestic transport emissions – and accelerating the roll-out of zero-emission buses will drive further improvements to air quality and carbon emissions in our towns, cities and rural areas,’ said Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport.
‘But it’s clear from our work with bus operators, local authorities, utility companies and others involved in providing bus services that we are not currently on target to deliver nearly enough zero-emission buses anywhere near fast enough.
‘Government must step in to offer more support to the industry in the long term and do more to boost passenger numbers in the short term.’ The Go-Ahead Group, the UK’s largest operator of electric buses, is urging local authorities to introduce revenue-raising schemes that would both encourage a shift to public transport and help fund decarbonisation.
Martin Dean, Managing Director Business Development, Go-Ahead, commented: ‘Local authorities must find local solutions to protect residents from congestion and pollution, using a range of measures such as congestion charging and workplace parking levies.
‘These can speed up buses, making them more attractive to use, whilst also creating more space for walking and cycling. The revenue from such schemes can also help fund the transition to zero emission.’