Speaking at industry event Coach and Bus Live last week, United Kingdom Transport Minister Norman Baker announced additional money will be made available to bring more low carbon buses into service and to retrofit dozens more to clean up their exhaust fumes. Biomethane (renewable natural gas) is amongst the approved alt-fuel options.
Funding with come from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Green Bus Fund and the Clean Bus Technology Fund. Manchester and Sunderland will each receive grants to buy 23 new vehicles that could be electric, hybrid or biomethane gas powered. Sheffield will receive funds to convert five buses to run on natural gas.
“Schemes like these are a cost-effective way of landing real benefits for the public and the environment. Cleaner, more efficient bus services are good for the economy and for the environment – it’s a win-win,” said Minister Baker.
Successful applications for funding from the Green Bus Fund earlier this year included 40 single decker biomethane-fuelled buses for Stagecoach North East and 14 single decker biomethane-fuelled buses for Reading Transport Limited. The transport companies were allocated GBP 719,060 (USD 1.145 million) and GBP 185,990 (USD 0.296 million) respectively.
Stagecoach’s new buses will join its fleet in Sunderland. Previously, Stagecoach acquired 17 Scania/ADL Enviro 300 single-decker biomethane gas buses, also part funded by the Green Bus Fund.
Reading buses operate out of Reading, Berkshire. This year, Reading beat 7 other finalists to be awarded the Environment Award for its high level of commitment to the environment, going over and above the minimum requirement. The transport company already operates 20 Scania-ADL gas-powered buses, which joined the fleet mid-2013.
The Green Bus Fund is supporting bus companies and local authorities in England to help them buy new low carbon buses. Its main purpose is to support and hasten the introduction of hundreds of low carbon buses across England.