Nottingham City Transport (NCT) is currently trialling a MAN EcoCity natural gas-powered bus as part of its ongoing exploration into finding alternative fuel-powered vehicles. The bus, now in its third week of a 10-week trial, has been designed specifically for the UK market and is currently on demonstration in partnership with MAN Truck & Bus UK in Swindon, the UK subsidiary of the Munich-based truck and bus manufacturer. So far, the news is all good for the city.
This specific bus – which has been designed to be able to use Biomethane as a fuel (available from November this year) — has CO₂ emissions that are 24% less than those of a new Euro 5 diesel engine, and has been described by many impressed customers and drivers as ‘quiet, spacious and smooth.’ Biomethane is a renewable fuel made from organic waste.
Nottingham City Transport’s Marketing Manager, Anthony Carver-Smith says, “Reducing our Carbon emissions is an ongoing priority for NCT, but we’re determined that using alternative fuel-powered vehicles should not have a negative impact on the comfort, or the pockets of our passengers. The Gas Bus is being very well received and gives us a great insight into how we might develop our ‘greener’ fleet in the future.”
Bus operators in England are subsidised through the Bus Services Operator Grant (BSOG), which has been set up to encourage bus patronage growth in order to reduce congestion and pollution levels and improve fuel efficiency. Reforms currently before the Department of Transport (DOT) aim to devolve the BSOG to local authorities, providing greater flexibility for incentivising the purchase of low carbon emission buses such as the MAN EcoCity. The DOT Proposal Impact Assessment recognises “Low carbon emission buses deliver at least a 30% saving in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a similar sized standard diesel bus.”
(This article primarily compiled using information from a Nottingham City Transport press release)