The Board of Syndicat des Transports d’ Île de France (STIF), the authority which organises public transport in the greater Paris area, adopted a plan mid-December to reduce pollutants emitted by buses. It has requested Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), the state-owned public transport operator responsible for most of the public transport in Paris and its surrounding Île-de-France region, to initiate in 2014 a bus acquisition program to reduce fine particle fleet emissions by 50% in two years (mid-2016).
On the horizon for 2020-2025, STIF plans sufficient biomethane-CNG and electric buses to enable it to deliver on its goal of 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within the Urban Transport Plan of Île-de-France. Other than for existing commitments, buses operating solely on diesel can no longer be purchased.
In the lead-up to the decision, Pierre Serne, 2nd Vice President of the Ile-de-France in charge of transport and mobility and vice president of the STIF, lauded the deliberations concerning the exit of diesel buses as a good signal for the industry and for health. He explained that 2025 is based on the operational life of fleet buses (12 years), with all current buses to be replaced by biomethane or electric buses in that period. This concerns the fleet of 4,500 buses serving RATP Paris and the inner suburbs, as well as 4,500 buses of the Optile fleet (private carriers in public service) that serve the suburbs.
Renewable natural gas solutions feature highly in the Board’s decisions, including optimization of natural gas vehicle (NGV) filling stations already existing in the Île de France to benefit from the proposed developments, the immediate acquisition of 90 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, and a feasibility study to set up a second RATP CNG filling station. To date, the Ile-de-France has only one CNG bus center, in Créteil.
France currently has limited capacity to produce biomethane; CNG will be used while the country builds production facilities to supply this renewable fuel.
Eighty percent of CNG buses operating in France have been manufactured in-country according to AFGNV, France’s industry association for natural gas vehicles. RATP has been running IVECO-Renault CNG-powered Agora buses since mid 1999. AFGNV says there are positive indications of growing OEM interest in the nation’s alternative fuel market, with Scania and MAN, both manufacturers of Euro VI CNG buses, joining the association.
AFGNV reports that as 2013 draws to a close the following natural gas vehicles and filling stations are operating in France:
- 2 400 buses, about 10% of total fleet (CNG)
- 850 garbage trucks, about 13% of total fleet (CNG)
- 2 000 trucks for delivery or goods transportation (emergent market with high potential CNG and LNG)
- 10 000 light duty vehicles and cars (mainly private fleets)
- 115 big private filling stations for buses and trucks
- 145 small private filling stations for duty vehicles and cars (local authorities’ fleets), and
- 40 public filling stations
(Sources: STIP, AFGNV)