Local Transport Minister Norman Baker of the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport (DfT) has approved a package of improvements that will see more eco-friendly buses on England’s roads, including buses operating on biomethane. Following a two month bidding process the department has provided funding of more than GBP 22 million (USD 35 million) for 439 new buses for 2012/2013. Passengers will see 128 single-decked and 311 double-decker buses in service from spring 2013, saving over 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
“This funding means a better deal for passengers and encourages more people to travel by bus. It updates and improves services and infrastructure, reduces congestion, gives quieter journeys and with the introduction of new carbon friendly buses, reduces fuel costs and CO2 emissions, creating a greener network,” said Baker.
Five bus manufacturers will benefit from orders for their eco-friendly hybrid, electric and gas buses. They comprise: Volvo, Wrightbus, Optare, MAN and Alexander Dennis Limited, all of which are based in, or partly in, the UK.
By switching to low-carbon buses, the winners will also be eligible to claim additional government subsidy through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) to run these buses. Bus operators and local authorities will be given six pence per kilometre to support them with operational costs. These payments are set to continue in 2013.
In the UK, a low carbon emission bus (LCEB) is a bus that is able to achieve the LCEB target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which is equivalent to a 30% reduction in its GHG emissions compared to the average Euro 3 diesel bus of the same total passenger capacity.
From 1st November 2012, gas buses which have been awarded interim LCEB status may continue to claim the BSOG LCEB incentive if they are proven to be running on at least the minimum 50% proportion of biomethane compared to methane.
(This article compiled using information supplied by the UK Department for Transport)