Bus operators and local authorities across England have been awarded a share of the funding provided by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT), to buy low emission buses and install infrastructure. Of the 13 successful bidders, three will use the funds to acquire biomethane (renewable natural gas) buses and infrastructure.
- Merseytravel: £4.9million for a total of 72 biomethane, hybrid or electric buses and associated infrastructure
- Nottingham City Transport: £4.4 million for 53 biomethane buses and infrastructure
- Reading Buses: £1.7 for 16 biomethane buses and infrastructure
Low emission buses produce at least 15% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the average modern diesel bus but they typically cost significantly more. The funding will cover up to 90% of the difference in cost between a new bus and its diesel equivalent, as well as up to 75% of the cost of infrastructure.
The low emission bus scheme builds on the Green Bus Fund, which saw £89 million of government funding put more than 1,200 green buses on England’s roads – representing 4% of buses in service. The government has also invested more than £26 million since 2013 to retrofit more than 2,000 buses in pollution hotspots with low emission technology.
The government’s support for low emission buses is one part of a £600 million package of measures from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles by 2020, which also includes £400 million of guaranteed money for individual plug-in car grants, investment in ultra-low emission taxis, and research and development funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and better car batteries.
In May last year, Reading Buses set a world record for a non-modified bus, attaining a top speed of 80.73 miles per hour and an average speed over a full lap of 76.785 mph, setting a new record in the process. The bus was one of Reading’s buses that operate on renewable natural gas and returned to urban duties the following day.
On the day, Chief Executive Officer, Martijn Gilbert said: “This is fantastic. What a great advert for biomethane which is growing in popularity each day. At Reading Buses, we love it. Thirty four vehicles [May 2015], 20% of our fleet, are now CNG powered and we can’t wait for vehicle suppliers to widen their product range so that we can take even greater advantage of this carbon neutral and cost effective solution.”
(Sources: Department for Transport, Office for Low Emission Vehicles; Reading Buses)