Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Green Red Bus!

Everyone knows that travelling by bus is better for the environment. I tell them in the pub every Saturday night.

But seriously (!), there are the doubters who still claim that buses are big dirty, smelly things that ooze black smoke and ought to be banned from the roads (in order for even more cars to fill their places - that's an environmentally sound vision, don't you think?!)

Currently gathering momentum is the Government's "Green Bus Fund". Over £45m worth of funding has been made available to the bus industry so far to buy significantly "greener" buses - and by this, the Government means vehicles that produce at least 30% lss co2 emissions than standard ones. Over 540 buses are either in service or on order - the vast majority being an electric/diesel hybrid.

Add these to the many 1000s of Euro 4/5 type diesel engines running around our country and the picture is a lot less "dirty" than the doom-mongers would have us think.

I had a go on one of these "hybrids" in London yesterday (pic above). It looks like a "normal" bus, rides like a "normal" bus and by golly, was it nippy in the London traffic!

It's perhaps a good fit that the most numbers of this type of hybrid technology are running in London. Despite the Congestion Charge, the Capital's streets remain choked with traffic,and air quality may not be great. It's great to see the bus industry, with Government support, rising to this challenge.

I'm no technological expert, but I hope that this is technologyn we can build on. I recall attending the launch of Gas-powered buses in the West Midlands back in 1996. That didn't seem to catch on, and the vehicles themselves were quietly re-engined to normal diesel ones. I also wonder how Stagecoach's (and others) chip-fat powered buses are getting on?

It' a relatively exciting time for alternative power - especially in the bus world.

And if it gives us such a gorgeous livery like the one in the picture (although I understand that TfL's latest hybrid vehicles make less of a play on their importance via a livery), so much the better!

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