Further support needed to meet zero-emission buses target


Campaign for Better Transport is calling for more to be done to deliver a zero-emission bus fleet as figures reveal only a tiny proportion of buses on the road are currently electric.

According to the charity, of the 38,000 buses nationally, only 12 per cent of the fleet are hybrid and only two per cent are zero emission.

Campaign for Better Transport is warning that without further government support, its ambition to deliver 4,000 zero-emission buses by 2025, as well as plans to clean up the rest of the 38,000 strong bus fleet, are likely to be missed. As part of this, the charity is urging for a number of measures to help speed up the transition to zero emissions including more incentives for local authorities and a government-led campaign to boost bus passenger numbers along with a long-term funding plan. It also wants local authorities to adopt more bus friendly policies.

Campaign for Better is calling on the government to: set out a clear timeline and a long-term funding plan for zero-emission bus delivery to give industry confidence to invest; explore the role of innovative funding mechanisms and guaranteeing residual value in leasing schemes; lead a communications campaign alongside industry to increase public transport use post-pandemic; incentivise local authorities to explore innovative ways to increase bus use and provide additional revenue streams, including measures to discourage car use; and provide detailed guidance, templates and standardised procurement frameworks and foster collaboration through the Bus Centre of Excellence.

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Buses are already one of the greenest forms of transport – contributing only three per cent of the UK’s domestic transport emissions – and accelerating the roll-out of zero-emission buses will drive further improvements to air quality and carbon emissions in our towns, cities and rural areas. But it’s clear from our work with bus operators, local authorities, utility companies and others involved in providing bus services that we are not currently on target to deliver nearly enough zero-emission buses anywhere near fast enough. Government must step in to offer more support to the industry in the long term and do more to boost passenger number in the short term.”