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Public transport operators call on Government to promote shift to buses to cut CO2

Mon 21 September 2009 | Back to news list | More bus news

Britain’s biggest bus and coach operators have warned the Government that it risks missing key carbon reduction targets by failing to maximise the potential of buses and coaches to help tackle climate change.

The UK’s five biggest public transport groups have joined forces to launch "The One Billion Challenge" blueprint, part of The 'Greener Journeys' campaign. The manifesto aims to demonstrate that if car drivers were to switch to bus or coach for one journey in 25 it would result in one billion fewer car journeys on UK roads over the next three years. The document announced by campaigners recommends a series of policy initiatives to encourage modal shift that would deliver 50% more savings in transport CO2 emissions than currently planned under existing government policies.

A YouGov poll for FirstGroup and Greener Journeys found that using public transport more often is seen by consumers as one of the main things they can do to help the environment, second only to recycling.

The public transport operators emphasised the need for public action through modal shift believing technological advances alone are not enough to achieve the carbon reductions required to tackle climate change. Greener Journeys urged the Government to set targets for local authorities to encourage modal shift; drive investment in low carbon buses; promote bus priority, park and ride and other measures to cut car commuting; and encourage bus travel to reduce school run traffic.

Simon Posner, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, said: “The Government cannot afford to ignore the massive potential of buses and coaches to deliver huge savings in CO2 from the transport sector, help protect our environment and oil the wheels of our economy. They run on existing infrastructure, provide real flexibility, are cost-effective and can deliver additional capacity very quickly. Government at all levels needs to act without delay to make the most of this opportunity.”

Greener Journeys is an initiative of the UK bus and coach industry, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from transport by delivering unprecedented modal shift from the car. It is founded by the big five bus owning groups – Arriva, First Group, Go-Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach.

The Government has recently taken action to encourage the adoption of greener buses and associated technology through the reform of the Bus Service Operator's Grant (BSOG). The LowCVP was amongst organisations campaigning for this reform. (See associated link.)



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