Take the National Express, when the Earth's in a mess? Transport group pledges to become UK's first zero emission bus and coach firm by 2035
National Express has mapped out it journey towards driving a fully zero-emission bus fleet by 2030 and a zero-emission coach fleet by 2035, as it today announced plans to become the first zero-emission transport group in the UK.
Pledging to never again buy a diesel bus for its UK operations, the firm unveiled plans to bring its first electric coaches into service next year. Moreover, environmental targets are to be included in all senior executive share schemes, with such goals expected to make up 25 per cent of the firm's long-term incentive plans.
The fresh pledges build on National Express's previous commitments to tackle its environmental footprint, with the company one of several bus companies commiting late last year to buy only ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles from 2025.
National Express added that it plans to soon launch a new procurement process to select the manufacturers it will work with to develop its zero emission fleets. It expects to place a major order for electric buses, hold an in-service trial of an electric coach on its Stansted Airport service, and select partners to develop a zero-emission vehicle suitable for all long distance coach routes in the coming months and years.
"Bus and Coach travel is already one of the greenest ways to get around, with each bus removing up to 75 cars from the road," said Dean Finch, National Express Group's chief executive. "National Express has already invested in clean buses and coaches and kept fares low to support a shift from private cars to mass transit. Working through our West Midlands Bus Alliance we have achieved the fastest passenger growth of any major city-region in the country, demonstrating its success.
"However we understand the imperative to go much further, so we are today setting out an ambition to be the first zero emission transport group in the UK," he added. "Our decision to never again buy a diesel bus in the UK coupled with our support in leading the zero emission transition in coach will place our UK operations at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and poor air quality. We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders."
National Express West Midlands has pioneered the group's work to reduce emissions from its transport service, working with Birmingham City Council to retrofit older buses with green technology and with Coventry City Council to bring 10 fully electric buses to the city's roads.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said he was now looking forward to working with the company to expand on its zero emission plans. "National Express have already done a brilliant job of upgrading their buses while keeping prices low, and the West Midlands Combined Authority and I will do all I can to support them to reach their zero-carbon pledge by 2030," he said.
It follows hot on the heels of the government's launch earlier this month of a £5bn funding package to support the development of green transport infrastructure in the UK, including the development of a fleet of at least 4,000 zero-emission buses. Full details for the bus funding programme - which also includes plans for new routes, expanded bus lanes, and more affordable fares - are set be announced in an upcoming National Bus Strategy as part of the to planned Spending Review later this year.
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