The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the plan to create England’s first town to have all-electric buses through a £50m fund. Transport Secretary Grant Shapes said buses have an essential role to play in bringing down emissions. Grant also noted that local authorities could bid for money to help pay for a new fleet of electric cars. The government keeps maintaining its momentum in playing the role of planet saviours.
According to Darren Shirley, the head of Campaign for Better Transport, the development is a good start after years of cuts to services. The Department for Transport said that the winning town would serve as a model for the government as it aims to ensure all buses are fully electric by 2025.
About £70m has been earmarked for the development of high-frequency “Super bus” networks. There is one already in Cornwall where a mix of lower fares, more frequent services, and multiple bus lanes has proven to be successful. The government has also set aside £20m towards the trials of on-demand buses, which can be ordered through an app. With the alarming climatic changes, all hands must be on deck to serve as the planet saviours.
These services are designed to serve the rural or suburban areas where the passenger demand does not justify having permanently fixed routes. Currently, there is an Uber-style bus service that operates in Oxford and Liverpool. Arriva runs the scheme in partnership with Merseytravel. It allows passengers to choose the route of a minibus by selecting their pick-up point and destination on a mobile app.
Despite the promising strides in this scheme, Oxford Bus Company has recently
warned that its “PickMeUp” service may be aborted due to a lack of funds. The Company said they might end services unless it finds additional funding. Having been in service since June 2018 and made 250,000 journeys, the Oxford Bus Company said it is still challenging to operate a full commercial scale. Investors ought to partner with Oxford Bus Company to protect our environment. Playing the role of planet saviours will not always yield enormous profit. However, the task needs to be done for the good of us all.
The Reduction of Emissions
The transport secretary Grant Shapes said, “with 200 electric buses able to replace 3,700 diesel cars, it is clear they have a vital role to play in reducing emissions. Mr. Shapes also added that a £170m package would help the government to create communities that will be cleaner, easier to move around, and more environmentally friendly. The package will speed up journeys and making them more reliable for passengers.
In 2020, the English local authorities outside of London will receive £30m funding to help them improve or restore bus services that have been cut. The last decade has seen the council funding for buses in England fall by 40%. This figure does not include the capital, which has bucked the trend.
Darren Shirley, the Campaign for Better Transport chief executive, told BBC that the proposals were a “good start.” For many years, we have seen services cut and reduce, leading to the inability of commuters to see their families or get to work, Shirley said.
For the government, reinstating some bus services and introducing zero-emission buses for one town is a good start. According to a 2019 study conducted by the Campaign Group, more than 3,000 local bus routes had been lost or reduced over the last decade. In the study, the group called for a discount on fares for concessions such as students and elderly people.
Playing the role of planet saviours is a collective effort and should not be left only to a particular group of people or the government. If I play my part and you play your part, we will definitely achieve our collective goal of a better planet.