Thirty-one buses in the Liverpool City Region are set to go green thanks to a grant of nearly half a million pounds from the Department for Transport, under its Clean Bus Technology Fund.
The £497,000 award will be managed by Merseytravel and will pay for the buses to be fitted with Micro Hybrid technology systems, which can reduce their harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels – a major pollutant– by up to 50 per cent.
The technology will be fitted to vehicles belonging to local operators Avon Buses, Cumfybus and Halton Transport, operating on routes in areas currently declared as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA). Halton council will also receive funding for an additional NOx Analyser to be installed within one of the Halton AQMAs, which will monitor NOx levels in the local area and help to provide more accurate localised air quality data.
Marshall Vickers, Managing Director of Cumfybus, who will have the systems fitted to 14 of its buses under the scheme said:
“As a local family firm, we want to do our bit both for our customers and the communities we serve. Helping reduce the harmful emissions from our vehicles is one way we can make a difference.”
Councillor Ron Abbey, Merseytravel Lead Member for Bus added:
“Getting people on the bus reduces car miles, reduces congestion and helps the environment in itself. However, that’s not the end of the story; we want to ensure our buses make the most of new technologies to deliver the most environmentally friendly transport network possible.”
The Clean Bus Technology Fund builds on the previously successful Clean Vehicle and Clean Bus Bids in 2014 and 2013 which have already seen a total of 96 buses retrofitted with NOx reduction technology.
Over the past five years Merseytravel, in co-operation with bus operators, has been involved in the introduction of a number of low emission vehicles ranging from entire bus fleets operating on a bio-diesel mix to the introduction of diesel-electric (hybrid) vehicles. Together with retrofitted vehicles these lower emission buses make up almost 90% of the fleet in 2015.
Any improvements to the LCR bus fleet to help reduce emissions will have a significant improvement on air quality, particularly in the AQMAs where buses are significant contributors to pollution levels but also across the wider LCR, which will reduce background levels of pollutants and in turn contribute to air quality improvements.