An ambition to deliver the cleanest bus fleet in the UK outside London has been announced by mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street. The aim is for the entire fleet in the West Midlands metropolitan area to meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standard by April 2021.
To help bus companies replace or upgrade their most-polluting vehicles, Transport for West Midlands has waived the fees it charges them for using the region’s bus stations and roadside passenger information for a year. TfWM estimates that this is worth an extra £2.7m this year to operators, and this will see 360 buses replaced or upgraded.
There are about 2,100 buses and 29 operators across the West Midlands metropolitan area.
“Poor air quality is a major public health challenge in the region, contributing to almost 1,500 premature deaths per year,” say Street. “So my ambition is for every bus in the metropolitan area to be replaced or upgraded by April 2021.
“We have already given £2.7million this year to help the bus operators, but we will need to find more money to make this happen and I am determined to get this for the West Midlands.”
The Mayor said TfWM was also working with the operators to make sure there would still be enough buses to serve all communities while vehicles were off the road for retrofitting.
David Bradford, managing director, National Express West Midlands, adds: “As part of the Bus Alliance with Transport for West Midlands we work very closely together on our commitment to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions in the communities we serve.
“In the last four years we’ve invested more than £100million in upgrading our bus fleet. This includes over 350 brand new buses which have some of the cleanest engines on the market, as well as refurbishing our older vehicles with cleaner exhausts.
“Alongside our investment in cleaner, greener vehicles, the bus priority measures being delivered through the Alliance is helping to tackle congestion and clean up air across the West Midlands.”