CPT argues for focus on modal shift, rather than green buses to reach net-zero targets

Responding to a Government consultation on phasing out new diesel buses, CPT argues that zero emission buses alone cannot deliver net zero emissions and instead, there needs to be a change in people’s travel behaviour so that more people choose to travel by bus.

CPT points out that if everyone took one more bus journey a month, there would be a billion fewer car journeys and it would reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by two million tonnes a year. The trade body adds that the key to encouraging more people to take the bus is to focus on journey time improvements through bus priority measures such as bus lanes, traffic signalling and priority at junctions.

CPT head of policy Alison Edwards says: “It is vital that government realises that phasing out new diesel buses alone is not enough to reach net zero emissions, and that what we really need is people to change their travel behaviours. If everyone took just six more journeys a year by bus that would have an impact equal to the transition of the entire bus fleet to zero emission.

“We need government to focus on putting buses at the heart of transport planning, with priority measures that keep buses out of traffic. This will result in quicker, more reliable journey times that make bus an appealing travel option.”

CPT’s response also claimed that ending the sale of new diesel buses without adequate financial support from government will result in cost increases for operators which risks impacting bus services.

“The costs of investing in zero emission buses are significant,” adds Edwards. “Desires to create a zero-emission bus fleet must come with financial support from Government to avoid diverting important investment from improving bus services for passengers as envisaged by the National Bus Strategy.”