The Daily Telegraph reporting on ABD research.
You can read the original article in the Daily Telegraph
If you’ve ever looked at an almost empty bus and wondered how it can be a viable proposition from the twin perspectives of cost and pollution, you’re not alone. Astonishingly, even the local authorities and companies that run the buses apparently have no means of comparing bus and car travel.
So I’m going to provide the hard figures for them. For years, government has been using environmental reasons to encourage public transport use. But where is the evidence that buses are cleaner per passenger-kilometre than cars?
When lobby group the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) asked councils to provide figures for bus passenger occupancy per kilometre, only two did so. One, Sheffield City Council, revealed that during the morning rush hour (7-10am) its buses carried only 2.3 passengers per kilometre. The average bus occupancy was a shade under 12 people.
When we buy a new diesel car, it must conform to the latest Euro 6 emissions legislation. According to research, the majority of the UK’s diesel buses are Euro 3, the standard of 16 years ago CREDIT: PA
Then there are the buses themselves. When we buy a new diesel car, it must conform to the latest Euro 6 emissions legislation. According to the ABD’s research, the majority of the UK’s diesel buses are Euro 3, the standard of 16 years ago. Brian Gregory of the ABD said: “Even if they upgraded their fleets to Euro 5, it wouldn’t lower harmful emissions.” Indeed it wouldn’t. Sheffield City Council admitted: “On-road measurements indicate the NOx [nitrogen oxide] emissions performance of the newer Euro 5 double-decker buses is similar to its predecessors. The Euro 5 single-decker buses generate more NOx than their predecessors.”
The Government claims that average vehicle occupancy when commuting is 1.2 people per car CREDIT: ALAMY
Compare vehicles, and bus journeys don’t fare favourably against cars. The Government claims that average vehicle occupancy when commuting is 1.2 people per car (down from the overall average of 1.6). Real tailpipe emissions gathered by researchers at Sheffield University show that a Euro 6 diesel car emits 0.43g/km of NOx, meaning harmful exhaust emissions will be 0.36g/km per person. For a Euro 3 bus that the researchers found emitted 4.2g/km of NOx, the emissions per km per person will register at 1.83.
The NOx factor
As you may remember from the VW emissions scandal, petrol cars are much cleaner than diesels when it comes NOx. A Euro 5 petrol engine emits 0.13g/km of NOx. That’s 0.11g/km per person commuting. Compare it with the latest bus tested which produces 3.02g/km of NOx and again it doesn’t come out as favourably: the bus emits 1.31g/km per person.
So even the cleanest bus pumps out more than three-and-a-half times the nitrogen oxides of a new diesel car. And the average bus – most are the dirtier Euro 3 variety, remember – will emit more than 16 times the NOx of the cleanest car.
When it comes to particulate matter, essentially smoke, buses do even worse. The average bus in the UK billows out 28 times the particle matter of a diesel car. Even the latest bus emits eight times a diesel car’s particles.
The Government continues to plug the following tired line on its website: “We’re working to reduce emissions by promoting public transport choices.” It, along with the anti-car lobby, needs to wake up and smell the NOx coming from the country’s outmoded bus fleet.