Britain is going to stay in the forefront of the world’s eventual transition from petrol-powered transport to a greener method of getting around. The government has just announced that another £25m will be allocated to the Green Bus Fund, and Transport Minister Norman Baker said that the additional money will not just pay for more ‘green’ buses, but it will create jobs and give the economy a much-needed boost.
The Green Bus Fund is an initiative that first appeared in 2009, meant to encourage local authorities and bus operators throughout the UK to invest in the introduction of low-carbon public transport. GBF seems to be working as intended, with companies like Optare in Sherburn-in-Elmet ready and eager to take advantage of the incentive.
Mr. Baker took a tour of Optare’s new plant to get a first-hand look at the production of the company’s low-carbon-emission vehicles, and a new one in the works – the zero-emission Solo EV. Jim Sumner, Optare’s chief executive, said there has been increasing demand from UK operators for low-carbon buses, which makes it possible for the company to expand the technology to international markets and inject some overseas money into Britain’s economy.
Optare and Alexander Dennis Ltd are two of the UK’s biggest bus manufacturers, and received the bulk of GBF money allocated so far. Those funds have spurred the production of 542 buses that will be in operation by March of 2012. Local councils and bus operators will bid for grants from GBF to cover the costs of buying new green buses and re-fitting existing ones with the new electric technology.