An ambition to deliver the cleanest bus fleet in the UK outside London was announced today by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street.
The goal is for the entire fleet in the West Midlands to meet the latest ‘Euro VI’ emissions standard by April 2021– cutting harmful pollution across the bus network by up to 95 per cent.
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.
This has given the companies an extra £2.7m this year and this will see 360 buses replaced or upgraded.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “Poor air quality is a major public health challenge in the region, contributing to almost 1,500 premature deaths per year.
“So my ambition is for every bus in the metropolitan area to be replaced or upgraded by April 2021.
“We have already given £2.7m 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 of National Express West Midlands, said: “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 £100m 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.”
This ambition, if successful, would see the West Midlands matching London, where all buses will meet the Euro VI standard by October 2020.