Amid uncertainty over the decarbonisation process, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), has launched the Rural Zero Emission Buses Taskforce (RZEBT). The newly created entity aims to guide rural bus services sustainably towards zero-emission technologies.
The lack of a defined pathway to decarbonise long-distance services in remote areas and the yet unconfirmed cessation date for diesel bus sales has led to CPT’s call to action.
To create a “springboard of positive action”, RZEBT brings together industry stakeholders and the government to build a “sustainable, fully funded, and long-term roadmap” for operators in rural areas.
The first RZEBT meeting took place on 29 June, and in the upcoming months, the taskforce will delve into the decarbonisation challenges in rural areas. Utilising an evidence-based approach, RZEBT will identify potential solutions to assist operators in overcoming these hurdles.
Jeff Counsell, Chair of the RZEBT and former MD of Trentbarton and Kinchbus, voices his optimism, stating: “I am delighted to be chairing this forward-looking taskforce, established to help our rural bus services overcome the hurdles to transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.
“Rural services face an amplified level of challenges due to the extended range and topography of routes. I anticipate a robust collaboration with stakeholders across the bus, infrastructure, and energy sectors, to develop a strategy that ensures a sustainable transition for our rural services.”
CPT’s Policy Manager Becki Kite highlights the importance of rural bus services, saying that they “are vital for connecting passengers in more remote areas to work, leisure, education, and medical appointments.”
Ms Kite appeals to all interested stakeholders from operators, local transport authorities, the Department for Transport, energy and infrastructure providers to join the taskforce and “drive forward a better approach to rural bus service decarbonisation”.
In the last eight years, over £2bn has been funnelled into Euro VI and green bus technology by the bus sector. The government’s ZEBRA scheme has further driven £233m worth of private sector investments. However, limitations such as the current battery range for electric vehicles and a lack of charging and refuelling infrastructure present challenges for rural bus operators.
For more information, interested parties can reach out to Rebecca.email@example.com.