Bus Alliance renews its commitment to improve air quality across West Yorkshire

Ahead of Clean Air Day (8 October 2020), the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance has renewed its commitment to help improve air quality, with over 300 local buses retrofitted with technology to reduce their emissions.

Ahead of Clean Air Day (8 October 2020), the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance has renewed its commitment to help improve air quality, with over 300 local buses retrofitted with technology to reduce their emissions. 

The £8.036 million programme has been made possible by successful grant bids to the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund. In total, 479 buses will be converted which will result in 560 tonnes of Nitrogen Oxides being removed each year from the local air we breathe. This scheme will also deliver an additional £13.4 million of health savings and environmental benefits over the five years. 

Alongside the retrofit programme, the Combined Authority is investing in improving local roads and junctions to make bus journeys more reliable and punctual and operators are investing in new vehicles across the region. This includes 14 zero emission buses, with nine entering service in Leeds this month and a further five at the new Stourton park and ride facility. 

The Alliance is also developing a strategy for transitioning to a zero-emission bus fleet in West Yorkshire and reducing on route emissions, with a target to have all buses at a Euro 6 emission standard or better by 2026.  

Cllr Kim Groves, who chairs the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee and the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance said: 

“It’s vital we invest in our bus infrastructure now so that we can respond to anticipated increase in demand once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.  With just one double decker bus being able to remove up to 75 cars from local roads, buses are already contributing to improving local air quality, but we are committed, through the Bus Alliance to improving this further. 

“This retrofit programme means over 300 buses have already been brought up to the equivalent of the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, which is going to remove hundreds of tonnes of harmful Nitrous Oxides from the local environment.” 

Alex Hornby, CEO at Transdev, said:

“We are proud to be playing our part in reducing our environmental impact through a continued commitment to low-emission vehicles - alongside our ongoing investment in highly specified buses that customers are proud to be seen on. This partnership initiative proves that it is buses setting the agenda for enhanced air quality in our towns and cities and is a further example that Transdev and our Alliance partners are delivering for customers, residents and the region at large.”

Martin Hirst, Commercial Director of First West Yorkshire, said:

“This is a significant milestone in our shared long-term vision to upgrade fleets to give customers a better travel experience and create cleaner air on roads across the region.

“Improving air quality is a huge priority and investment in ultra-low and zero emission buses by the Alliance demonstrates our commitment to work in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.”

Patrick Sibley, Area Managing Director for Arriva Yorkshire:

“The West Yorkshire Bus Alliance continues to go from strength to strength, seeing bus operators and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority not only working together to improve the bus offering in our region, but also to ensure we are collectively committed to improving our local environment through investment in reduced emission vehicles and fleet upgrades. We can all recognise the benefits to local air quality and of reduced congestion, as a result of less cars on our roads during the COVID19 crisis. These environmental improvements can be maintained by people choosing bus for their journeys and Arriva is proud to support that objective, with our Alliance partners.”

The West Yorkshire Bus Alliance emerged from the successful Bus18 partnership and is made up of the Combined Authority, West Yorkshire bus operators and West Yorkshire’s councils. It is committed to putting passengers at the heart of any developments and has the main objectives of keeping buses moving and ensuring a sustainable bus network. Work being done through the Alliance is focusing on affordability of bus travel, customer service, highway infrastructure and air quality.