Following (green) suit
Johannesburg’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Rea Vaya, is setting a wonderful example as an environmentally conscious bus operation, with its fleet running on low-sulphur diesel … The city’s bus company, Metrobus, is now following suit by issuing a tender for new buses as part of a green transport agenda.
The company plans to buy between 125 and 175 new buses, breathing new life into its ageing fleet. Metrobus’s acting MD, Lawrence Maqekoane, elaborates: “We are very excited to tell our passengers and the residents of Johannesburg that we will be able to replace more than one third of our ageing fleet with modern, low-floor and dual fuel green buses.”
He adds: “These buses will advance the city’s agenda of moving towards clean fuel, job creation and low carbon emissions.” The vehicles must have maximum local content and be able to run on both biogas and diesel.
Metrobus states that the decision to use biogas follows a number of studies which indicated enormous potential for the production of biogas from city waste sources: such as landfill sites, sewer plants, the Johannesburg Zoo and grass cuttings from parks.
The city is working in partnership with the University of Johannesburg and the South African National Energy Development Institute to refine the technology for biodigesters that can use grass and other non-food agricultural products to produce fuel.
But the fuel isn’t the only thing that will be upgraded as the procurement of the new buses will be done hand-in-hand with the modernisation of Metrobus’s fare collection system. “We want to make sure that when the new buses arrive, they will be reliable and will be part of the city’s offering of quality, affordable public transport,” says Maqekoane.
There is even more … The new vehicles will operate at increased frequencies and over longer operating hours along a number of key public transport corridors, thus supporting Johannesburg’s transit-orientated development strategy.