Green buses drive the city

Green buses drive the city

Metrobus recently unveiled its first fleet of 70 eco-friendly buses. It includes 40 new dual-fuel buses and 30 that have been converted to use both diesel and compressed natural gas. We bring you the details.

Parks Tau, executive mayor of Johannesburg, unveiled Metrobus’s new fleet of energy-efficient buses at the Milpark depot recently, describing it as “a symbol of a new journey for the city”.

The new buses will set an example of sustainable, environmentally friendly transport for the industry, and will also boost job creation by supporting the growth of a local biogas industry.

The first batch of 70 new Metrobuses have been branded in colours similar to Joburg’s Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) fleet in order to reinforce the city’s commitment to quality, integrated public transport. The 70 buses include 40 new dual-fuel buses and 30 existing buses that have been rehabilitated and converted to use both diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Metrobus MD, Mavela Dlamini, says the fleet project is “paving the way for better transport sustainability, while also providing instant gains for passenger transport and for society”.

He adds that there will be 190 new buses travelling on the streets of Johannesburg by June 2016. Metrobus currently has 412 buses. About 270 of these are more than ten years old‚ and 11 are more than 20 years old. Older buses will be removed as new buses are brought in, Dlamini says.

Furthermore, all new and rehabilitated buses will be fitted with a fleet management system that will allow buses to be tracked and driver performance to be monitored across the city, while an in-house gas filling facility will cut out wasteful refuelling travel time.

Tau says the buses mark a new beginning for both the public and Metrobus. “This fleet is a culmination of a long process that was undertaken to define a different future. It is a symbol of a new journey for the city.”

He adds that the buses will stimulate entrepreneurship and the growth of new green industries. “We hope to produce biogas at our land-fill sites, as well as grow crops for biomass on our mine dumps and other unused land. Thus we stand to create five jobs per bus in the biogas fuel supply chain.”

Lesley Monyane, a driver, who has been working for Metrobus for over 20 years, says: “We thank the city for introducing the new buses. We encourage you to do this always, so that we are able to provide a good service.”

The rollout is in line with Johannesburg’s long-term Growth and Development Strategy – GDS 2040 – as well as the Metrobus turnaround strategy. The new buses, and the rest of the existing Metrobus fleet, will progressively be converted to run on a mixture of CNG/biogas (70 percent) and diesel (30 percent).

In addition, the new buses will further stimulate the improvement of public transport in the city and increase commuter confidence, in line with the Ecomobility Festival, which will be held in Sandton in October, to foster the use of public transport and non-motorised forms of transport, such as walking and cycling.

The Festival will enable residents and visitors from across the globe to experience what a future, car-free precinct would look and feel like. A core part of the Sandton central business district (CBD) will be closed for regular traffic for the duration of the Festival. A traffic-management plan is in place to minimise the temporary impact of disruptions and to keep the public informed about alternative arrangements. |FOCUS

No more guilt trips
Cape Town is also doing its bit in terms of “greening” the public transport industry. Commuters can buy a Green Pass and get on board The Green Bus for a daily shuttle ride via the Atlantic Ocean coast to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.

The carbon footprint of the Green Bus is reduced by deploying emission-reduction technologies. It departs from the Central Business District and picks travellers up in Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Slangkop Beach Camp in Kommetjie.

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