Transport Minister Norman Baker announced the winners of the Green Bus Fund in Newcastle
Narrator: Transport Minister Norman Baker announced the winners of the Green Bus Fund in Newcastle. The £15 million fund is designed to encourage bus operators and local authorities to buy new hybrid and electric buses.
Norman Baker, Minister for Local and Regional Transport: I’m here in the north east to announce the winners of the second tranche of the Green Bus Fund: £50 million of government money to pump-prime the investment in green buses which is being handed out to bus companies across the country in recognition of the determination of the government to reduce the carbon content of road transport and to encourage the take-up of green buses. Stagecoach North East are benefiting here in Newcastle; others are benefiting across the country and there’s a real commitment from the government to investment in low-carbon public transport.
Narrator: Thanks to the funding, around 170 hybrid and electric vehicles will come on-stream by March 2012. Among the successful bidders for the funding was Stagecoach, which plans to purchase and run 47 new buses for its north east and Yorkshire services.
Robert Andrew, Regional Director North, Stagecoach UK: It’s excellent news. You know, we were successful in the first round of Green Bus Fund bidding as well. We’ve got new vehicles already in service in Oxford and Manchester, and to learn today that we’re able to introduce further new vehicles here in Newcastle and also into Sheffield is absolutely excellent news. Though we’ve spent a lot of time and effort and money looking at alternatives to conventional diesel power, hybrid is one of those: we’re running on fully sustainable bio-diesel on some of our operations. So we’re always looking for ways to make the business more environmentally friendly.
Norman Baker: This scheme alone will save 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. But that: you know, this is in a sense not designed to be the end of it, this is a start. This is designed to help encourage the market for green buses, to bring down the average price of the bus and to make these buses the norm rather than the exception. It’s a way of saying to people we are serious as a government about cutting carbon; we’re serious about modern public transport. We’re leading the way and we encourage local authorities and bus companies to follow.