Monday, 6 December 2010

Cheaper bus tickets and hybrid buses


Last week I was invited along to Reading Buses. Top of my wish list and one of my first questions was on cheaper bus tickets. As whilst no one can deny that we get a good service -- most of the time -- from the likes of the 17, £1.70 for a trip from Cemetery Junction into the town centre does seem expensive. I put this to Reading Buses CEO James Freeman and I was pleasantly surprised by his response. He informed me that Reading Buses is sympathetic to this issue, but it is a consequence of the current flat rate. However Reading Buses is currently trialling a £1.00 ticket on some of its routes when you board the bus close to the town centre. He said that there is already a £1.00 ticket from the hospital into the town centre for example. He wouldn't be drawn on exactly when we will get this at Cemetery Junction, but I think that this is a great idea and will keep the pressure on.

We chatted about a variety of other things before I got a tour of the depot and a lift home on one of the new hybrid buses. They are like the Prius (car) in that they have both a diesel and electric engine. The electric engine responsible for moving the bus around and is charged when the bus slows down for example. The diesel engine powers some of the technology on the bus. This means less fuel, so they are cheaper to run and better for the environment.

2 comments:

Peter said...

Hi Rob,

Thanks for a very interesting report on your trip. Bus operators working for Transport for London have for many months been using Dennis Trident hybrid Envirobuses like the one in your photo to good effect. As well as reducing emissions they qualify for greater levels of government subsidy than ordinary buses, which is another good reason for bus companies to use them.

Do you have any information about how their performance compares in terms of carbon emissions with the biofuel powered buses which the former Labour council unwisely asked Reading Buses to use a couple of years ago? I'd be interested to know which model has the lowest emissions.

Best wishes,

Peter

Rob White said...

I haven't got any figures at the moment. You could try asking Reading buses? If I get any figures I will publish them on my blog.