The passenger transport sector can operate at Net Zero, regardless of the size of the operator. Newport Transport is showing the way
Over the past two years, Newport Transport’s EV fleet has more than tripled in size, growing from the original 14 buses to a total of 44
BY Scott Pearson
At Newport Transport, we want to show what’s possible despite being a medium sized municipal operator and I’m keen to help others do the same.
From horse-drawn carriages in 1901 to a fully electric bus service across our entire network by 2025. We continue to move forward.
Yes, funding is tight. But we must make these kinds of changes now, for our planet and the future. We must start now.
In the words of Sir David Attenborough, this starts and ends with us.
In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, we introduced our first electric vehicles (EVs) into service. We focused on linking two urban areas, Newport and Cwmbran, passing through the historically significant area of Caerleon, which has a history of poor air quality, whilst also serving a brand-new state of the art hospital en route.
Over the past two years, our EV fleet has more than tripled in size, growing from the original 14 buses to a total of 44. Since May 2021 alone, this expansion has resulted in a remarkable CO2 reduction of 1,280 tonnes, equivalent to the environmental impact of 128,037 trees. As we continue to increase our EV fleet to reach 57% operating capacity, we anticipate saving 2,560 tonnes of CO2 annually, accompanied by a 33% reduction in operating costs.
We’re approaching our goal of becoming a fully electric bus service by 2025. Currently, we are more than halfway there, achieving substantial CO2 savings and operating cost reductions through our electric vehicles alone
Fast-forward to now, and we’re approaching our goal of becoming a fully electric bus service by 2025. Currently, we are more than halfway there, achieving substantial CO2 savings and operating cost reductions through our electric vehicles alone.
Our success can be attributed to a few key elements; dedicated partnerships with stakeholders and technology leaders who have played a vital role in finding funding solutions and effective strategies, generous grants from the Department for Transport and local and national government in Wales, and the buy-in of our workforce. With this support, we are now operating 44 electric single-deck buses on our network, with further expansion planned for 2023.
The establishment of our Coach Division – including four Yutong eCoaches marks a ground-breaking milestone for Wales.
These coaches are the first of their kind in our home nation and mark a significant step forward in our green ambition and commitment to sustainable transportation. With 25 vehicles available across the division for various transportation needs, including day trips, school trips, sports clubs, and airport transfers; we are offering more sustainable shared transport options than ever before, enabling our community to choose eco-friendly travel options and with that, the opportunity to reduce congestion and improve air quality in Newport.
This new venture for us has brought another collaboration along – this time with Zeelo, a commuting solutions organisation. We’re now able to offer corporate coach hire services for employee transportation, home-to-school services, and other group travel arrangements, meaning more money into the business and – importantly – more green jobs for our local community.
Our experience is a tangible example for others in the industry, and we can and will bring others along on the journey to Net Zero. The grants we’ve accessed are available for others – we’re ready and willing to share our experiences and best practice.
Throughout our journey, our partnerships with Zenobe and Pelican Yutong have been instrumental in driving significant progress.
Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of Zenobe has expressed his enthusiasm for our fleet’s electrification, emphasising its significance in Wales’ electrification efforts.
Chris Murrell, group aftersales manager at Pelican Engineering Yutong UK, has highlighted the broader impact of electric buses, emphasising that each electric bus on the road contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing engine production and maintenance, resulting in significant oil savings.
Opportunities for partnerships are ever expanding – our collaboration has contributed to support significant growth globally, which is ever-increasing.
While it may seem daunting, it is a feasible and rewarding endeavour, resulting in ongoing business savings and a more sustainable operation
While it may seem daunting, it is a feasible and rewarding endeavour, resulting in ongoing business savings and a more sustainable operation.
What is truly driving us forward, however, is the fact that this expansion and commitment to sustainability goes far beyond our day-to-day bus services. This is about ensuring our whole business operates sustainably, and we are protecting our environment – so that’s exactly what we are doing. We owe it to our future generations.
We’re working hard to foster an environmentally responsible culture, implementing various initiatives within our depot and in the wider community to reduce carbon emissions.
Installing a digital heating management system has resulted in significant CO2 savings, while the transition to LED lighting reduces electricity consumption and lowers costs.
To enhance our sustainability efforts, we have secured financial support to increase our solar capacity, aiming to meet 30% of our EV power requirements through renewable energy. Additionally, we will repurpose old bus batteries for battery storage solutions, contributing to a circular economy and minimising waste.
Through our partnership with Zenobe, we have upgraded our electric infrastructure, ensuring our depot can support 100 electric buses and accommodate future growth.
By investing in the necessary infrastructure, we demonstrate our commitment to sustainable transportation and the adoption of electric vehicles.
We prioritise the use of renewable energy generated by our depot to charge our EV fleet, reducing pressure on the grid and minimising our impact on the city’s infrastructure. Furthermore, we have constructed acoustic fencing using recycled plastic materials, reducing noise pollution for nearby residents and creating a more environmentally friendly environment.
In our commitment to educating and inspiring future generations, we engage with students – from primary age through to university – via presentations, workshops, and discussions. By highlighting the importance of environmental issues and showcasing green career opportunities, such as renewable energy engineers and sustainable transport planners, we ignite their interest and passion for a greener future.
We are leading the way in achieving Net Zero, and though I know I am biased, I believe we’re a shining example for providers across the transport industry.
Through our comprehensive initiatives, we are driving significant progress towards a sustainable and environmentally responsible future. We’re prioritising energy-efficient technologies, harnessing renewable energy, repurposing resources, and engaging with the community, and above all, we demonstrate leadership and inspire others to adopt similar measures – which is having an impact globally.
With our visionary approach and unwavering dedication, we are where we want to be – at the forefront of creating a greener and more sustainable future for our communities.
Get on board. Be part of this journey with us.
TALK TO US: www.newportbus.co.uk/get-in-touch
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Scott Pearson has been Managing Director of Newport Transport since December 2010.
This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.
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