Group will ‘lead the transition to zero emission coaches’

 
Environmental targets are to be included in all senior executive share schemes

 
National Express Group has set out a zero emission vision, which includes a pledge not to buy another diesel bus in the UK.

The group’s ambition is to have a fully zero emission bus fleet by 2030 and coach fleet by 2035, making it the first zero emission transport group in the UK.

National Express plans to “lead the transition to zero emission coaches”, with a target for the first electric coaches to be in service next year.

Meanwhile, environmental targets are to be included in all senior executive share schemes, making up 25% of their Long Term Incentive Plans.

National Express Group has a fleet of 1,600 buses across the West Midlands, Coventry and Dundee. Its coach operation runs over 1,800 services to more than 540 cities and towns every day.

The group said its zero emission vision was a response to public policy ambitions, with the government’s announcement of a £5bn bus fund, the pro-public transport policies of the mayor of the West Midlands and the “ambitious” draft Birmingham Transport Plan all showing “a desire for leadership and change”.

National Express Group will shortly launch a procurement competition to choose the manufacturers and partners to help achieve its ambitions.

The group will place a major order for electric vehicles this year to add to its first zero emission buses (29 Alexander Dennis/BYD electric double deckers), which will shortly enter service in Birmingham and Coventry.

This year will also see an in-service trial of an electric coach on its Stansted Airport service and the selection of partners to develop a zero emission vehicle suitable for all long distance coach routes.

We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders

National Express Group chief executive Dean Finch pointed out that bus and coach travel is already one of the greenest ways to travel, and that his group has already invested in clean buses and coaches.

“However, we understand the imperative to go much further, so we are today setting out an ambition to be the first zero emission transport group in the UK,” he said. “Our decision to never again buy a diesel bus in the UK coupled with our support in leading the zero emission transition in coach will place our UK operations at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and poor air quality.

“We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders.”

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said: “I am delighted to be working with the company again to help tackle the region’s climate emergency … National Express have already done a brilliant job of upgrading their buses while keeping prices low, and the West Midlands Combined Authority and I will do all I can to support them to reach their zero carbon pledge by 2030.”

 
This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport

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