Event offers chance to showcase success and raise awareness

Stagecoach partnered with ADL BYD to provide a fleet of electric double deckers to transport world leaders, including prime minister Boris Johnson (pictured), at this month’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow

The passenger transport sector used this month’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow to highlight the pivotal role that it can play in reducing carbon emissions – if governments pursue policies that support modal shift away from the car.

Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator, partnered with bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis and BYD to become a provider to COP26. They supplied a fleet of brand new electric double-decker buses to transport several hundred VIPs to a reception event.

Boris Johnson, UN secretary general António Guterres and Italian prime minister Mario Draghi were among those who travelled on the fleet of 10 red London double decker buses, which came straight from ADL’s nearby production line in Falkirk.

Following COP26, the buses will travel from Scotland to London, where they will deliver passenger services for Stagecoach on behalf of Transport for London.

Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis president and managing director, said: “COP26 is focused on finding solutions to the climate emergency and we are proud to be able to demonstrate a zero emission solution that is available right now.”

As reported in the previous edition of Passenger Transport, First Bus operated the official COP26 delegate shuttle service with a fleet of 22 BYD ADL single deck electric buses. These vehicles will remain in service in Glasgow once the summit is over.

Pelican Engineering meanwhile completed the fit-out and commissioning of its biggest ever order of zero emission electric Pelican Yutong buses with the delivery of 55 buses to McGill’s in Glasgow ahead of the start of COP26.

Rail travel was also in the spotlight at COP26. Eurostar hosted a ‘Climate Train’ event on October 30, carrying guests from Amsterdam to London. Avanti West Coast provided the final leg of the Climate Train journey to Glasgow.

ScotRail provided more seats and more net zero carbon trains during the summit. Extra carriages and frequent electric rail services have been provided until late at night – after midnight on some routes – to help delegates, attendees and the people of Glasgow get around the city as smoothly as possible.

The actions we take as operators need to be matched by a shift in transport policy

It was estimated that up to 25,000 people will attend the COP26 event in total, and as many as 14,000 people will be at the SECC, the COP26 venue, at any one time.

New rail technology was also profiled in Glasgow. A next-generation battery train from Vivarail was launched at COP26 and has run daily services.HydroFLEX, a hydrogen-ready hybrid capable of being powered by hydrogen, battery or the overhead electric wires, was demonstrated by train leasing company Porterbrook.

The Go-Ahead Group demonstrated its support for action to tackle climate change by sponsoring an event at COP26.

The Green Zone event, People make transport: communities enabling greener travel, on November 10, embraced the need to reduce car dependancy. It was hosted by the Sustainable Transport Alliance, a network of NGOs supporting active travel, public transport and shared mobility. Transport minister Trudy Harrison was the keynote speaker.

Martin Dean, managing director business development at Go-Ahead, said: “The actions we take as operators, working with our communities, need to be matched by a shift in transport policy – towards encouraging people to walk or cycle where possible, use buses and trains as an alternative, but only use a car if absolutely necessary.”

Some passenger transport operators used the increased focus on the environment to entice people on board with lower fares.

ScotRail is giving travellers who’ve been inspired by COP26 the chance to cut their carbon footprint while taking advantage of savings on November tickets. The train operator is launching a Buy One Get One Free offer from November 14 which will last for two weeks, and will be valid for travel from Sunday to Thursday.

Train operator c2c meanwhile offered 1,000 half-price weekday off-peak tickets on its trains during the summit.

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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