South Gloucestershire residents were horrified to learn that the new Metrobus routes – touted as environmentally friendly transport into Bristol – will instead run using regular buses, kitted out to a years-old environmental standard.
The Metrobus fleet was supposed to be all-new buses, with clean, energy-efficient engines, including hybrids, or bio-fuels. But at a meeting on Friday, the Joint Transport Executive is expected to agree to delay this requirement.
“We were always promised that these new buses would be clean,” said Cllr Pat Hockey, the Lib Dem transport spokes. “They were supposed to be environmentally friendly vehicles, like hybrids, or using bio-fuels. Now, the new rules are going to say any old bus from the last few years can run down the route. The bureaucrats say it’s only for the first two years. But let’s get real. The bus companies are never going to repaint old buses with Metrobus livery, and re-fit them with smart ticketing, if they only expect to use them for two years. They’re going to push to extend this, and we’re going to be stuck with them for ages.”
The proposal is now to allow any buses meeting the old Euro VI standard to provide Metrobus services instead.
“Air pollution kills hundreds of people every year in the Bristol area,” said Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh). “The bus companies have had years to prepare for this, and arrange the new, cleaner buses that they should be using on this route. There’s no excuse for relaxing the requirements at this late stage.”