Xplore Dundee is confirming it will take delivery of nine more top spec Emerald double deckers next month, which should go into service in January 2020. They are the same standard of vehicles which arrived on Service 22 a year ago with Euro VI engines which are so clean they reduce emissions by 95% and are better for the environment than even a single car.
Along with 17 older vehicles recently being retro-fitted to Euro VI standard, with the help of government funding, this will mean almost half of Xplore Dundee’s fleet will be low emission at the end of 2019, with plans to continue upgrading the fleet for the following 12 months.
Managing Director Christine McGlasson said: “We don’t simply say that buses are the solution to pollution – we truly believe it. That’s why I’m immensely proud of the rapid improvements we have made in just 12 months. In November 2018, we didn’t have any Euro VI buses – but by the end of this year, when our next batch of Emeralds arrive, these ultra-clean buses will make up 46% of our fleet.
“And we plan to keep up the momentum – we are setting the ambitious target of ensuring at least three-quarters of our fleet is low emission within the next two years and we already have plans in motion which we hope will help us achieve that.”
Xplore Dundee is one of the few operators to have participated in both phases of the Scottish Government’s BEAR retrofit programme so far. This involves fitting filters and catalytic units onto older buses to bring them up to the cleanest Euro VI standards – cutting their emissions by 95%. So far, the operator has upgraded seven double-decks with another ten single-decks to follow shortly. The company has also swapped out some of its older vehicles with newer ones sourced from sister company National Express West Midlands, to bring even more of the fleet in line with modern standards.
The bus operator is facing the challenge next year of complying with a Low Emission Zone in Dundee city centre. The council’s consultation on its proposals for this LEZ is currently underway to help define the boundary and the type of vehicles which should be included.
Christine McGlasson said: “We welcome Dundee City Council’s intention to introduce a Low Emission Zone, and would encourage local people to spend just a couple of minutes responding to the public consultation about what shape the LEZ will eventually take.
“We’re urging the council to make the plan as ambitious as possible, as it’s the only way we can make a meaningful difference, not just to air quality but also to congestion. For this scheme to be truly successful, we don’t just need cleaner cars on our roads – we need fewer cars on our roads. Reducing traffic means faster journeys, less pollution and a better environment for everyone.”
By the end of 2019, Xplore Dundee will be operating exclusively low emission Euro VI buses along Lochee Road, one of the city’s most polluted streets, which is not included in the LEZ proposals. The operator is currently retrofitting 10 single decks, funded by the BEAR 2 government grant, which will join seven upgraded double deckers on Service 28/29.
Christine McGlasson said: “Dundee’s planned LEZ is not simply a challenge, it’s a tremendous opportunity to put public transport at the forefront of the city’s sustainable travel choices. We’re already going the extra mile – literally in the case of Lochee Road. In areas like this the air coming out of the exhaust of our buses is cleaner than the air going in. We’re making sure we’re playing our part in improving Dundee’s air quality to create the best possible future for Dundee and its people.
“I would urge everyone to think about the way they travel and consider how catching the bus more often could help us achieve our aims of a cleaner, greener city.”