Stagecoach urges public transport switch

As attention turns to transport at the COP26 climate change summit today (10 November), Stagecoach is urging leaders to put in place firm plans to motivate and incentivise people to change the way they travel in order to meet the country’s net zero ambitions.

The operator is warning that Net-Zero ambitions cannot be achieved by technology alone, such as by replacing petrol and diesel-powered cars with electric vehicles. The fastest way to make progress is by switching where possible from making journeys by car and instead travelling by public transport, cycling or walking, according to the company.

The call comes as the COP26 climate change summit marks transport day today (10 November). Stagecoach is calling on leaders to be honest with citizens that the current status quo cannot continue in simply replacing traffic jams of diesel and petrol cars with traffic jams of electric cars. Stagecoach cited figures published by Inrix, Inc, which show that congestion during 2019 cost the UK economy £6.9billion, an average of £894 per driver, with Brits wasting an average of 115 hours in congestion. By contrast, independent research carried out prior to Covid-19 demonstrates that Stagecoach helped to save 190,000 tonnes of Co2 by people taking buses rather than using cars, equating to around £343million a year in potential congestion related savings2.

The Committee on Climate Change has made clear that changing technology will only deliver 38% of the required reductions in emissions, which means 62% of emissions reductions will have to come from changes in how people live and travel, including using more sustainable public transport.

“As the focus at COP26 today turns to transport, it’s crucial that we focus on the most important thing – incentivising people out of cars and onto public transport” – Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach

Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach, said: “As the focus at COP26 today turns to transport, it’s crucial that we focus on the most important thing – incentivising people out of cars and onto public transport. This is the only way that we can quickly meet the country’s Net-Zero ambitions.

“We need leaders to be honest with citizens that we cannot go on as we are now by simply replacing jams of diesel and petrol cars with jams of electric cars. Congestion is costing our economy billions of pounds each year, and that cannot be reduced by technology alone.

“As we focus on the action plans coming out of COP26, buses will continue to play a key role in delivering on the country’s Net Zero ambitions and creating healthier, more connected communities. Stagecoach is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in new clean electric buses and making major changes to reduce carbon, but we need the government’s help in encouraging people to switch from cars to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking.”

Stagecoach is aiming to decarbonise its business by around 70% by 2035 as well as targeting a zero-emissions bus fleet across the UK by that date. The roadmap to becoming a fully carbon neutral business will see investment in new zero-emissions fleets, such as electric buses, and other green technologies over the next 15 years. Stagecoach will this year be introducing 46 fully electric buses in key transport networks across Scotland in Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Perth as part of the Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.

Stagecoach has recently proposed a package of policy interventions to kick-start the country’s town and city centres, boost health and well-being, and help deliver stretching government targets to reach net zero by 2050. The proposals include mobility tax incentives, discounted fares and a national bus marketing campaign to match the recent advertising push to attract consumers back to trains.

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