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For two decades, Brisbane’s “eco-friendly” natural gas buses have serviced its population. They comprise a third of the city’s mass public transportation fleet, yet a mandate has come into place for their retirement. The initiative comes as a result of a series of considerations including greener, safer, and modern alternatives.
While the gas-powered buses are dubbed as eco-friendly, the label that came with it is as old as two decades. Despite gas being an overall better fuel choice, modern diesel-powered vehicles have proven to be greener than the city’s outdated vehicles. The engine of choice is Euro 6 standard and is proven to have lower particulate matter and nitrous oxide emissions.
Stopgap in Preparation for the Future
The city opted for greener alternatives such as hydrogen and electric-powered busses. However, there have been concerns regarding its capacity to deal with the climate and population demand. Until they are sure of a better choice, diesel-powered coaches are going to serve the mass public transportation.
Nevertheless, an electric bus is on its way to the city, expected to arrive mid next year. The Brisbane Metro bus is expected to carry 150 passengers, reach 90kms per hour, and fully charge in just 4-6 minutes.
Gas buses are slowly being retired one at a time and are expected to be off the roads by 2027. However, as early as 2023, the city council expects to have solid procurement strategies in place for better alternatives, especially for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The city is not looking to favor one technology over the other. As a matter of fact, they intend to implement mass public transport that is a mix of different technologies.
While diesel may not be carbon-free, the initiative is a step towards that direction. It is an effort to be greener while waiting for completely green choices.
Nations such as the United Kingdom and France want diesel banned by 2040 while India wants it by 2030. While Brisbane thinks that these are pretty bold moves, they are not completely neglecting the idea. They want to be more conservative in setting their deadline but with the same end-goal.