Two of London's bus routes are becoming exclusively electric, as the capital's electric bus fleet becomes the largest in Europe, according to Transport for London (TfL).
In the latest measure by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan to tackle climate emergency and the air quality health crisis, routes 43 and 134 will become the UK's first bus routes to use only electric double-deck buses this autumn. London currently has more than 200 electric buses, making it Europe's largest electric bus fleet, and this will grow significantly next year as Transport for London (TfL) has awarded contracts to operators for a further 78 electric double-deck buses.
The Mayor also confirmed that Low Emission Bus Zones at Chiswick High Road and Uxbridge Road have now been completed, which means that TfL has delivered all 12 Low Emission Bus Zones earlier than planned - the Mayor's previous target was 2020.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "London's toxic air is a shameful health crisis which is causing premature deaths and stunting the growth of children's lungs. Today, as part of our work to tackle the harmful emissions we breathe and to help tackle the climate emergency, I am proud to announce the first two routes which will exclusively use electric double deck buses.
"I am also pleased to announce that we have now delivered all 12 of the Low Emission Bus Zones I promised in my manifesto, much sooner than the planned delivery date of 2020. This is part of our £300m plan to transform London's entire bus fleet, which is set to reduce bus NOx emissions London-wide by an average of 90% by October 2020.”
The mayor has committed to making all buses within the M25 zero emission by 2037 at the very latest and has asked TfL to look at the feasibility of bringing this date forward. To deliver substantial benefits in the short term, TfL's £85m bus retrofit programme will help ensure that all of the capital's 9000 buses meet or exceed tough Euro VI emission standard by October 2020. This means the whole of London will become a Low Emission Bus Zone.
TfL say their investment in greener buses is supporting innovation in the UK economy. The latest routes to go electric are built by two manufacturers, Leeds-based Optare and the British-Chinese partnership of BYD and Alexander Dennis Limited. Transforming all of London's iconic red buses to green, zero-emission vehicles, will involve more than one type of power source. TfL is investing £12m in 20 new hydrogen double deck buses, built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland and supporting jobs in the region. It is expected these buses that produce nothing but water from their exhaust will hit the streets next year.