Bus companies across Scotland are joining forces in a bid to reduce their carbon emission to net-zero over the next 10 years.

The transport firms are working together to set out a vision for 2030 and hope to exceed the Scottish Government’s target to reduce emissions by 75 per cent by then.

Transform Scotland, the national alliance for sustainable transport, is heading up the One Bus Forum and claims that buses have an important role to play in reducing emissions and improving quality of life across the country.

The forum, which includes various manufacturers and operators, will hold its first full meeting later this month at the Larbert premises of international bus manufacturer, Alexander Dennis Ltd. 

It is hoped that the Vision for 2030 will be published in April.

The first meeting will be hosted by Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Bus (Scotland), who claimed his firm is investing in new technology and a new fleet in a bid to tackle climate change.

He said: “First Bus are proud to be part of the One Bus Forum and the 2030 vision campaign to help show bus as a solution as we aim toward a net zero carbon future. 

“We have been key partners in the rollout of Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone in Glasgow and we are now 40% compliant on routes operating through the city. 

“We have invested heavily in the areas we operate with new technology, new fleet investment and new innovations all aimed at helping encourage modal shift, speeding up journeys and improving on air quality at the same time.

“In Aberdeen, we are leading the way in partnership with Aberdeen City Council with the rollout of the world’s first zero emission Hydrogen-powered double deckers later this year, while we have just launched the first fully electric buses on to a commercial route in Glasgow since the 1960s.

“We will continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to fund projects that can accelerate this process and help us reach our goals as well as aiding plans for net zero carbon emissions by 2030.”

Around the world, 27 cities have committed to zero emission buses by 2025, while some nations are investing heavily in buses in a bid to reduce emissions and achieve modal shift in the way people travel.

However, Transform Scotland claims that emissions in Scotland are growing, with air and road traffic the biggest contributors to the problem. 

On the roads, private cars continue to be the biggest source of emissions in the transport sector, so the forum hopes that improving services and making buses more environmentally friendly will help to drive change in commuter behaviour.

Sam Greer, regional director for Stagecoach, claimed that the biggest opportunity to tackle climate change comes form encouraging more people to leave the car at home.

She said: “We are proud to connect communities across Scotland and lead the way in transitioning to a cleaner public transport future. 

“Over the past decade across the UK, Stagecoach has invested more than 
£1 billion in new greener vehicles and by the end of 2020 will have one of the biggest electric bus fleets in Europe. 

“The biggest opportunity to tackle the climate emergency and deliver cleaner air comes from incentivising people to switch from the car to more sustainable public transport and active travel.

“Combined with the multi-million-pound investments we are making in greener buses, smart technology, and better journeys, it is crucial there is action to tackle road congestion and deliver more priority for buses.  

“We look forward to working with Transform Scotland, manufacturers, operators and our partners in government to maximise the power of the bus to benefit the country.”

Scotland is home to several bus manufacturers who provide the world with leading technology and environmentally-friendly buses. It is also home to the headquarters of global bus operators.

Transform Scotland claims this means the country is well placed to demonstrate to the world how buses can be part of the solution. 

Keith Watson, customer development director at Alexander Dennis Ltd, said: “Buses are essential in tackling the climate emergency. Our partners in the Scottish bus operating industry are ideally placed to play this important role and we are delighted to be joining them in Vision 2030:Bus to support decarbonisation and modal shift from private cars to sustainable transport.”