Few can ignore the devastating impact that the pandemic has had on the UK bus industry but, whilst the road to recovery will undoubtedly be winding and challenging, Patrick Warner – Head of Innovation Strategy for Go Ahead Group’s south eastern based bus operations, ‘Brighton & Hove Buses’ and ‘Metrobus’ – thinks we have real reason to be optimistic.
In his keynote presentation at TRANSPORT Smart Class, London & South East England 2021, Patrick explained why, with the right funding and messaging, we have a unique opportunity to take learnings from our response to the pandemic and improve the passenger experience and perception of bus travel for the longer term.
“The need to lock many of these improvements in and the drive towards a zero emission future leaves the Bus with a unique role to play, not only in improving public health and reducing congestion but also in driving much wider decarbonisation of other forms of road transport if we spend the promised funding wisely. Armed with supporting policy and the potential of considerable funding, the bus to the future leaves shortly. Who’s joining me?”, asked Patrick!
Patrick explained how their vision for a zero emission new generation of Fastway Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric buses has captivated the imagination of the region and outlined ambitious plans to convert the entire regional fleet to hydrogen fuel cell power and for Bus Depot based hydrogen refuelling stations to bring affordable zero emission fuel to other smaller local fleets, such as council refuse collection lorries. He also highlighted similar potential with other HGV based applications, lighter commercial vehicles and local taxi fleets.
However, cautioned Patrick, “with just 4% of UK roadside emissions coming from existing buses, putting zero emission buses on the road at twice the price is not the answer alone”. Patrick emphasised the importance of jobs and skills opportunities to train the local engineers of the future on new clean technology; placing high quality public transport at the heart of new public realm improvements; including Superhubs, new RTPI technology, MaaS development funding, bus priority measures and transport connectivity enhancements in growth programmes and town deal initiatives (like Crawley and Newhaven); and collaborating beyond the region, such as sharing real life operator experience and lessons learned to speed up deployments.
If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us on October 7th for the live in-person event, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including film footage and slides from Patrick’s keynote).
Those qualifying to receive the rich content from these presentations include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from: local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public and private transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, vehicle manufacturers, parking operators, prime contractors etc.