London’s red double-deckers are about to turn green

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that the world’s first purpose-built electric double-decker bus will enter passenger service in the capital in October this year.

Johnson unveiled the plans yesterday, at the first-ever global Clean Bus Summit, which was held in London. He said: "I could not be more pleased that London will play host to these exciting pure electric double-deck buses.

"London is a world leader in clean buses but we can’t do it alone, and events like this Clean Bus Summit are key to making further progress."

A trial version of the zero-emission bus will run on route 16 between Cricklewood and Victoria Station. They are manufactured by BYD, a Chinese maker of cars and rechargeable batteries.

Until now double-deckers have been too heavy for available battery technology, but TfL believes the latest development will be transformational for emissions and air quality.

The mayor also confirmed that all new buses joining central London’s fleet were now compliant with the Ultra Low Emission Zone that is to be introduced in London in 2020.

As well as London, 24 other cities around the world have committed themselves to rolling out 40,000 ultra-low emission buses by 2020.

Earlier this year, it was announced that route 312, which runs between South Croydon and Norwood Junction, will become the first route in London to be operated entirely by electric buses.

Since 2008, Transport for London has rolled out 1,300 hybrid buses and retrofitted 1,400 others to reduce their emissions by up to 88%. It has also developed the "New Routemaster", one of the cleanest double-deckers in the world.  

There will be 800 New Routemasters on London’s streets by 2016 and they will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the capital by around 28,000 tonnes a year.

Image: A double-decker route 24 bus, which uses fuel-efficient hybrid technology (Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. Why is that the bus cannot be built in the UK ? We have the know how and the technology .

  2. As someone observed in the letters page of the Times yesterday London and many other places in the UK had electric buses sixty years ago they were called TROLLEY BUSES!

  3. We had a very good version of these and British made called Trolly Buses, certainly beter and cleaner/easier to dispose of and recycle if required as no heavey metal batteries.

    The old busses were narrower rarely broke down and therefore less congestion and more efficient. Are we supposed to be moving forward?

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