The red double-decker bus is one of London's most recognisable icons. Although in recent years it has been joined by the controversial single-deck 'bendy buses', it remains the stalwart of our public transport. And now it is getting even greener: joining a small fleet of single-deck hybrid and hydrogen-powered buses, the Mayor has launched the trial of the world's first double-decker hybrid, paving the way for eventual upgrading of the whole fleet. Londoners mourned when the old RouteMaster style buses were taken off the road, although we knew that their time had probably come. This time, it's a relief that becoming more green doesn't mean losing our identity!
This is refreshing to hear, it is a step in the right direction, and so deeply needed... I find it difficult to understand WHY it is taking so long for us as a collective whole to "get it together" and motorize the globe with Electric Cars.. We as a collective whole are much bigger than "Big Oil"
And when the cars are electric, it will be time to look at airplanes. For instance, one Boeing Airliner going from LAX to NY will burn a swimming pool full amount of oil, expelling the remains into are breathing air.. ??? yikes...
We live in a closed system..... Hello?
Ok, if I lived in a sealed 3000 sq ft home and burn dozens or hundreds of candles, how long would I last?
"Who killed the electric car?" "An Inconvinient Truth" , etc, etc, etc..............
When will we GET IT ? Yikes..
Great site... Best to all.
It sounds green but in truth how many of London's bus users actually travel any further by bus than they could comfortably walk? Maybe buses and taxis should all have a minimum fare equal to a 1 mile ride - except for disabled users. (If we must have "green" taxes).
As for electric planes - wow, what are they teaching in schools these days? Lou Reed? - "electricity comes from other planets"!!!!
Some good points.. But If I may comment, It is what they are "not" teaching in schools these days is where the focus may be needed.. You see, we as a collective whole must shift our thinking.. Here is a link to show how critical the patient (Earth) is and what perhaps lies ahead, unless we inpliment large changes in short order... http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
Electric Planes may not be a viable solution, but oil based greed and war is surely not sustanable. Free energy based on "over unity" or "zero piont" concepts was introduced by a man named Tesla 75 years ago.. but, as human nature would have it, greed and dirty old oil won the bet.
You see, we have already done irrevesable damage to the ecosystem.. O2 levels way down from 100 years ago, global warming, etc, we require immediate and aggressive change..
Blessings To All,
For London it's not just a question of Buses becoming cleaner it is also enabling people to get into the habit of using them.
There is now a congestion charge for each motorist wishing to drive into the centre. In addition all the good old double-decker buses have been faded out. You remember the ones, you've seen them on every picture of London.
Well now it's down to long bendy buses and a new payment system which is virtually punishing anyone who doesn't manage to get pre-payment charge cards.
With other words, despite all the new endeavours people are less willing to travel on public transport. If this were made more attractive instead of less, it might actually make a difference.
On the good side, you can now get electric cars here. And as an extra bonus parking is free and you are exempt from paying congestion charge.
But you can see despite these measures people still like to stick to their status symbols and personal transport.
It's the thinking that needs to become lighter, greener, more engaging, connecting, enabling and more personal again.
Actually here people generally don't take the bus for walkable distances - they are just that bit too slow and infrequent and expensive : )
Surely the congestion charge encourages people to use buses, not the opposite. And if you check out the stats, bus use has gone up massively over the last few years thanks to Ken's investment. I think that they've found Oyster cards also encourage people to use public transport more, as you don't have to remember cash. And while I also loved the old-style buses, they wer incredibly fuel-inefficient and polluting.
But on your last point, I totally agree. Our thinking does still need to get greener and more engaged, and we've all got a long way to go.
I appreciate that there are concerns in the US for the exhaustion of fossil oil supplies in the near future, with all the related issues as we get closer. However most electricity is also generated from fossil fuels and in the case of coal there's no hope of that running out any time soon so the impact on our climate is a big concern. http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/non-renewable/coal.html - 200 years of coal left in the US, or maybe 100 years if all electricity was from coal.
As for changing the world. It's important to remember that far more people in the world are affected by food supply issues than fuel supply - it's a rich man's worry.
Does a changing world go nuclear, or low energy?
Tom, I have to agree with Hana; Oyster cards do encourage people to use public transport more - well buses anyway as they are a lot cheaper if paying on your oyster card. Payment by either top-up or direct debit is useful too.
Currently using oyster cards has limited benefit if you are a commuter who would ideally use both the london underground and rail services (like myself) as said rail services aren't actually included in the oyster sustem yet. They are definitely a step in the right direction and when other rail services are integrated into the system next year (silverlink and southwest trains) will be much improved.
This is only a first step. In future the oyster card will be probably be used as a method of payment for a whole host of other services from shops and parking meters to vending machines and other point of sale applications. In fact the Octopus card in Hong Kong is even used to donate to charities and also control access to buildings. This type of electronic payment sytem for public transport has proved very popular in many major cities across the world. I know of a trial with students in Sydney that will hopefully be the precursor to a city-wide system along similar lines to the Oyster card (sydney has a ridiculous amount of different owners of different transport networks).
With regard to the greening of the bus fleet - it really can't come soon enough. It has always seemed obvious to me that the first major changes in making transport green should be in the public arena (transport authorities, royal mai, etc), closely followed by private car and truck fleets.
I'm looking forward to it.
sorry - 'royal mai' = 'royal mail'
How about other ways of encouraging people to both use, and pay for, public transport?
Here's my idea - increase the price of car tax by a few tens of pounds and then give every car owner free use of public transport, perhaps with some conditions on maximum journey length (maybe half price for journeys over 10 miles). After all, they can't drive and use a bus at the same time so everyone wins. Don't they? Even if they choose to simply carry on driving at least they're subsidising the cost for others.