Passengers travelling on the 226 Diamond bus route from Dudley to Merry Hill, and residents living in the area, will benefit from cleaner air with the introduction of new ‘green’ buses.
Operator Diamond Bus is boosting the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) goal for the entire fleet in the metropolitan area to have ultra-clean ‘Euro 6’ engines by April 2021 – cutting harmful pollution across the bus network by up to 95 per cent.
Seven new micro-hybrid buses, with engines even cleaner than the Euro 6 standard, are now operating on the 226 Diamond service. This means they are low emission bus certified, contributing to better air quality for the local community.
One of the new Diamond 'Streetlite' buses on the 226 route
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council and WMCA portfolio holder for transport, said: “Poor air quality contributes to almost 1,500 premature deaths each year in the West Midlands.
“It’s great news that Diamond Bus has introduced new low-emission buses between Dudley and Merry Hill, improving the health and quality of life of passengers and local people who live nearby.
“This is taking us closer to our aim that every bus in the metropolitan area will exceed or meet Euro 6 standards by April 2021.”
Bob Baker, business director at Diamond Bus, said: “We are proud to be investing in these new, efficient ‘Streetlite’ vehicles, which offer great environmental benefits.
“Our parent company, Rotala Plc, has pledged an investment of over £4.8m into new green buses, to provide better journeys for passengers in the region.
“With part funding from the Government, this has enabled us to bring 44 new buses into service across the Midlands over the past eight months.”
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environment, highways and street services at Dudley Council, said: “Improving air quality is a high priority for us and we’re very pleased to see the new micro-hybrid buses on the 226 route.
“Reducing congestion and improving traffic flow are key, and initiatives like this will help to reduce harmful emissions and make getting around the borough easier and greener.”
The new buses were part-funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of a package of support to help Dudley drive down roadside air pollution.
The WMCA’s ambitions were boosted earlier this year by Defra funding to retrofit 350 buses across the West Midlands to Euro 6 standard.
In addition, to help bus companies replace or upgrade their most polluting vehicles, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the WMCA, has waived the fees it charges them for using the region’s bus stations and roadside passenger information for a year.
This has given the companies an extra £2.7m this year and this will see 360 more buses replaced or upgraded. There are about 2,100 buses and 29 operators across the West Midlands metropolitan area.
As part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance, Diamond Bus has committed to playing its part in improving local air quality through reduced emissions. The Alliance brings together TfWM, bus operators, local councils, West Midlands Police and passenger organisations to help improve bus services.