Transport is Scotland’s biggest carbon-emitting sector, accounting for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, with 40% of those emissions coming from cars. Therefore, investing in sustainable and reliable public transport will be one of the many ways to help Scotland get to Net Zero, but it must work for everyone.
As part of our broader marine services and transportation remit, we are responsible for the public bus contract and the day to day running of services.
The school and public bus contract awarded in August 2021 placed a higher scoring focus on quality versus price to encourage significant investment in a new or newer fleet.
We invited tenders for mainland public bus services based on three different operating models:
- Operators providing their own fleet,
- Operators using Council-purchased new electric buses, or
- Operators using Council-purchased new diesel vehicles.
Unfortunately, we received no tender interest to operate services using electric fleet. Whilst there is still a desire by the Council to use electric buses to provide services, there were too many range and reliability concerns at this time to make it a viable proposition.
The winning tender from Stagecoach to operate mainland public bus services was on the basis of the operator continuing to provide their own fleet and the proposal was to provide brand new Euro 6 low emission fleet for all services tendered.
Whilst this fleet will be diesel-powered, the new buses meet Euro 6 standards and are classed as a low emission fleet. The Council also has a low-carbon innovation clause within the contract, which allows the service and operators Stagecoach to explore low-energy solutions in the near future, such as electric or hydrogen-powered buses.