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East Yorkshire - why our red buses are green

East Yorkshire tries to be as 'green' as possible in all its activities, whether by our choice of vehicles, promoting public transport as an alternative to car use or through driver training. Here are some examples of what we've been doing over the past few years.

Hybrid buses

In 2011, in a first for the city, East Yorkshire put 10 hybrid double deck buses onto the streets of Hull. These diesel-electric hybrid buses use 30% less fuel than a normal bus, and produce 30% fewer emissions. Not only that, but they are also quieter and more comfortable to ride in.

A hybrid vehicle is one that takes its power from more than one source. In the case of our hybrids, the power comes from the traditional diesel engine and a battery. In a hybrid bus, when the driver brakes the energy is 'captured' and stored in the batteries for later use. The diesel engine isn't actually connected to the wheels of the bus, but powers a generator that can either charge the batteries or power the road wheels. This means the engine can run in its most efficient operating range all the time, i.e. in its 'sweet spot', bringing better fuel consumption. Each of our hybrid buses will clock up around 60,000 miles each year, annually saving 9,000 litres of fuel each, and across the batch of ten buses up to 240 tonnes of CO2 will be saved each year.

Our hybrid buses cost over £100,000 more than a standard double deck bus, although our hybrids were partly funded by the government's 'Green Bus Fund', which contributed to the cost.

Green Road

All East Yorkshire buses and coaches are fitted with the 'GreenRoad' telematics system. This monitors how the vehicle is being driven, for instance cornering, lane changes, heavy braking, acceleration etc. A 'traffic light' system in the cab shows the driver how efficiently the bus is being driven; 'green' means a bus is being driven well and fuel efficiently, 'amber' means a bit more care is required, and 'red' means the driver needs to change their driving style. Drivers can log on to the system via the internet to see how well they are performing as individuals compared to the average scores across their depot. Not only does this help improve fuel consumption, but drivers aiming for a 'green' score will drive more smoothly, giving passengers a more comfortable ride and reducing the risk of accidents.

SAFED - Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving

Since 2008 East Yorkshire drivers have been trained in the principles of SAFED - Safe And Fuel Efficient Driving. This seven-hour driver CPC-approved course teaches drivers how to drive in a safe and fuel efficient way, for example by anticipating what will happen on the road ahead and reacting early in order to avoid harsh braking or unnecessary acceleration. The Department for Transport have since used East Yorkshire as a case study of best practice for SAFED programmes, and East Yorkshire Bus & Coach Training are now offering the course commercially to external companies or individuals who want to improve their employees' or their own driving skills.

East Yorkshire in the community

East Yorkshire are committed to promoting public transport as a green alternative to private cars. To this end, we work with organisations such as local colleges, hospitals, councils and businesses to help make sure the residents of East Yorkshire and the surrounding area are aware of how they can travel in the most sustainable way. We have been shortlisted for many 'green' awards over the past few years, including two categories in the Humber Renewables Awards 2012 and the 'Green Initiative' award at the Mail News & Media Business Awards 2011.

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