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The City of Cape Town's transport authority is looking to introduce biofuels and electric buses. Pic credit: capetown.gov.za

In South Africa, the City of Cape Town has announced that biofuel and electric buses are on the cards for the MyCiTi bus service. This announcement was made following the closing of the African Union of Public Transport (UATP) Workshop on Best Practice in Africa last week.

‘Green’ transport tabled for discussion

The City of Cape Town Transport Authority is preparing to issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses to join its fleet of existing vehicles. The tender is due to be issued within the next few months.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron said: “While the MyCiTi bus service has significantly improved the quality of life of our residents through access to affordable, decent and safe public transport, we now also have the responsibility to lower our carbon emissions and the impact of pollution on the urban environment.

“As such, Transport for Cape Town, the City’s transport authority, will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses within the next few months. In addition, we are undertaking a research project into biofuels to determine how we can make use of alternative fuel to improve our efficiency and to run a cleaner MyCiTi service.”

Rapid growth in public transport

Herron said: “When we rolled out the first MyCiTi bus routes in May 2010, we could never have imagined that the service would be growing at such a pace. We are now transporting nearly 59 184 passengers every weekday and the MyCiTi buses have become such an integral part of Cape Town that one can hardly imagine our city without them.

“On average, the MyCiTi buses cover a distance of over 1 270 000 kilometres each month. As we intend on growing our MyCiTi footprint with the roll-out of more routes across the city, it is imperative that we investigate cleaner and alternative fuels for our buses.

He added: “An added benefit of electric buses is the fact that they operate almost silently, which will also help to cut back on noise pollution.”

According to the transport authority: “Currently, 97% of public transport across the world operates on diesel, contributing to pollution and climate change.

“Worldwide there are 1.3 million deaths due to traffic accidents annually and a further 3.1 million deaths from particle emissions – meaning one out of eight deaths is related to poor air quality.”

 

Home page pic credit: capetown.gov.za

1 COMMENT

  1. Of course, unless the electric bus batteries are charged using low-carbon, renewable energy, they will be using Eskom energy, which has associated emissions of about 1 kg carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour of electrical energy.
    However, even using coal-generated electricity, an electric vehicle beats an internal combustion engine vehicle by a good margin (EV 0.2 kg CO2e/km, versus ICE vehicle 0.3 kg CO2e/km – Tesla EV versus average USA fleet of conventional vehicles (see http://www.theengineer.co.uk/Journals/1/Files/2010/9/20/SSEE-PolicyBrief-Indirectemissions%20v5.pdf).

    On the plus side, the aggregated storage capacity of a fleet of electric buses, can be used by the municipalities to help balance electricity supply and demand in an environment where intermittent renewable energy generation is contributing more and more.

    So, roll on the electric buses!