On the (hybrid) buses

I am delighted to see that new hybrid diesel-electric buses will be on Edinburgh’s roads from next week. Lothian Buses are replacing all 15 buses on the number 10 route from Western Harbour to Torphin with hybrids manufactured by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk.  Since the number 10 is one of my regular buses into town I am especially pleased!

Lothian Buses hopes that the upgraded service, which comes with free onboard wifi, will persuade more people out of their cars in the city.

The company also deserves plaudits for using a new bicycle delivery service, Pronto Pedal Power, to deliver thousands of promotional leaflets to homes along the route. Goody bags sourced from local companies are also being handed out on Castle Street this Saturday 10th September alongside a display of the new vehicles.

Lothian expects the buses to have at least 30% lower carbon emissions than its other buses and the number 10 route has apparently been chosen as it passes through two of Edinburgh’s worst areas for air quality (Great Junction St and the city centre).

All good so far and I have a motion down in the Scottish Parliament congratulating Lothian Buses on this step. Yet, as Transform Scotland has pointed out, this is a drop in the ocean when it comes to delivering the sustainable transport revolution that we urgently need in Edinburgh.

That’s why there’s still a strong case for a tram system, for all the disastrous way the project has been managed.  We need central funding to ramp up spending on cycling infrastructure to a whole new level rather than blowing billions on a second Forth road bridge.  And it is still possible that Edinburgh citizens will rue the lost opportunity on congestion charging back in 2006.