November 03 2021

In this week’s blog post our Coaching Manager Phil Smith writes about the huge benefits we will see if we have more people travelling by coach, and what the industry needs in order to play its full role.

The need to address climate change is at the top of the public and political agenda and with the COP26 Climate Change summit taking place this week it is important that we continue to highlight the huge benefits of more people travelling by coach. 

Coaches are among the cleanest, greenest vehicles on our roads, with average carbon dioxide emissions per passenger per journey being around 5 times lower than air travel and 6 times lower than car travel. One coach-load of people - which can keep on up to 50 cars off the roads - amounts to notable savings in carbon dioxide emissions.

A change in travel behaviours will have a huge impact on reducing our carbon emissions, and we must avoid focusing solely on zero emission vehicles. A 15% increase in coach passenger journeys by British people each year could lead to approximately 47 million fewer cars on the road, saving over a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide and significantly reducing congestion on our roads.

We need governments across the UK to encourage more people to go by coach to help the industry play its full role in the journey to net zero. At a local level this means introducing coach friendly measures like free coach parking and additional picking up and dropping off points that make travel by coach an easy option. Bus Service Improvement Plans can provide opportunities to include coach features and in turn allow coaches to play their full part in reducing traffic congestion & improving air quality, especially in locations that attract lots of visitors. At a national level there needs to be a strategy for sustainable long-distance road transport that sets out how to decarbonise the coach fleet so that vehicles continue to be eco-friendly, and it is important any plan acknowledges the challenges coach operators face such as recharging infrastructure and how to finance retrofits and vehicle upgrades.

Coaches are part of the solution to the problem of climate change and can help us to meet net zero goals. We need to look at how we can encourage people to create new sustainable travel habits and how the coach industry can be supported in the journey to zero emissions.