Coach tour owner questions net zero target
Coach firms say they need more infrastructure support
Timberbush Tours founder Gary Voy says government calls for zero emission transport are not matched by the provision of infrastructure that will make it happen.
Mr Voy is investing £4 million in new coaches which are some of the most fuel efficient and clean on the market.
But he says there is a sparse provision of suitable zero emission vehicles. Nor is there adequate infrastructure to support them. As such the planned transition will be delayed.
He said there has been Government support for the urban and rural bus industry –completely distinguishable from the coach travel market – as many embark on a shift to both electric and hydrogen vehicles.
“But so far, there is lack of serious support for the coach travel industry to do likewise. The coach industry had not been recognised as a key part of that transition,” he said.
An Energy Saving Trust study of coach tour operators, which included Timberbush, to better understand their needs in transitioning towards a zero-emission fleet, considered routes, operating model, fleet make up and replacement plan, charging infrastructure and suitable zero emission alternative vehicles.
The study reaffirmed what most of the coach tour industry already knew, said Mr Voy (pictured). Now with greater evidence, he said there is a long road ahead before zero emission operations can be achieved.
He has questioned why both the Scottish and UK Governments have stated ambitions for achieving net zero without providing a timetable to consider what the coach tour industry needs in order to make the transition.
Investments being made now by Timberbush in fleet replacements, could have been invested in zero emission vehicles had the infrastructure been in place, he said.
“Regrettably, many other operators face the same challenge, meaning a missed opportunity which will only further hinder the transition.”
He added: “The challenge for the coach industry ahead of the phasing out of “non-zero emission vehicles”, expected in 2040, is the availability of vehicles and supporting infrastructure.
“We need quality, affordable, mass market vehicles that are fuelled by alternatives and critically, have adequate range.”