20 Mar 2016.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Council Transport Policy Driven by Opinion Not Evidence
Lobby group the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has discovered that local authorities are unable to directly compare emissions of car and bus users
Following a recent FOI by the ABD, it was found that not one authority questioned was able to provide evidence showing real world comparisons of emissions between Cars and Buses. Only one Authority (Sheffield) had investigated real world bus emissions; and only two authorities questioned were able to provide figures for bus passenger occupancy per km. The investigation by the ABD shockingly revealed that the average bus occupancy was an unbelievable low at just 2.3 passengers per vehicle km during the morning peak period.

Sean Corker — spokesman for the ABD — slammed local government saying:
“For many years Local Government has been telling drivers to drop their licences and move onto public transport for environmental reasons; yet this advice seems to be driven by a political agenda rather than actual science.”
Real world figures provided by Sheffield and Manchester tell us that the average bus passenger emits: Even the latest bus type tested emits: Such low average occupancy rates in Manchester — even at peak morning periods — is evidence that there is not the demand for the number of buses scheduled. The result is that emissions per passenger km show that travelling by car is the least polluting option. Britain also has the largest bus fleet in the EU with over 110,000 registered buses, compared to 91,000 in France and just 76,000 in Germany. The current policy of too many (heavily subsidised) scheduled bus services chasing too few passengers has resulted in near-empty buses and unnecessarily high pollution levels.
Local Authorities have the power to insist on air pollution standards for public transport when putting routes out to tender. Bus companies should be made to meet minimum environmental standards by authorities; but the majority of authorities are not exercising those powers.

Sean Corker added:
“Bus providers have been given significant advantages over regular drivers, including dedicated road space and traffic signal priority — this has increased congestion and emissions for other road users. Bus providers also benefit from large public subsidies — despite this, bus occupancy levels have been in steady decline outside London since 2008.”


Vehicle/timeAverage occupancy
(passengers per km)
NOx per km
NOx per passenger km
PM₁₀ per km
PM₁₀ per passenger km
Diesel Car latest Euro 61.600.430.273.081.93
Petrol Car Euro 51.600.130.082.881.80
Bus Euro 3 (most common type)AM peak 2.304.201.82165.7772.07
Bus latest testedAM peak 2.303.021.3145.5719.81

Sheffield City Council summarised that:
“The scheduled bus service NOx emission factors, given uncertainties in the mean, are broadly similar for the Euro 1-5 generations of vehicles. The results suggest an average Euro 1-4 scheduled bus emits ≈10 times more NOx than a typical diesel car (Euro 0-5). The on-road measurements indicate the NOx emission performance of the newer Euro 5 Double-decker buses is similar to its predecessors. The Euro 5 single-decker Buses generate more NOx than their predecessors. A policy of renewing the Bus fleet with Euro 5 specification vehicles is therefore not expected to lower emissions.”

FOI requests were sent requesting the emissions for an average double-decker bus to authorities at: Cambridge, Tyne and Wear, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Ipswich, Norwich, Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Cardiff, Bristol and Sheffield.
Only Sheffield were able to provide full results; with Transport for London only able to provide results for CO₂ .

Freedom of Information request to 'Transport to Greater Manchester':

Average number of bus passengers per km at peak and off peak periods

PeriodBus passengers per scheduled service kmAverage Bus Occupancy
AM peak07:00-09:592.311.9
PM peak16:00-18:592.412.2
Post PM peak19:00-23:591.78.5

FOI requests were sent to: Middlesbrough, Shefffield, Leeds, Brighton, Suffolk, Hull, Bristol, Cardiff and London. Only Manchester and London were able to supply figures.
Public Transport Emissions Factsheet [pdf]
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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