The average age of buses in Glasgow is 10 years (cf Lothian buses, municipally owned, at arms’ length, is 4 years). So, not many hydrogen powered buses there, or even mildly green ones. Glasgow is to become a Low Emission Zone at the end of this year and the city government has been criticised by environmental groups for a ‘lack of ambition’. One of the main sources of pollution is diesel powered vehicles, of which buses are a major contributor. (They are not the only contributor and other sources of pollution need to be brought into line soon). It has been known for some time that restrictions on diesel and emissions and a range of other things would be being phased in fairly soon to meet climate change targets. I suspect that the bus companies in Glasgow – all privately owned, receiving a substantial public subsidy, increasing fares pretty steeply and leaving big areas of the city poorly served by public transport – are dragging their heels over investing their own PRIVATE money into the kinds of buses that Aberdeen and Dundee are buying, in the hope of creating a public outcry to force more PUBLIC money to be pushed their way to fund improvements.
The companies also need to deploy a range of buses of different sizes so that they can have frequent shuttle services around residential areas, which connect with mainstream cross city buses or rail stations, with transfers being effected quickly by smart ticketing.
So we need re-regulation of public transport.
It is not just from a pollution reduction perspective that we need investment in the bus fleet. We need greater comfort for passengers. We need the introduction of cross mode ticketing to speed up journeys. These kinds of things are needed if people are to be tempted out of private cars on to public transport. By shifting people out of private cars, we will further reduce polluting emissions.
I would just add that privatisation is really a tax on customers, often resulting in worse service at higher cost as profits land in the pockets of the executives/shareholders. We need to re-nationalise or otherwise bring transport under public ownership/control and create a truly integrated service that reaches all parts, is cheap, convenient, regular and comfortable.
The latest research breakthrough suggests the hydrogen economy may be nearer than we think: https://www.gasworld.com/solar-hydrogen-breakthrough-at-scottish-university-/2014419.article