The correct incentives are required if low emission buses are to become more widespread on local roads.
This is the view of Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), after figures revealed a fall in registrations in the bus and coach market last year.
Annual registrations dropped for the second successive year, with the percentage decline for the final quarter of 2018 and the year as a whole recorded at an identical 5.6%.
For the year, 7,236 new buses and coaches joined UK’s roads; minibus registrations grew by 5%, but for single and double-deckers, the decrease in registrations were recorded at 8.5% and 26.8% respectively.
The fall for the final three months of 2018 signified the eighth successive quarter of decline.
During those three months, the decrease in double-decks was steep, considering the fall was recorded at more than a quarter.
Better news came in the form of an increase in single-deck registrations (14.3%) and minibus (0.9%).
The wider decline has been attributed to budget cuts suffered by local authorities, and the uncertainty associated with Clean Air Zone plans.
All of this has taken its toll on confidence, according to the SMMT’s Chief Executive, who was also quick to point out that business conditions, and incentives have to be in place to encourage fleets to transfer to low emission buses.
He said: “While the recently announced ultra-low emission bus fund is a step in the right direction, wider incentives aligned with the right business conditions are required to encourage fleet renewal and get more of the latest, lowest emission buses and coaches onto local roads.”
The start of the year has seen encouraging progress in the move to low emission buses, with the UK Bus Summit used to announce extra funding to develop more of these for road use.
It shows that the appetite is there for such technology on our roads. But, as the registrations reveal, more work needs to be done.