Bus and Coach CV Sector News

Reading Buses unveil new gas refuelling station

11 September 2014 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #News

News from Reading Buses: In one of his last public duties as Reading Buses Chief Executive Officer, James Freeman  invited Transport Minister Baroness Kramer to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening of its new £1 million gas compression station.

“The opening today and the Minister’s visit is an amazing moment for me personally,” Freeman told an audience of over 100 guests from the bus industry and representatives of the local community with whom Reading Buses has an affinity.

“When we decided to go gas we took a risk and stepped outside our comfort zone big style.  We wanted to celebrate the opening of our gas station a year ago, but things took a great deal longer than expected. But it’s here now and running superbly.

“We are always trying to be further out front than other people and we have got into gas because we were looking for something that gives us a real edge in the commercial sense.

“In the UK, gas as a fuel is still very much in the shade.  Given the fact that the diesel engine is beginning to become a public enemy, we thought gas as a fuel for buses was a really good way of making sure that buses continue to be part of people’s lives.”

Freeman explained that at first gas had been previously brought in on a tanker every day, but now that the infrastructure is complete gas is brought onto site from the mains running under Great Knollys Street, which is the home of Reading Buses, compressed on site and put into storage tanks from which it is taken through to the fuelling station. He said this now worked ‘very well.’

“Gas buses are most reliable by a wide margin and are cheaper to run. The message is we have an amazing thing here,” Freeman added.

Baroness Kramer, who arrived at Great Knollys Street in a gas bus, said Reading was best known for its three b’s – beer, bulbs and biscuits.  To that could now be added a fourth – buses.  “This is a very big step forward,” she said.

“Reading has been so successful in going green and bus operators want lower running costs which is part of what you are seeing here today.  This investment made in the filling station is a major contribution to the town with a better service to customers and better air quality for the population of Reading as well.

“This will become a template for other bus companies to take on board.  This really is the bus showing off its green credentials and I shall direct people to Reading to see the gas buses.

“The people of Reading will benefit from the fact that today I am announcing investment using the Green Vehicle Technology Fund to help councils adopt cutting edge technology and we are awarding Reading £360,000 which will see more than 100 local taxis running on compressed hybrid fuel.

“This is another achievement driven by the council and community and a cutting edge approach that Reading has to keep down emissions and produce clean air.”

Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Transport and Deputy Leader of Reading Borough Council, said the new gas station was ‘central and critical’ to the lifeblood of the town and fundamental to delivering its transport objectives.

While profit objectives had to be met, they were not as central as the wider remit of delivering an extensive range of services to the town. The gas bus project was a continuation of a line of initiatives from Reading Buses and was ‘critically important’, not only for the potential of cheaper fuel, but delivery of improved air quality which he added was ‘very important.’

The compressed biomethane gas is supplied to Reading Buses by the Gas Vehicle Alliance who produce 9.6 million kilogrammes a year.  During the gas cleaning process, they collect the CO2, inject carbon neutral gas into the national grid and then dispense it into the buses from the new gas station.

Alan Martin, Scania Manager Special Projects, said that since the introduction of 34 gas buses into Reading its gas engine had been further developed to meet Euro-6 standards to improve air quality. Furthermore Scania was investing in the design and development of double deck gas buses, which they hoped to have in the market at the end of 2015.

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