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First's 'DriveGreen' saves 30,000 tonnes of C02
Tuesday 8 March 2011
FIRST UK BUS today revealed that its groundbreaking innovative ‘DriveGreen’ programme, which aims to reduce bus carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and improve the quality of bus journeys, has saved 30,000 tonnes of CO2 since its implementation in 2009. That is the equivalent of removing around 10,000 cars from Britain’s roads (source Defra*).
The UK’s largest bus operator also announced that using the revolutionary new equipment, which is fitted on every one of its 8,500 fleet, has improved fuel efficiency by 4.9% across the business. First will implement improvements to the DriveGreen programme later in the year, which is expected to yield even further savings.
In addition the DriveGreen programme seems to have proved a real hit with customers, with complaints across First’s bus operating companies at an all time low.
DriveGreen uses the latest technology to detect dozens of driving movements per minute and immediately reports back to the driver how well they are driving.
The equipment picks up on acceleration and braking patterns as well as corner, lane and speed handling. A ‘traffic light’ LED monitor on bus dashboards shows a solid green light if the driver is driving correctly, or flashes amber or red if a bus driver carries out an unnecessary driving manoeuvre such as heavy braking or acceleration.
The driver can then make immediate changes to their driving to ensure buses travel efficiently to use less fuel and therefore produce fewer CO2 emissions. The buses also travel more smoothly, improving the passenger journey experience.
“DriveGreen has been an unqualified success since its implementation,” said Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First UK Bus. “Our drivers, managers and the trade unions have really embraced the pride and achievement that can be gained by good driver behaviour. With their commitment and support DriveGreen has improved the quality of journeys for our customers and made significant improvements to First’s carbon footprint.”
First will implement improvements to its DriveGreen programme throughout 2011 delivering further reductions in CO2 emissions. The 2011 programme will focus on eco driving and in particular the amount of time buses spend idling.
Mr Fearnley added: “A 4.9% fuel consumption reduction and a 30,000 tonne reduction in CO2 is a fantastic start. But we need to do more. We’ve identified further ways of making DriveGreen even more effective – I’m confident that we can make real improvements to those savings and continue to provide customers with smoother journeys.”
DriveGreen was rolled out across all First’s operating companies from August 2009, the first major bus operator to do so, following a successful trial earlier that year. By February 2010, every one of First’s 8,500 buses were fitted with the equipment and all 20,000 drivers trained.
At the outset, First provided a £2million reward pot to recognise those drivers that achieve and maintain the highest standards of driving. The DriveGreen driver reward scheme remains at the heart of the scheme.
The technology behind the programme is powered by GreenRoad, a US based company that originally was based in Israel and used the technology to help train young Israeli car drivers to drive more safely after requests by parents.
DriveGreen is one of a number of initiatives that feature in First’s Climate Change Strategy which aims to reduce emissions by 25% (from 2007 levels) by 2020. Other initiatives include: the trials of hydrogen buses in London; the roll out of hybrid buses in London, Manchester, West Yorkshire and Bristol; the trial of a lightweight single deck bus in Bradford which it is hoped will be 20% more fuel efficient than other vehicles. First is also part of ‘Greener Journeys’ a bus and coach industry initiative aimed at reducing CO2 emissions.
For further information, please contact Niall Dowds, FirstGroup PR Manager, on 07860 936671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*The figures are drawn from a 2008 Defra Report: