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Sustainable travel

Why bus is the solution to air pollution

Sustainable travel

Hopping on a bus is an easy way of helping Coventry achieve its ambitious plans to tackle climate change, through simply making cleaner and greener transport choices.


If more of us catch the bus this means fewer cars on the roads, which in turn makes our services more efficient due to reductions in congestion. This also crucially, makes roads safer and the air cleaner for everyone to breathe. A vast majority of cars are used for single person, short distance journeys.


A survey carried out by Transport for West Midlands showed that three key things people wanted as a legacy of the pandemic were cleaner air, quieter roads and a better work-life balance. We really believe that bus travel can help with this. Lots of small individual actions cumulatively have shown how we can completely turn the trajectory for air quality. Birmingham is going a step further with the introduction of its Clean Air Zone launched June 2021.

Coventry to become UK’s first £50m all electric bus city

We are proud to be part of pollution-busting plans for Coventry to become the UK’s first all-electric bus city. Under the ground-breaking project, every bus in Coventry (ours & other operators) will be electric powered by 2025, leading to improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower running costs. Read more about it in our news story.

Are some buses greener than others?

Of course, and we are proud to be leading the way on sustainable public transport across our entire bus fleet.   

  • In July 2020 we launched our first electric vehicle bus fleet out in Birmingham, and a second route launched here for Coventry during September 2020. These buses produce zero carbon emissions at the tailpipe and are powered by renewable energy (backed by REGO certificates) while coming with all the top-spec kit like USB chargers.
  • We’re working closely with Transport for West Midlands and Coventry City Council on an exciting project that will see Coventry become one of England’s first all-electric bus cities:
  • If you see one of our older registration buses this doesn’t mean it is a gas guzzler. We have retrofitted hundreds of our older buses with new exhaust systems. So National Express West Midlands' entire 1600 fleet is currently 100% EuroVI or zero-emission. 
  • National Express West Midlands will begin trialling hydrogen buses in 2021 through a partnership with Birmingham City Council.

Our plan is to learn which routes lend themselves to hydrogen or electric buses and what the most efficient mix of vehicles in our fleet should be going forward. This will be dependent on a number of factors including the length of routes, types of journeys people are making and number of people on board.

Don’t buses cause pollution too?

On a per passenger kilometre basis, a full modern bus performs better on emissions than the average private car and also uses road space much more efficiently. Diesel cars are the biggest contributors to NOx pollution from road transport, together accounting for 71% of emissions, compared with just 6% for buses and coaches.

What are National Express doing?

In February 2020 we outlined a vision to become the UK’s most sustainable bus company, with our fleet becoming fully zero emission from 2030. We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders. 

As part of our zero emission vision our parent company National Express Group has promised:

  • Not to buy another diesel bus for our UK operations
  • To lead the transition to zero emission coaches
  • An ambition that our UK bus and UK coach fleets will be fully zero emission from 2030 and 2035 respectively
  • Environmental targets to make up 25% of senior executive Long Term Incentive Plans.
  • This new vision follows our sustained investment in Euro VI vehicles, supporting Coventry City Council’s action plan to tackle poor air quality in the city, as well as being way ahead of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone requirements.
  • National Express Group has also been one of the first transport companies to adopt the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s methodology for setting its carbon reduction targets.

We’ve also signed up to the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge and are doing our bit to make the West Midlands net zero by 2041.


Are corporate discounts available?

If your business does not yet have exclusive staff discounts with National Express West Midlands, you may be eligible to sign up to a workplace partnership to help your team save money and make a more sustainable commute!

Clean Air Day

Clean Air Day is an initiative by Global Action Plan, bringing together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector with the aim of:

  • Improving public understanding about air pollution  
  • Build awareness of how air pollution affects our health 
  • Explain the easy actions we can all do to tackle air pollution, helping to protect the environment and our health

What other policies do National Express West Midlands have to help the environment?

Our Environmental policy can be found here.

Sustainable travel facts: here’s some things to really make you think…

  • If everyone switched just one car journey a month to a bus or coach instead, that would mean up to a billion fewer car journeys, saving two million tonnes of CO2!
  • Our beautiful British-built electric buses are powered by renewable energy - so they’re totally zero-emission.
  • Even a five-mile journey on a normal diesel bus means you emit half the carbon as you would if you went by car. So getting the bus is the simplest and cheapest thing you can do to fight climate change.
Electric Buses

Discover our electric buses and the benefits from travelling on them.

Find out more
Electric Vehicle City Announcement

Discover how we're helping Coventry become more sustainable.

Find out more
Birminghams Clean Air Zone

Helping to create a future without air pollution

Find out more

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