Earth Day - small changes can make a big impact

5 months ago Thu 22nd Apr 2021

Leave your car at home twice a month for the good of the planet, urges Go-Ahead

  • Switching one in 25 car journeys to public transport would save the UK two million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) are part of the Government’s Green Ten Point Plan
  • Earth Day (22 April) encourages individuals to think how they can help to Restore Our Earth

The Go-Ahead Group is urging motorists to consider a minor change in their travel habits to make a major difference to the planet this Earth Day.

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, Go-Ahead is asking car commuters to consider leaving their vehicles at home just twice a month for the rest of the year and switch their journey to bus, rail or bicycle.

Motorists typically make around 600 car journeys annually. Switching just one in every 25 of these journeys to a bus – equivalent to a couple of trips a month – would reduce the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by two million tonnes per year.

This is in line with the UK government target for a reduction in 68% greenhouse gases by the end of the decade, and the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation of shifting from private cars to buses.

Saving two million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to the environmental gain that would be made by switching every single one of the UK’s buses from diesel to zero emission energy sources, such as electricity or hydrogen.

Katy Taylor, Go-Ahead’s Chief Strategy and Customer Officer, said:

"Earth Day encourages us to think how we, as individuals, can reduce our impact on the world. Taking public transport is not only the environmental option; it is the best one for our own health and that of our communities. If everyone switched to the bus a couple of times a month, we could collectively rebuild our communities and enjoy the quieter streets from last April while avoiding a car-based recovery from the pandemic."

Private cars account for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions from transport. Buses account for just 3% of emissions, and one double-decker bus has the potential to take as many as 75 cars off the road.

In addition to being a benefit to the environment, public transport offers health advantages – people who commute typically get 25 minutes’ exercise a day by walking at either end of their journeys.

Environmental initiatives within Go-Ahead Group include:

  • A ‘Bluestar promise’ at Go-Ahead’s bus company in Southampton, which encourages commuters to switch to the bus once a week
  • Operation of the industry’s largest UK-wide fleet of electric buses with vehicles in London, Salisbury, Norwich and Newcastle
  • Two all-electric bus garages in London, including Europe’s first zero-emission garage at Waterloo
  • A 22% absolute reduction in carbon emissions across the group since 2016 – including both UK and overseas operations

Buses and trains are clean and safe, Covid-19 secure and customers are welcome on board.