SMRT introduces new 'green' Euro V bus

Channel NewsAsia 30 Apr 08;

SINGAPORE : SMRT will add the new Euro V bus to its fleet of buses, in a move that marks the transport company's latest initiative to go green.

The new bus, which produces less pollutants, was launched by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Transport Ministry Teo Ser Luck on Wednesday.

The Euro V bus is the first of its kind in the region and will be plying on Singapore's roads from May 14. This model produces 42 percent less nitrous oxide pollutants than its predecessor - the Euro IV.

SMRT said it has bought 66 Euro V buses to replace its old fleet, and the new buses will be rolled out between August and December this year.

The Euro V bus costs about S$300,000 and SMRT expects to reap greater financial rewards by going green.

SMRT's CEO, Saw Phaik Hwa, said: "Going green is not something (we should do)... generations later, (after) something goes wrong... Even when we choose Euro IV for our vehicles and CNG (compressed natural gas) for our taxi drivers, (these will help) save on energy costs.

"So there is a business case for them. We hope that by making these choices, which is good for the environment, it will also be good for them."

That is why SMRT will be buying an additional 130 Euro V buses in the next two years.

The company will also add 300 new environmentally-friendly taxis to its fleet later this year. These include 200 that use compressed natural gas (CNG), and 100 taxis that meet the Euro IV standards.

Also going green is Singapore's other big transport provider, ComfortDelGro, which launched the country's first Euro IV buses in November 2007.

ComfortDelGro said it currently has 148 Euro IV busses and this will go up to 500 by the end of the year. It added that when it placed its orders for the Euro V buses in 2006, they were still not commercially available. But the company will consider bringing in the Euro V buses where appropriate.

ComfortDelGro has also converted 2,600 of its taxis with engines that emit less pollution. - CNA /ls

Greener is better with SMRT's new bus
It's kinder to the environment, the elderly and disabled, and won't hurt your pocket
Maria Almenoar, Straits Times 1 May 08;

PUBLIC transport firm SMRT unveiled a new bus yesterday designed to be kind to the environment and accessible to disabled passengers.

Singapore is the first country in South-east Asia to get the Mercedes-Benz buses, which cost about $300,000 each.

The German-engineered vehicles release fewer greenhouse gases than standard buses and can be lowered to kerb level, making it easier for elderly and wheelchair-bound commuters to board.

The first bus will hit the road from May 14 and another 66 will be rolled out between August and December.

The vehicles exceed the Land Transport Authority's current environmental standards, which require 40 per cent of all buses to be less polluting by 2010. SMRT's new bus beats the guidelines on greenhouse gas emissions by over 40 per cent.

With the new buses, harmful emissions are mostly converted to nitrogen and water vapour.

Asked why SMRT decided to go a step further than required, SMRT chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa said: 'We found that the technology that we wanted was very close to the higher standard. It's cleaner and better.'

Yesterday, SMRT also announced its introduction of 200 new Hyundai Azera taxis which will run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which is cleaner than diesel. Another 100 clean-running taxis will also join SMRT's 3,000-strong fleet by the second half of this year.

Currently, only two of the other five taxi companies, Smart and Prime Taxis, have CNG-powered cabs.

ComfortDelGro, which operates the majority of the bus routes here, said it was considering adding buses like those used by SMRT. It already has 148 buses that meet the LTA's newest environmental standard.

Spokesman Tammy Tan added that the company had 3,500 taxis which have similar emission levels to the CNG-run cabs.

For SMRT, the total investment for all these new vehicles will come up to $500 million, but it has assured the public that the cost will not be passed on to commuters.

SMRT debuts green fleet
Ng Jing Yng, Today Online 1 May 08;

THE push to make public transport the choice mode of travel got a green fillip yesterday as SMRT announced that commuters will soon be riding on the greenest buses in South-east Asia.

And 300 new energy-friendly SMRT taxis will also be plying the roads in the later half of the year — all part of the company's $50-million investment in new vehicles.

The first green Euro V bus will be making its regional debut here on May 14. It is said to reduce harmful emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, by about 42 per cent from the earlier model, the Euro IV, according to European emissions standards.

Currently, the emission levels set by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for other diesel vehicles is based on the Euro IV standard. Plans for the new green bus and taxis were unveiled at the "SMRT Is Green" event yesterday.

These new buses — with 66 more to be added to the fleet from August — will feature disabled-friendly features such as an open area behind the driver for wheelchair-bound passengers.

The buses are also equipped with brushless air-conditioner blowers that generate no carbon dust and are quieter.

As for the new fleet of SMRT's green taxis, 200 will run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The SMRT's remaining 100 Chrysler taxis will meet Euro IV emissions standards.

Speaking at the event's launch, Mr Teo Ser Luck highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability in the transport sector, given that it accounts for 19 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions here.

"We have to ensure that our transport sector is as 'green' as possible, if our city is to remain liveable," said the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

And to ensure that "we have a city in a garden, and not a city in a car park", Mr Teo said there is a need to encourage more Singaporeans to take public transport.

While some commuters Today spoke to welcomed SMRT's efforts to develop an eco-friendly public transport system, they also pointed to the need to improve quality standards to get more people to use public transport.

"Even as we move towards being environmentally-friendly, the comfort of passengers has to be improved as the current frequency of bus trips is unable to meet growing demand," said student Vanessa Lim, 22.