Starting at Aylesbury depot Mid May 2010
Courtesy of Arriva PLC
Eco-friendly driving gets green light to save fuel on Arriva buses
Arriva has given the green light to fuel-saving technology which, together with changes in driving technique, will help cut exhaust emissions from its UK bus fleet.
The company confirmed that all new buses delivered in 2009 will be fitted with EcoManager, a system developed by Arriva over the past two years together with technology supplier 21st Century, a subsidiary of TG21 plc. A further 1,800 buses are having the equipment retrofitted this year.
Driver training and adoption of eco-driving techniques are central to delivering the improvements in fuel consumption that the technology supports.
Arriva has developed a training programme in tandem with trials and development of the system which began at Arriva’s bus depot in Runcorn, Cheshire, in 2007. Training for new drivers includes advice on eco-driving techniques, avoiding harsh acceleration or braking whenever possible and improved anticipation of changes in road or traffic conditions to ensure optimum fuel efficiency.
A dashboard-mounted LED display runs from green through amber to red depending on the level of fuel consumption. With improved awareness drivers can maximise the amount of time their bus runs in the green and save fuel.
Training begins with a video presentation and a coaching session for drivers to become familiar with the system. Drivers get a monthly printout showing their performance compared to both the depot average and the best performing driver. Individual follow-up training is available to support those who need it.
During 2008 the trial in north west England was widened to 500 buses, and results indicated an overall fuel saving of up to12 per cent. Based on this experience, and an assumption of fuel economy improvements of five to 10 per cent in normal operating conditions, Arriva has committed to roll-out the system and training more widely across its UK regional bus operations.
For fleet management, the system’s ‘black box’ produces detailed reports enabling comparison between different vehicles on the same route, different driving styles in the same vehicle and a particular vehicle type’s performance on different routes.
Passenger research also points to improved customer satisfaction as a result of smoother acceleration and braking.
Arriva UK Bus managing director Mike Cooper said: “It’s vitally important to conserve fuel as much as possible so we can deliver value-for-money local services and for the environmental benefits it brings.
“The key to the success of this programme is our people taking on a new way of thinking, and driving. The technology alone can’t make the difference that the people can, so it’s great to see our drivers have taken to the challenge and are easing off the gas.
“Giving the green light to the EcoManager roll-out should see the system installed in more than 40 per cent of our regional fleet by the end of the year – with each of those buses reducing its emissions by up to 10 per cent.”
Peter Ward, Chairman of TG21 plc, 21st Century’s parent company said: "We are extremely proud of what 21st Century and Arriva have achieved with the EcoManager product to date and are looking forward to building on this successful partnership through a wider roll-out."
In 2008 Arriva set itself a challenge of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions footprint by 15 per cent, like-for-like, from the 2006 level by 2012.