Rural bus taskforce to address zero emission challenges

Jeff Counsell RZEBT

Rural Zero Emission Buses Taskforce

A new taskforce to help rural bus services transition to zero-emission technologies has been set up by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).

Aimed at helping smaller, rural bus operators decarbonise their services over the next few years,  the Rural Zero Emission Buses Taskforce (RZEBT) will examine the challenges by bringing together bus companies, local transport authorities, the Department for Transport and energy and infrastructure providers.

Despite investment over the last eight years of more than £2bn in Euro VI and green bus technology and the Government’s ZEBRA scheme, which has leveraged an additional £233m from the private sector, many challenges have yet to be addressed. These include the current range of electric batteries available and a lack of refuelling and charging points on roads and in depots, which the CPT says poses a significant challenge to operators in running longer distance zero emission vehicles across rural communities.

Chair of the Rural Zero Emission Buses Taskforce and former MD of Trentbarton and Kinchbus, Jeff Counsell said: “I am delighted to be chairing this new, forward looking taskforce, established to help our rural bus services overcome the challenges to transitioning to zero emission vehicles. The road to zero presents many obstacles for all bus operators, however due to the extended range and topography of routes, our rural services face even greater challenges.

“I look forward to working with stakeholders from across the bus, infrastructure and energy sectors to name a few, to develop a strategy that will ensure our rural services can transition sustainably to zero emission technologies and continue to provide the valuable service for passengers in more remote areas.”

CPT’s Policy Manager Becki Kite added: “Long distance rural bus services are vital for connecting passengers in more remote areas to work, leisure, education, and medical appointments. To help deliver a sustainable, fully funded, and long-term roadmap for operators in rural areas, CPT has set up a Rural Zero Bus Emission Taskforce with industry stakeholders and government to create a springboard of positive action. We are encouraging all interested stakeholders from operators, local transport authorities, DfT, energy and infrastructure providers who want to drive forward a better approach to rural bus service decarbonisation to sign up to the Taskforce.”

Using an evidence-based approach, the taskforce will identify potential solutions to help operators overcome the issues and the CPT is now inviting expert stakeholders to support its work. For more information, please contact

Commenting on the launch of the RZEBT, John Dwight, Imperial Engineering’s Sales Director, said:

“Rural bus services are often a lifeline for local communities so this new taskforce comes at a very important point in the transition to zero emission transport. As a major distributor of OE parts to bus and coach customers nationwide, Imperial Engineering continues to work with operators and parts manufacturers as the industry transitions steadily towards a zero emission network.”