COVID-19 urban transport response


The urban transport sector is at the heart of the current COVID-19 pandemic – as a vital service for health and other key workers, who have to get to their workplaces. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a coordinated, science-based response from all levels of government to maximise the best possible public health outcome with the least economically damaging impact for all. While every country is challenged with its own specific problems, there are some common challenges for the continent, when it comes to urban transport.

100% electrification of bus transport in Shenzhen


As part of its electric mobility policy, India has set a target of achieving 30% electric vehicle market penetration by 2030. To achieve this ambitious target, India recently launched the Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Electric Vehicles (FAME) II Scheme under the National Electric Mobility Plan with the specific objective of generating demand and creating the initial market for all electric vehicles (EV) segments, with an outlay of more than $1 billion. 86 per cent of this fund will be utilised to offer fiscal incentives on the capital costs of all EV types. With a strong emphasis on the public transportation sector, the scheme has a target of 7000 e-Buses, 500,000 e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars (including Strong Hybrid) and 10 00,000 e-2 Wheelers between 2019 and 2022. The government will also invest in setting up charging infrastructure, with the active participation of public sector units and private players.

Dual tendering strategy for electric buses in Bogotá


Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia, has become a leader in the adoption of electric buses. The electrification of its bus fleet is part of a multi-phase integrated public transport programme. In the latest phase, 379 electric buses being deployed in the city. The programme contemplates a dual tendering process that separates the provision of the buses from their operation, reducing the technological and financial risks. To address high upfront costs, Bogotá partnered with international organisations to offer innovative financial solutions such as: soft loans to bus operators / concessionaires through a credit line and co-funding by the National Bank of Colombia, monetisation of the bus exterior through advertisement, and leasing of the battery component (50% of the total cost) independently from the bus costs. In its first year, this fleet will mitigate out 21,900 tonnes of CO2 and 526 kilograms of PM 2.5 pollutant particles.

Funding electric buses


Germany has implemented a funding scheme to encourage the uptake of electric buses by public and private bus operators. The scheme offers a subsidy of up to 80% of the additional costs when bus operators buy five or more electric buses instead of a diesel bus. The scheme primarily targets the nine cities of Germany with the highest levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx). It also provides funding to develop charging infrastructure and new service centres for buses. The scheme mandates the use of renewable energy to charge the electric buses. The transition is likely to lead to carbon emission reductions of more than 45,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. It is also expected to reduce NOx levels by around 17 tonnes per year.

Cross-subsidy for the purchase of electric buses


The Government of Uruguay has shown strong commitment to reducing the consumption of fossil fuels within the transport sector by shifting state subsidies from fossil fuel transport systems to e-mobility. The upfront cost for the replacement of diesel buses by electric buses has been slowing down the e-mobility transition: while conventional buses cost approximately $100,000 to $150,000 per unit, an electric bus costs about $ 400,000. To encourage public transport companies to replace their fleets, the state introduced a subsidy in 2018 for the purchase of electric buses amounting to approximately $350,000 per unit. For each new electric bus purchased, the state ceases to provide resources to the companies through the diesel trust (which subsidizes the public transport ticket in relation to diesel consumption), as a consequence of a diesel bus being removed from the system. Therefore, the subsidy does not constitute a new expense for the state. It has proven to be a very efficient incentive to replace the conventional bus fleets throughout the country.