Dubai: Expanding the green profile of Dubai’s public transport, 10 bio-diesel powered buses have joined the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) fleet.

RTA had launched the first green bus in July 2012 as a pilot project and after a successful trial has now expanded the fleet.

The buses, powered by a mixture of used cooking oil and diesel, have helped reduce fuel costs by 7 per cent, while a 34 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions has been registered.

“The buses have already joined the fleet and they are doing a great job. Following a successful pilot project we are focusing more on improving efficiency in terms of fuel cost and reducing emissions and we are on the right track,” said Omar Bin Haider, director of maintenance at RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

In the next couple of years, the green bus fleet will further expand as 60 more buses will be added in different phases.

Apart from using biofuel, the bus uses different eco-friendly technologies.

“The green bus is an eco-friendly package that has various ingredients working towards reducing Dubai’s ecological footprint. It’s not just about fuel but it is combination of several items like solar power, using retreaded tyres and using material inside the bus that are not harmful to nature,” added Bin Haider.

As part of RTA’s green drive, several other moves like adjusting the air-conditioner temperatures on buses and having an automatic engine shut off has helped reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 8 to 10 per cent.

“The air conditioners on buses used to run at 18 Celsius on most buses, we have increased the temperature to 24 Celsius on 300 buses. We have received positive feedback from customers as the temperature inside is now more comfortable while at the same time helps save fuel and reduces emissions,” he informed.

The project is now being expanded to more buses, gradually covering 1,500 buses in the fleet.

Another key eco-friendly measure is the auto engine shut off which has helped save fuel by 5 per cent.

“Most buses spend 15 to 20 minutes at major bus stations, which means a lot of idle time adding to fuel cost. The initiative will result in engines shutting off after five minutes of idle time. We have already tried this with 10 buses and it has worked well and 20 more buses will be covered in the next phase, and gradually it will cover the entire fleet,” said Bin Haider.

The initiatives have helped reduce public transport’s annual budget by 11 per cent, while increasing the revenue by 17 per cent.