Green Bus Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: A total of 118 biodiesel-powered green buses will be in operation in Dubai by the end of this year as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) expands its green fleet in phases, Gulf News can reveal.

RTA launched the first green bus in 2012 as a pilot project and, following the success of the project, has planned to expand its fleet in phases.

“We are currently in the process of converting 118 buses of our fleet, all manufactured by Mercedes. The buses will be powered by biodiesel and all their internal lighting will be powered by solar energy. We are also using retreaded tyres on all the buses as the material used for seats and flooring inside the bus will be eco-friendly. The buses will also have LED light solutions,” said Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency, which operates the buses in Dubai.

The move is part of RTA’s efforts to enhance its green credentials as well as improve its operational efficiency.

He said that the biodiesel buses, powered by a mixture of cooking oil and diesel, emit 33 per cent less CO2 compared to the conventional fuel buses.

“Though all our buses can be considered green buses because they are equipped with Euro IV engines and are powered by special diesel with low sulphur content, we are intent on doing better. That is why we are launching these buses that will further reduce CO2 emissions and cut down on fuel costs by 11 per cent,” added Al Ali.

Apart from using biofuel, the bus uses different eco-friendly technologies such as solar power for lighting, recycled tyres and organic interiors.

He said RTA is looking at various green options for implementation in the transportation sector over the next few years.

“We are looking at electric as well as CNG-powered vehicles as some of the options but it is not always practically possible to have these solutions immediately implemented due to the infrastructure we have here. We are facing a similar problem with bio-diesel because it is not readily available. This is an obstacle in our green drive but we are determined to overcome all obstacles,” he said.

He added that the lack of buses available from manufacturers with biodiesel or CNG specifications is also an obstacle.

“It’s not easy to get buses with CNG or biodiesel engines from the manufacturers so we have to convert the engines which is another obstacle, but we have identified the buses that we can convert now and we will add more in phases,” Al Ali said.

RTA’s aim is to have an entire fleet of green buses before Expo 2020.