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January 17, 2012

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City pledges 10% of buses to be green by end of 2015

CLEAN energy vehicles will form one tenth of the buses on the streets of Shanghai by the end of 2015, the city transport bureau pledged yesterday.

Currently, the 18,000 buses in service in Shanghai include around 300 electric vehicles.

Electric buses will replace polluting diesel-powered vehicles as part of efforts to reduce air pollution.

Other initiatives to tackle pollution will include tightening the issue of new private car plates, Sun Jianping, director the city transport bureau told Shanghai Daily.

Sun said the local government is now working on incentive packages to advance its campaign to promote the use of clean-energy buses.

However, questions have been raised concerning the cost of electric vehicles and their practicality in busy traffic, as they to require frequent recharging.

But Sun insisted that technical issues had been solved.

"The technology now adopted on local green buses has developed enough to ensure smooth running," Sun said.

And while operational costs for green buses are three times those of diesel buses, Sun said subsidies would be offered.

"The government will work out new subsidy programs to encourage bus companies to replace vehicles," Sun said.

Government cash will also be used to build more battery charging stations along routes, added the official.

High-powered "supercapacitor" buses are currently in service on four Shanghai bus routes, plus one opening this month on local Chongming Island.

The director also said the local government would "tighten up the limit" of private car plates issued through monthly auction in order to curb air pollution, without giving further details.

Neighborhood transit buses, ferrying commuters between their homes and transport hubs, will be another major project this year for the bureau.

Sun said the authorities needed to complete a citywide survey into travel needs and service condition concerning these transit buses.

Based on feedback from residents, neighborhood bus routes will be adjusted or increased to benefit more commuters.


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