Save the Planet: Get the Bus

Do you think you are being green by taking the train?  Think Again.  Ok the train does release markedly less CO2 per passenger per 100 km than the plane, but the real eco wagon is the bus.  Here is a small graph to show the differences (KG CO2 per passenger/ per 100km).  Trains are not as green as coaches because they are heavy.  It would actually be more beneficial if the trains concentrated on freight and the buses concentrated on the passengers.

CO2 per Passenger

There is probably only one country that has realised the full potential of long-distance coach travel and that is Turkey.  Almost every town has its own Otogar (Bus Terminal) which connects it to much of the rest of Turkey.  When I was travelling, that is how I got around.  It is cheap, luxurious and comfortable.  There was discomfort sometimes, but that was due to the state of Turkish roads.  This type of transport could provide an answer to countries that cannot afford or do not have the infrastructure for trains.  All that is needed is some Otogars and bingo Green travel has arrived.

Buses are of course not as quick as trains and therefore high-speed rail is more attractive.  The investment in high-speed rail by Europe, Japan and now increasingly China has been staggering.  It would take the USA possibly decades to catch up.  It also takes a shift in perceptions that trains are slow.  If the high speed train is finding it hard to change perceptions then I think a 12 hour bus journey from New York to Chicago is not going to be the answer.  However the cost of air travel is set to rise and it is also more and more likely that it will be restricted by any future climate change agreements.  In Europe air travel will join the carbon market by 2012.  Therefore the USA should really consider whether it wants to wait for the next bus to come along.

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4 Responses to “Save the Planet: Get the Bus”

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