London gets their first zero-emission double-decker bus this year

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London’s public transport network is about to get a lot greener, with Mayor Boris Johnson announcing that the world’s first purpose-built pure electric double-decker bus will hit the city’s streets later this year. The announcement was made at the Clean Bus Summit, where 24 cities around the world committed to putting ultra-low emission buses on the road.

Public transport in the UK’s biggest city has been inching toward a greener future for years now, announcing its first hybrid buses back in 2009. There are now more than 1,300 of those on the streets of the capital, and it’s time for the next big step.

The new all-electric buses were produced in conjunction with BYD, which worked on the tricky problem of fitting enough batteries into the zero emissions vehicles to provide enough power.

There’s no mention of exactly how many all-electric buses are heading for London, but the first is due to arrive in October, which will enter service on route 16 in October, running between Victoria Station and Cricklewood.

It’s not just London that’s revising its public transport infrastructure for the better. The move forms part of a wider effort, with 24 cities around the world planning to put 40,000 ultra-low emission buses on the road by 2020.

I wonder if time’s right for nudging Santa Fe towards EV buses? The city was first in the United States to have NatGas-powered buses.

BYD is making a global push with their buses. More competition coming, no doubt.

German brothel gives Green discount to cycle commuters

The Germans have always been one step ahead of the rest of us when it comes to the environment. They are European champions when it comes to wind power, recycling rates and installing combined heat and power boilers. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is a former environment minister.

So it should come as no surprise to learn that a German businessman has pushed the concept of green rebates to the next logical level: Thomas Goetz, owner of a Berlin brothel called Maison d’Envie, is currently offering a discount to any customer who arrives by bicycle or public transport.

“The recession has hit our industry hard,” Goetz told Reuters. “Obviously we hope that the discount will attract more people. It’s good for business, it’s good for the environment – and it’s good for the girls…”

In the name of research, I had a quick look around the brothel’s website to verify that the offer really does exist, and, yes, there it is in black and white. “The Maison d’Envie offers one major advantage over other establishments: it is perfectly accessible by public transport. Both S-and U-Bahn stations are within walking distance and well-maintained bicycle paths also allow for a more environmentally friendly journey. And because we want to reward your green commitment, we have – and it’s unique in Berlin – an environmental discount.” It’s the sort of statement you might expect to hear from your local council, not an establishment – very much legal in Germany – that offers the services of “nice, motivated models” in a “very pleasant, almost family atmosphere”.

It seems to be working, though, as Goetz says the offer is attracting three to five new customers every day, adding that the incentive has helped to reduce traffic and parking congestion in the local area.

Is this the kind of economic incentive required to get you to act, uh, Greener?