How to travel sustainably within the London Area

How to travel sustainably within the London Area

How to travel sustainably within the London Area

By Isaac Conrad McNamara

Travelling In London can be a completely different for many of us who are living centrally or on the periphery of the urban area. When it comes to sustainability, travelling can be the hardest one for us as citizens to have a stronger impact on owing to the publicization of the London transport system or private ownership by large corporations. However, Transport for London (TfL) has made major strides in alignment with the Mayor of London to make the public transport sector more sustainable through a variety of avenues.

 

Public Transportation – Public Buses

 

Since 2018, £300 million has been invested by the London government to change the UK’s Bus fleet into a full electric transport infrastructure and therefore phasing out the diesel double-decker buses. As of 2021, over 500 buses in the TfL fleet are zero emissions and since 2020 all buses joining the fleet will have to meet or exceed Euro VI emission standards, the same emissions standard as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone(ULEZ). Furthermore, Low Emission Bus Zones are constantly being re-refined to cover the most polluting routes to change them and make them a cleaner route for both those travelling it and those living around it.

 

Public Transportation – The Taxi Network

As part of the government scheme, all taxis licensed after early 2018 are required to meet zero-emission capability to push forward a greener transport mix into the London area. TfL therefore aims for all taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) will be zero emission-capable by 2033. To support the ULEZ and LEZ, the Mayor allocated nearly £53 million in funding to create scrappage schemes that help, smallbusinesses, low-income, disabled Londoners, and charities operating minibuses. These schemes have already helped replace more than 8,000 older, more polluting vehicles. TfL's Taxi Delicensing Scheme, launched in 2017, offering payments of up to £5,000 to retire the oldest taxis from London licensing. The scheme was enhanced in 2019 to offer top level payments of £10,000. Over 80 of the 300 rapid electric charging points installed by the mayor in London are dedicated to supporting the taxi trade.

 

Other Transportation – The London Bike Scheme

Cycle scheme was appointed by the TfL initiative, promoting cycling as an alternative to using public transport or private vehicles. Cycle scheme has 22,000 employers in London having access to the scheme, representing approximately 800,000 employees, and hired 93,299,451 in 10 years (has increased annually) Scheme began with 350 docking stations and 5,000 bicycles and now 781 docking stations with 14,000 bikes The scheme now covers 100sq km (38.6sq miles) of London, making it one of the largest cycles hire schemes in Europe. Furthermore, Pop-up bike lanes. Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for: Cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors. The London government provided the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of the £5 billion in new funding announced for cycling and buses in February 2021.

 

So, what can you do?

Travelling in London can be overwhelming and being sustainable can be a massive factor. Over the last month, Itaken on biking as part of my commuting to see the difference it can make and how easy it can be to do so with the many options in London. From this I compared the use of the ‘Boris Bike’ the Santander Mayor of London and the new Buzz Bike start-up based in the London Area.

 

Biking is a great way to move around London, keeping fit and keeping costs down whilst also being sustainable in your daily lives. For me biking from Camberwell to Covent Garden takes 15-20 minutes and is a 5k bike ride. For a month period this became my commute option to see how this would work for me.

 

Living in South London can be difficult to get access to TfL x Santander bikes owing to their distance from my home. Therefore, I decided to get a Buzz Bike. Buzz Bike is a start-up based in London which provides a rental bike service for a low price each month. You keep your bike at home and can use it whenever and go wherever you like. Buzz Bike covers all other costs including theft and maintenance of the bike so all you do is make sure to lock it up and enjoy. One major reason many people do not get a bike in London is the theft. As Buzz Bike will replace you bike immediately if stolen for no extra cost this make it so much easier to use, keeping your mind at peace.

 

 

Buzz Bike

Santander Bikes

Normal Bike

Price Per Year (PPY)

£191.88

£90 (£2 after 30 mins)

£300 - £5000

Damage Covered?

Y

N

N

Theft Covered?

Y

Y

N

Maintenance Covered?

Y

Y

N

Can leave anywhere?

Y

N

Y

 

When using both bikes, the other main caveat of biking is the ability to leave the bike where you want. With Santander bikes, these need to be returned to a Santander port which is great in Central London as there are many but can still be difficult is they are filled up or not at a convenient distance. On the flip side however, with Santander bikes, you can put these back which means you are not tied down to have to bike back if you decide to go out for drinks after work or don’t feel comfortable biking at night.

 

Buzz Bike also lets you see your CO2 offset from your biking, your calories burnt and overview of your time and distance which can be a great motivator for those who are health or sustainability inclined.

 

Overall, the transport in London is every changing and becoming more sustainable and as active people wanting to be more sustainable, biking is a great way to get involved in your own personal sustainability.

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