Bristol Community Transport (BCT) has opened a new permanent biomethane gas filling station for its gas-powered bus fleet

The station in Bedminster will be used to fuel buses on the m1 metrobus route, which is operated by BCT under contract to First West of England. The new station represents a £960,000 investment by First West of England, and will also support a fleet of 77 new low emission busses.

The biogas that fuels the buses is provided by the Gas Bus Alliance (GBA) and comes from waste food and is supplied from anaerobic digesters across the UK.

The Gas Station uses two gas compressors and storage that was specifically designed to operate Bristol’s metrobus fleet from Parson Street. This is the sixth station built by the GBA and took nine months to complete. Plans for another bio-methane filling station at First West of England’s depot in Lawrence Hill, Bristol are currently at the planning stage.  

“It’s great to see this new gas bus filling station open, as part of our aim to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. It supports my ambition to improve public transport in the region, giving people more sustainable ways to travel,” said Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor.

“More than 70,000 people now choose to use metrobus every week and a recent passenger survey shows a 19% shift from car to metrobus. We plan to build on that success with more services and better connections as part of our wider objective of getting more people to switch to using public transport across the West of England,” he said.

“At First West of England, we’re taking meaningful steps to clean up the city’s air. That’s why we’re making significant investments to bring a fleet of bio-methane gas buses into Bristol, building on the legacy of the famous ‘poo bus’,” said James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England. “The metrobus m1 route is paving the way and this new filling station means that bio-methane gas buses will now be a permanent feature in the city. With 77 more bio-methane gas buses and another even bigger filling station coming to Bristol soon, Bristol could soon be the country’s Bio-methane gas bus capital!”

Battery electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions so will improve local air quality, but the greenhouse gas emissions for their creation and charging result in the entire process of energy flow, from the mining of the energy source to a vehicle being driven being 19% higher than a biomethane gas bus, which uses a renewable, sustainable fuel. Gas buses also have an equivalent range (250 miles) to diesel buses, which means they can stay on the road for longer.

“Working closely with BCT and First West of England we have completed a very successful project. Our Parson Street Gas Station has the capability of fuelling up to 60 Gas Buses with 100% Biomethane and will ensure the population of Bristol enjoy the benefits of a healthy and sustainable environment,” said Tony Griffiths from the Gas Bus Alliance

“Having pioneered dedicated biogas buses in the UK, we are delighted to be celebrating the opening of this new filling station with BCT, First West of England and the city of Bristol,” said Mark Oliver, UK Bus and Coach Fleet Sales General Manager for Scania (Great Britain) Limited. “In common with other bus operations around the UK, metrobus has proven the use of gas vehicles in daily service, and its new filling station represents the latest milestone in the development of gas as a sustainable and commercially viable fuel for road vehicles.”

Nick Flaherty