New polling shows Australian’s want locally made electric buses. (Photo Credit: Michael Mazengarb).
Australians are highly positive about the idea of taking a locally made electric bus as part of their daily commute, with new research showing a vast majority backing the electricification of public transport.
A new research report published by The Australia Institute, titled Next Stop: Zero Emissions Buses by 2030, details the findings of polling that shows growing support amongst the Australian public for adopting ambitious electric transport policies – particularly in Victoria.
The polling shows 71 per cent of Victorians support the state government adopting a goal of 100 per cent zero emissions bus fleets by 2030 – matching a similar policy commitment that has already been adopted by New South Wales – with just 17 per cent of respondents opposed to such a target.
“Our research and polling show strong community support for Victoria matching the NSW policy of switching to 100 per cent electric buses by 2030,” Australia Institute researcher Audrey Quicke said.
“Progress towards electrification is mixed across the country, with states like NSW running ahead of time and Victoria close behind. Other states and the Federal Government have missed the bus completely.”
“The full electrification of bus fleets is a widely popular policy option amongst Australians. The Climate of the Nation 2021 report shows that three in four Australians support fully electrifying state bus fleets by 2030,” Quicke added.
The polling shows the same proportion of Victorian respondents supporting the Australian manufacture of buses – at 71 per cent support – which included majority support amongst Australians irrespective of their political affiliation.
Coalition voters were more likely to support Australian manufactured buses at 78 per cent, with a majority of One Nation voters (54 per cent) supporting local bus making even if it leads to an increase in transport costs.
A majority of those polled also supported shifting transport from private cars onto public transport networks, although conservative voters were less likely to give up using their own cars.
The transport sector ranks as Australia’s third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, with Australians currently highly dependent on private vehicles for their commute – most of which are petrol fuelled.
The emergence of a growing range of electric vehicles – including electric buses – has created a singificant oppotunity to slash Australia’s emissions footprint, as they can be powered by zero emissions energy sources like wind and solar.
“Shifting from private passenger vehicle use to zero emissions public transport will help curb Australia’s rising transport emissions,” the research paper says.
“When considering other factors, such as population growth – particularly in urban areas – and the significant non-CO2 pollutant emissions associated with traditional diesel buses, it is clear that electrification of buses should be a central pillar of any transport decarbonisation strategy.”
Quicke, who co-authored the report, said that transitioning bus fleets to electric models provided a positive opportunity to cut transport emissions, as well as fostering the emergence of new manufacturing industries in Australia.
“State and territory governments are leading Australia’s electric bus transition. If the Federal Government was serious about decarbonising the transportation sector, it would increase financial support for electric bus procurement,” Quicke said.
“Switching to electric buses ticks all the boxes – job creation, manufacturing, public transport, and of course, climate action,”