Scottish bus company charges journeys round the world

Andrew Mouat (Houston's Coaches)

HOUSTON’S Coaches, a family-run bus company based in Dumfries and Galloway, has marked a milestone year in the transition to greener transport, providing sustainable bus journeys to locals across the South of Scotland, with help from renewable energy company ScottishPower.

Following the switch to electric buses last year, the Lockerbie company saw over 271,000 electric vehicle (EV) miles charged up at its depot – the equivalent to travelling around the world more than ten times.

To counteract the lack of electric infrastructure across the rural region, Houston’s Coaches debuted  four brand-new electric buses in February 2023 supported by the installation of two EV charging points. In partnership with ScottishPower, the collaboration has resulted in Houston’s Coaches reducing its CO2 emissions by 37.5 tonnes.

The transition to electric buses came on the back of funding received by Houston’s Coaches through the first £50million phase of the Scottish Zero Emissions Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB). Established by the Scottish Government in 2021, the fund has continued to support the swift transition by bus operators to zero emission vehicles and infrastructure.

With ScottishPower assisting with the funding submission, Houston’s Coaches were one of twelve successful coach operators granted funding, to support the region’s switch to green energy technologies while helping local people to access clean public transport.

Houston’s Coaches is continuing the drive towards a sustainable future by aligning with Dumfries and Galloway Council’s commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2025. The bus company covers routes across the South of Scotland, linking with Carlisle, Moffat and Gatehouse of Fleet plus day trips around the UK.

William Houston, Managing Director at Houston’s Coaches, said: “We’re accelerating our sustainable journey with electric buses already having a positive impact within the first year, allowing our customers to conveniently travel more sustainably. We’re truly proud to be able to say that we’re innovators who are not willing to let a lack of infrastructure stop us from achieving our sustainability goals. The transformation for our fleet in just one year has been great and we hope our work with ScottishPower inspires others to do the same.

“The support we have received from ScottishPower when applying for funding was invaluable, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with them to explore more green tech including solar panels and battery storage.”

Andrew Mouat, Head of Smart Mobility at ScottishPower, said: “Houston’s Coaches has emerged as a leader within their industry through investment in green tech.

“Providing valuable community transport and connectivity services, Houston’s Coaches are helping the customers they serve adopt greener choices as part of their everyday routines. There’s a huge opportunity for other operators to follow suit and bring the benefits of sustainable EVs to their community.”

As the first major UK energy company to generate 100% renewable electricity, ScottishPower is supporting business leaders adopting low-carbon solutions through working with experts including the Carbon Trust. Its green energy guide provides advice on how using green technology can help improve their finances.

Business leaders can access the full guide and find out more about  green energy solutions here:

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