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Metroline rides on tech for its fleet of green buses

IN the face of intense competition and an evolving transportation landscape, ComfortDelGro's London subsidiary, Metroline, is putting technology at the heart of its business. Jaspal Singh, chief executive of Metroline, says vehicle technology is a key priority - including efforts to reduce emissions and make use of green energy. "This requires a willingness to invest... and requires us to evaluate the most cost-effective technology to take forward, the best partners to work with and how to structure our business so that we are in the vanguard of these initiatives," he notes.

Metroline, which is London's second largest bus operator, runs a fleet of 1,700 buses plying routes mainly in North, West, Central London and Hertfordshire. It operates over 18 per cent of London's scheduled bus mileage and carries more than one million people each day.

The company was tasked by Transport for London (TfL) in 2016 to trial the world's first zero-emission, all-electric double decker bus in London. This environmentally-friendly new bus can stay in service all day without needing to recharge.

The company was also the first to offer hybrid double-deck vehicles in all its tender bids. By the end of this year, Metroline will have close to 700 hybrid double deckers, making up more than 40 per cent of its total fleet.

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In addition to its efforts to embrace green technologies, Metroline is also evolving in other ways. "Londoners are embracing new ways to travel, and demand-responsive travel is coming into vogue," says Mr Singh, who was appointed to his role in 2004 after 27 years in the Singapore civil service. These shifting demands are challenging traditional modes of transport, including buses. "We are exploring how we can enter a space that supplies efficient demand-responsive options that sit alongside buses and taxis."