Introducing Bluestar Breathe

4 years ago Fri 24th Jan 2020

Bluestar Breathe Bus at Old Walls, Southampton

Following a successful trial, we are proud to reveal that we are to expand our fleet of air filter buses in Southampton, branded as 'Bluestar Breathe', while our parent company, Go-Ahead, announces a roll out of the buses across the UK.

FIVE more buses in Southampton will be converted to carry the air filters, which are fitted to the roof, while buses at our sister companies in Brighton, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Plymouth and Crawley will also be fitted with the device, which sucks pollutant particles into special filters in a battle to tackle pollution and air quality.

Each air filtering system is made up of three fans on the roof that suck ultra-fine particles and dirt (known as PM10) into special filters.

The roll-out follows a successful launch in Southampton last year where initial tests showed that a single bus could remove as much as 65g of pollutants from the air – equivalent to the weight of a tennis ball – in a 100-day period (and cleaned 3.2 million cubic meters of city air).

It comes amid growing concern about the rising levels of pollution and demands for local authorities to do to more to clean up the air we breathe.

Doctors last month (December) warned of a public health crisis due to hospitals and GP surgeries being swamped with cases of asthma and bronchitis

Go-Ahead is also today confirming that - in addition to rolling the Air Filtering Bus into six more regions - it plans to introduce five more of the vehicles into Southampton this month, covering an entire city centre route.

David Brown, Go-Ahead chief executive, said: “We want to play our part in tackling the crisis in urban air quality and show that buses can be integral to cleaning up our cities.

“Our air-filtering system has exceeded all expectations in how it can benefit the environment, and it builds on our track-record as operator of the UK’s greenest bus fleet.

“We believe the Air Filtering Bus provides a ‘quick win’ for councils as they explore initiatives such as Clean Air Zones to tackle toxic pollution.”

Health problems associated with outdoor air pollution are linked to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide, according to the WHO.

In the UK, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that particulate air pollution reduces the life expectancy of residents by six months on average.

And recent research suggested that living in an area with high pollution worsens your memory to the same extent as ageing ten years.

Professors at the University of Warwick looked at levels of the PM10 pollutant, which comes from exhaust fumes, degrading tyres, vehicle exhausts and domestic wood burners.

The Air Filtering Buses are designed to clean the air as they drive through a city, removing up to 99.5% per cent of particulate matter which travels through it.

It was initially deployed on one of the low-emission Euro VI buses run by Go-Ahead subsidiary Bluestar in Southampton.

Earlier last year, 17 other Bluestar buses were also equipped with solar panels.

In another first in passenger transport, the solar panels, produced by Trailar, reduce fuel consumption, lower emissions and reduce maintenance costs by producing a trickle-down of electricity to the engine from the renewable energy source attached to the roof.