Most people love to travel, but travelling is not always eco-friendly. In fact, travellers usually leave a bigger carbon footprint on the planet than people who stay at home. The simple act of travelling means using some form of transportation, but planes, trains, boats, buses and cars that use fossil fuels pollute the planet with carbon dioxide.
Fortunately, most travellers are also people who love the planet, and want to do everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint. These days it is quite easy for travellers to calculate their carbon footprint with the help of apps and websites. Once they have calculated their footprint, many travellers choose to buy carbon offsets. In this way, they are investing in projects such as tree planting or solar farms that directly reduce carbon emissions.
Many governments are also looking for ways to reduce their country’s carbon footprint, which not only helps the planet, but also earns their country a reputation as an eco-friendly destination. In Thailand, a couple of exciting recent developments promise to go straight to the heart of one of the country’s biggest environmental problems—its traffic.
The first development concerns the introduction of a fleet of 101 electric cars, manufactured by BYD company in China, to be used as VIP taxis operating from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Apichat Leenuthapong, managing director of Rizen Energy, which is importing the vehicles, said that maintenance and repair costs of electric vehicles (EVs) would be around 0.90 baht per kilometre, compared to 1.50 baht for a regular car, while fuel costs would be just 0.70 baht per kilometre, compared to 2.50 baht for a regular car.
Taxi fares for these new vehicles are 150 baht for the first two kilometres, and 16 baht for each kilometre thereafter. It is expected that this fleet of taxis will expand to 1000 vehicles in 2019.
The second development is in the form of diesel-electric hybrid buses provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which are currently being tested on selected bus routes in Bangkok that are operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA).
These 12-metre-long, 35-seater buses are equipped with disabled-friendly features such as a foldable ramp and seat fasteners for wheelchair-bound passengers. Apparently, the hybrid bus, which has its own 90-kilowatt generator, can cover 3.5 kilometres on one litre of diesel, which is twice the distance of regular, diesel-fueled buses.
Travellers who use these new methods of transport should see a significant decrease in their carbon footprint while travelling in Thailand.