At ECHO Transportation, we’re firm believers in “going green.” We have only one Earth, after all, so we should strive to keep it in good shape! But while individual efforts are great (and we strongly encourage folks to pitch in whenever they can), it’s critical that businesses and corporations to step up and do their part, as well. We’ve been in the transportation ‘biz long enough to have some experience in this particular department, so here are our five favorite tips for running a cleaner, greener bus and motor coach company:
Regardless of their industry, ALL businesses require paperwork of some kind. Invoices, registers, contracts—you won’t last long unless you can keep accurate records. The good news, though, is that we’re currently living in an era where most records can be kept electronically. Digital files are easy to organize, easy to transfer, and convenient to store. They can also save a veritable forest of trees over time!
Now, it’s difficult for a company to go completely paperless; even if all of the miscellaneous “paperwork” is actually electronic, certain documents still need to have hard backups, and some clients do prefer to have physical copies of invoices for their records. And in those cases, the key is to use recycled paper products whenever possible and, in turn, send the leftovers off for recycling instead of simply throwing them in the trash.
Keeping Vehicles in Tip-Top Shape
Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping a fleet of vehicles “healthy.” Not only will routine upkeep help prevent mechanical issues and extend the life of commercial automobiles, but it will likewise cut back on their environmental impact. Clogged air filters, malfunctioning spark plugs, and bad fuel injectors can all reduce gas mileage, and dirty engines contribute to air pollution.
Whether you’re responsible for a 12-person van or an 80-passenger double-decker bus, it’s absolutely critical to subject your vehicles to rigorous inspections and testing—and not just the ones required by law for safety reasons. Regular emission evaluations and tune-ups will tell you how green a machine is running.
Investing in Alternative Fuel Sources
At this point in time, the majority of vehicles utilized for the transportation industry in America run on petroleum-based gasoline and diesel. However, with the advent of new technologies, this may not always be the case. Electricity, biodiesel, hydrogen, and other alternative sources of fuel have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, and it’s possible that they’ll one day become the norm instead of rarities.
It wouldn’t really be practical for every single bus company in the field to suddenly switch to alternative energy sources overnight; retrofitting older vehicles can be complicated, and many of these newer fuels aren’t quite “ready” to meet the demands of our industry. Still, certain luxury transportation firms (including ECHO) have made a conscious effort to invest in alternative fuel research and development. One day, our fleet may be completely fueled by biodiesel and other renewable energy sources!
Filling Busses and Large Coaches
The average bus or motor coach spits out more pollutants than the average personal car; it’s simply a by-product of their increased size and weight. But because busses and motor coaches can transport substantially more people per vehicle than personal cars can, they’re usually still the “greener” choice overall.
Transportation companies—and, by extension, their customers—can help tip the scales in Mother Nature’s favor by booking the smallest vehicles possible for each group of travelers. The idea of reserving a 56-seat motor coach when there are only 25 people in the party may seem luxurious (everyone gets at least two seats to themselves!), but it’s a bit wasteful, especially when a 29-passenger minibus will suffice. When we use smaller vehicles, our customers save money, we get to save larger carriages for big groups that actually need them, and our carbon footprint is reduced overall. Everybody wins!
Choosing Efficient Driving Routes
How often do you find yourself sitting in traffic, staring at your fuel gauge and grumbling to yourself about how much gas you’re currently wasting? While the thought of pointlessly burning fuel can be a major pain in your wallet, it’s also important to remember that the more time your car spends on the road, the more exhaust it emits. There’s no way to escape traffic completely, of course, but bumper-to-bumper congestion is something a lot of us would love to avoid.
ECHO Drivers are specifically trained to prioritize customer safety and satisfaction, but they’re also instructed in the right routes to take to get from Point A to Point B as smoothly and swiftly as possible, too. Not only does this strategy help guarantee punctuality for our clients, but it has the added effect of reducing the total time our vehicles spend on the road.
It’s worth mentioning that none of the policies we just described require an astronomical amount of effort to implement. Keeping vehicles in good condition, conserving space, and utilizing economical driving routes should all be business as usual for any bus company worth its salt. Going paperless and investing in new technologies is a bit trickier, but it’s not exactly rocket science, either. And these small changes can add up in big ways when it comes to being more eco-friendly.
And isn’t that the bottom line, here? Whether you’re a private citizen or a large company, we can all do our part to give nature a break. And at ECHO Transportation, we’re proud to contribute in any way we can!