A Vancouver Island transportation service pledges to have a zero-emission fleet by 2026.
Pacific Northwest Transportation Services (PNWTS) brought forward a presentation to Victoria council on Nov. 28 advocating for its environmental efforts shortly after the City brought forward more strict requests for environmental action in the cruise ship industry.
PNWTS runs the cruise ship shuttle service between ships and tourism destinations, as well as for dry dock services and conference attendees.
In an October emissions report commissioned by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority it was found that ground transportation accounted for approximately three per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions at Ogden Point.
David Roberts, general manager of PNWTS addressed council, reminding them that the company was the first in North America to trial two double-decker electric buses that had so far proven to be routinely unreliable, at least until one was repaired in October.
“Now our goal is to have five zero-emission shuttle busses by 2023,” Roberts said. “We plan to have the rest of the fleet done by 2026.”
Roberts said that to make this happen it wants to create hydrogen fuel cell buses by using organic waste from the cruise ships, converting it to methane gas and extracting hydrogen out of the methane gas to create fuel for the buses. Currently a company hired by PNWTS is working on figuring out the mechanisms behind this process.
“This is truly an ambitious plan, however there is much work to do and only by working together can we achieve our mutual goals,” Roberts said. “Needless to say when I heard council’s report regarding cruise ships… it was recognized with some shock and fear.
“We’ve been working with crews to make things better and our plan was to keep moving the needle forward has fast as humanly possible until we achieved our goal of zero emissions. If the cruise industry is not welcome in Victoria, we can no longer continue down the path that we are headed.”
He added that 100 employees are at risk at his company alone.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told Black Press Media that she was impressed with the idea, and that jobs were not at risk.
“The private sector is bright and innovative,” she said. “The industry is responding; it’s about creating jobs in a more sustainable way.”