Fantastic Aussie Bus Tours
As one of the longest established tourist vehicle operators in NSW, Fantastic Aussie Tours (FAT) has been leading holiday group tours around Australia since 1974. FAT operates charter coaches servicing the Sydney, Blue Mountains regions and beyond as well as the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus service.
The first Blue Mountains Explorer Bus pulled out of Katoomba station in April 1986 carrying just one passenger. Today, the fleet of four red double-decker hop-on/hop-off buses runs 15 times a day, 365 days of the year giving easy access to the most important sights of the Blue Mountains.
The business case for carbon neutral certification
FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus is fortunate to be operating within the spectacular World Heritage listed Blue Mountains wilderness.
The company wanted to take the lead by showing we can all work towards reducing our impact on the environment to keep it as pristine as possible for many generations to come. As part of the transport industry, FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus recognises that the carbon footprint of the business cannot be reduced to zero. However, by actively finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint and offsetting what cannot be reduced, the company is contributing to a better future for our natural world.
FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus are committed to continually implementing new measures to reduce emissions in the future, in conjunction with their pledge to the United Nation’s Climate Neutral Now program and the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute’s Low Carbon Living project.
Achieving carbon neutral certification
As Australia’s first certified carbon neutral tourism operator, certification includes all bus and coach charter services operated by FAT as well as the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus daily tourist service around the Blue Mountains. To achieve certification, Fantastic Aussie Tours and Blue Mountains Explorer Bus calculated its fuel emissions, on-site energy usage such as water and electricity, consumables, marketing materials, waste, fleet maintenance, staff commute and the lifecycle emissions of each bus in its fleet from manufacture to disposal.
FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus has implemented a strategy to reduce its carbon footprint in the future. This includes switching to carbon neutral products and services, reducing waste, improving recycling rates, and investigating the use of solar power.
FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus support a range of Australian and international carbon offset projects that align with their corporate values.
The company is proud to support the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity project. This multi-species reforestation project has revegetated over 10,000 hectares of degraded farmland increasing wildlife habitat and improving soil erosion control which has provided opportunities for not only research and education, but also eco-tourism.
To offset the lifecycle emissions of each vehicle in our fleet, the company also supports the Bus Rapid Transport system in Zhengzhou, China, a city well known for its vehicle related pollution issues. The project reduces emissions by 40-60 per cent and features the largest fleet of hybrid and electric buses worldwide. FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus are proud to support projects that show the viability of innovative technologies such as hybrid and electric vehicles within the transport industry.
Benefits and outcomes of carbon neutral certification
The Blue Mountains Explorer Bus carbon neutral service certification showcases the company’s dedication to protecting the natural environment and reminds visitors of the importance of everyone playing their part. Customers can feel positive about their holiday choice, knowing that when they ride the red double decker bus, they are making an environmentally positive decision.
FAT’s carbon neutral status for their bus and coach charter services means that educational institutions, corporations, groups and individuals looking to reduce carbon emissions can make the easy decision to travel with the company to reduce their own carbon footprint.
Challenges and learnings
Being the first transport/tourism operator in Australia to provide a 100 per cent carbon neutral service, there were some challenges in accounting for the carbon emissions for the FAT/Blue Mountains Explorer Bus fleet, particularly given the different sized vehicles in operation. This included calculating the embodied emissions for each bus within the fleet. Embodied emissions are a direct result of the manufacturing processes used to create each bus.