A collective bid for funding by Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, the Oxford Bus Company, Arriva and Stagecoach to the Department of Transport, could see Oxford become the first city in England to be using a fleet of all-electric buses. Alongside seeking funding to go all-electric, Oxford’s councils also plan to apply for £20 million towards the design and promotion of on-demand sharing service for bus rides in both city and countryside areas, designed to give the public more control over their daily journeys. By matching up demand for buses with local people in a more intuitive way than is possible at the moment, it seeks to alleviate the inconvenience of bus scheduling that has often seen many services go into decline. Coming within the framework of the government’s new “national bus strategy”, this is part of a total of £170 million allocated by the government to revitalise bus services by making them more frequent, efficient and environmentally-friendly. These are part of a concerted central government effort to tackle entrenched problems with England’s bus services. This is part of a new scheme by the Department of Transport to give out up to £50 million to the successful town or city to go towards the financing of a modern fleet of all-electric buses. The aim is to reduce emissions in congested towns and cities with public transport that’s both up-to-date and less polluting. The “All-Electric Bus Town” initiative is an attempt to see what can be done if there is a genuine commitment to running all buses in an area by electricity, in the interests of making a zero-carbon future more affordable. Applying for the funds means participating in a competition of two phases. The first phase opened on February 6th and remains open until April. A shortlist will then be considered in the second phase, ending in August. This application for funding follows other concerted efforts at improvement in bus services by Oxford City Council in recent years. Since 2018, £2.3 million has been acquired to reduce the toxicity of bus emissions in Oxford from the government’s fund for Clean Bus Technology. Moreover, alongside the County Council, it has announced innovative plans to introduce an Oxford City Zero Emissions Zone, alongside growing bus services, to help ease congestion in the city and contribute to tackling the Climate Crisis. According to Councillor Tom Hayes, the council’s efforts in recent years have seen a “drop in harmful nitrogen dioxide levels by an average of 22.7%” due to the investment in ultra-low emission buses. Launching “the UK’s first city centre Zero Emission Zone in December this year” is just another step in achieving the council’s ambition of a Zero Carbon Oxford. Councillors from both the City and County Councils also expressed wishes to take “concerted climate action” alongside a wide-ranging expansion of bus services inside the city and out of it. Balancing commitments to providing efficient services with an environmentally sustainable future is central to their approach. The initiatives were also welcomed by the bus companies themselves. According to Phil Southall, manager of the Oxford Bus Company, “stronger bus networks are key to reducing congestion and emissions”. Tackling emissions and congestions are as much a priority of Oxfordshire’s bus companies as they are of its councils. However, not all were onboard with the plans. One student told Cherwell that they feared an expansion of the bus network, however environmentally friendly, would cause more disruption in the short term, impacting both students and residents of the City and the wider county.
A day after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) revealed that it has received the applications for the position of Team India coach, it is being reported that former India captain and legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble is in race for the top job.The board had set June 10 as the last date for applying for one of most lucrative jobs in world cricket. It subsequently released a statement yesterday, saying that as many as 57 people, from both India and overseas (without revealing the names), have applied for the vacant position. However, media reports on Monday stated that Kumble, who is currently the chairperson of the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Committee, is also in the running for the head coach’s post. (Ponting backs Dravid for Team India coaching job)HIGH-PROFILE NAMESKumble is the third high-profile applicant for the job after former team director Ravi Shastri and current chief of selectors, Sandeep Patil. Both Shastri and Patil had expressed their interests in coaching India.One of India’s biggest match-winners, Kumble has 619 wickets in 132 Tests and 337 wickets in 271 One-day internationals. He was also the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) from 2010-2013. (Dravid plays down prospects of coaching Team India)Apart from the trio, former India players Venkatesh Prasad, Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Hrishikesh Kanitkar are also vying for the job.The primary scrutiny of the applications received will be done by BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke. After this, the list of candidates who meet the criteria will be processed for further consideration. (BCCI likely to prefer ‘Hindi speaking’ coach for Team India)advertisementAfter Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher’s contract ended after the 2015 World Cup held between February 14 and March 29 in Australia and New Zealand, former India skipper Ravi Shastri served as the team director till the 2016 ICC World T20 in March April in India.Sanjay Bangar, Bharath Arun and R Sridhar teamed up respectively as the batting, bowling and fielding coaches under Shastri. (Gavaskar backs Dravid as India coach)Last month, the BCCI appointed former India all-rounder Bangar as interim head coach for the ongoing limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe, while former domestic cricketer Abhay Sharma was named the fielding coach.