Is it time for a new bus contract procurement model under a zero emissions bus setting?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, technology - alternative fuels, technology - emissions, organisation - contracting, organisation - competition, infrastructure - vehicle


Zero emission buses, Bus contracts, Procurement, Competitive tendering, Negotiation, Supply chain partnership, Risk and uncertainty


The commitment in many countries to zero emissions at the tailpipe for buses opens up an era under transition with a new set of risks and uncertainties to both bus operators and the regulator. The switch to clean energy brings energy providers, both generators and distributors, as well battery pack and electric or hydrogen bus providers, and infrastructure specialists, into the mainstream of service provision, signifying that the risks in transition over the next 30 or so years should be shared amongst a larger set of upstream service providers who stand to gain through new opportunities from the transition. De-risking through greater sharing is common in many supply chain ventures and is an appealing way of transitioning to a green energy future for the provision of bus services. We promote the idea of a competitively defined supply chain partnership procurement model, implemented through tendering or negotiation, as a way of spreading the risk to all who will gain from this new future. This has the potential, without guarantee, to support many more bus operators staying in (or indeed entering) the industry to enable an effective competitive process, especially the relatively smaller operators who currently lack the expertise and knowledge to weather this transition, best described as an extreme event. This paper is a conceptual think piece rather than a scientific one, designed to open up new ways to consider procurement and contracting in the context of the transition to zero emission buses, but it has wider value in other sectors.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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