Jóhannes Svavar Rúnarsson, managing director of Strætó, has recently spoken out in response to statements by the Minister of Environment, saying that his critique of Strætó may represent a misunderstanding.
In light of a recent report on emissions in the capital area, Minister of Environment Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson has called for municipalities to cut down on emissions by reducing the number of diesel vehicles. In the minister’s statement, he specifically singled out Strætó, saying that the energy transition must be expedited in the case of public transportation.
In a statement to RÚV, the minister said: “Strætó is currently increasing the number of vehicles […] Right now, very few of the 160 vehicles in service are electric. In the coming months, some 25 new buses will be added to the fleet.”
However, in identifying the older diesel engines in many of the system’s buses as key culprits, Jóhannes Rúnarsson believes that public transportation’s overall share in emissions is exaggerated.
In an interview with RÚV, Jóhannes stated: “A significant majority of the buses meet the highest environmental standards governing vehicle import, the Euro 6 emission standards. Claims that Strætó significantly contributes to emissions are based on a misunderstanding. However, we would have liked to have progressed further in the energy transition by this date.”
Due to COVID-19 and recent budgetary setbacks, Strætó has not made progress towards its climate goals that it has set out for itself. Currently, some 140 of Strætó’s 160 vehicles are diesel powered. Strætó’s current goal is to go all-electric by 2030.