This post originally appeared in VICE UK
T here has not yet been a mode of public transport in the UK that runs exclusively on shit. This news will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever traveled on Virgin Trains.
Like, what is it they are doing on Virgin Trains that makes them smell like shit? Like two men and a dog died of diarrhea on the same carpet. I've traveled many routes on Virgin Trains, and they all smell the same.
Now, it seems, we can use the source of such smells for good. Bath Bus Company has announced a new "Bio-Bus" that has begun shuttling merrily between Bath and Bristol Airport this week, fueled exclusively by human turds and piss.
Well, the vehicle will actually run on a special biomethane gas that is distilled from human waste at a Bristol sewage-treatment plant, and not—somewhat disappointingly—raw and uncut turds deposited directly into the fuel tank. The annual output of one shitty human can run the bus for about 37 miles, and one tank of this gas will keep the bus going for 186 miles.
I don't want to meet the person who first put sewage in a pan and turned it into turd gas ever in my life.
GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said of his company's new bus: "Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities, but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including, quite possibly, those on the bus itself." Before you ask: no, the biomethane gas does not smell of shit.
Which, again, makes the Virgin Trains thing all the more puzzling. I mean, is it just the smell of Richard Branson's beard, wafted electronically into each and every Virgin Trains toilet and the carpet surrounding it? Because, if a bus that literally runs on shit doesn't smell of shit, why do Virgin Trains smell of shit? I will never stop asking.
The Bio-Bus is a big step away from our reliance on fossil fuels, which is good. There is a bountiful, unlimited supply of shit in this country—we will never run out—and though there's still a complex process whereby sewage is sort of broken down into gas by oxygen-starved bacteria, it's pretty simple to convert it into energy that can feasibly be pumped back into the natural grid. Get people to produce enough shit and you'll have clean energy forever. And less carbon dioxide, too—the Bio-Bus farts around 30 percent less CO2 into the atmosphere, so you can spray a load of old 80s deodorants into the air or bust open the tubing in an old fridge and still be at peace with the world.
Back to the trains for a second, though. It says here that Virgin Trains started to undergo £3.5 million refurbishment plans to make their trains smell way less like shit in October last year, so we can look forward to being able to travel to Manchester without having to hold our jumper over our face as an impromptu oxygen mask some time in the vague near future. Do you think Virgin Trains will charge more money for a train that doesn't smell like a very, very, very old diaper? Would have to double-check on Wikipedia the exact religious beliefs of the Pope or what environment bears prefer to put their business in, but until then I'm going with a tentative "yes."
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