Northern Ireland invests big in electric buses10 November 2021

In two separate projects, the government of Northern Ireland has invested more than £100m in its electric bus fleet.

First, infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has unveiled the first of 80 electric double decker buses due to be in passenger service in Belfast in spring 2022.

It is part of a £74 million investment for 100 zero- and low-emission buses, which also includes 20 hydrogen-fuelled buses and a programme of associated infrastructure works.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “When all the buses arrive and are in service, Translink will have the fourth-largest fleet across these islands of zero emission buses – demonstrating my commitment to ensuring Northern Ireland is building a cleaner, greener society.”

Chris Conway, group chief executive, Translink, said: “These new zero-emission buses will make up around one third of the Translink Metro fleet helping improve air quality in Belfast. They will also offer the latest standards in comfort, quality and accessibility with in-seat USB chargers, WiFi and new accessibility features.

“For first time in over three decades, city services in Belfast will see double doors being re-introduced on double decker buses, facilitating faster boarding and alighting, new contactless ticketing and improving fresh air flow on board for passengers”.

Wrightbus MD Neil Collins said: “We’re delighted that Translink will be the first operator to put our Wrightbus Electroliner into passenger service.”

Second, Mallon announced funding of around £30 million for 38 new zero-emission battery electric buses, a mixture of 28 single- and 10 double-deckers, for Foyle Metro in Derry. The budget covers supply of buses from Wrightbus, plus a programme of associated infrastructure works.

This significant leap will see the city’s entire urban fleet, Foyle Metro, replaced with electric buses making it one of the first cities in the UK and Ireland to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet when all the vehicles go into passenger service in 2023.

Transport Engineer

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