Translink has welcomed the Department for Infrastructure’s announcement of £88 million of funding for 100 new zero-emission buses and associated charging infrastructure, and says the investment will be transformational in delivering a zero-emission transport future for Northern Ireland.
The new battery-electric buses will be supplied by local manufacturer Wrightbus and will be a mix of single-deck and double-deck vehicles. All of the buses are due to enter service by summer 2024; the announcement follows the successful roll-out of 100 zero-emission buses on Belfast Metro services this year along with the planned conversion of Foyle Metro services in Derry/Londonderry to be completely zero-emission by summer 2023.
The new vehicles will offer high-back, seatbelted high specification seats, plus a wheelchair area and a space for two buggies. USB charging ports will be fitted, as will WiFi and CCTV. The double-deckers will have glazed ‘A’ pillars in the upper saloon to provide a better view at the front, and an illuminated glass panel on the stairwell. An audio-visual next stop announcement system will be fitted, including a display on the upper deck of the double-deckers. An acoustic warning system will be fitted to enhance road safety when travelling at slower speeds in cities, and the buses will use an electronic camera mirror system.
Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said that zero-emission transport is critical in tackling climate change and improving air quality: “This further significant investment in zero-emission buses supports our plans to decarbonise our fleet and lead the transport transformation in Northern Ireland for a cleaner, greener and healthier future for generations to come. It enables us to deliver the benefits of zero-emission technology to more areas across Northern Ireland with 40 buses being allocated to Ulsterbus services in the north-west, Coleraine and Craigavon. We will enhance the existing zero-emission Metro fleet in Belfast with 60 buses, which will mean that over half of these services will be zero-emission. All the new buses will run on sustainably sourced ‘green’ electricity and offer the latest standards in comfort, quality and accessibility with in-seat USB chargers, WiFi and low-floor accessibility features.
“Public transport plays a vital role in supporting the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of Northern Ireland and investment in a zero-emission fleet will be instrumental in helping us achieve our ambitious climate action targets to deliver a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, achieve net zero by 2040 and to become climate positive by 2050. We would like to thank the Minister and his Department for this investment and look forward to working in partnership with Wrightbus to deliver these new state-of-the-art buses, building a more sustainable future for Northern Ireland.”
Wrightbus Chief Commercial Officer Ben Werth added: “We’re immensely proud that an additional 100 of our world-leading StreetDeck Electroliners and GB Kite Electroliners will be on the streets of Northern Ireland. At Wrightbus, we’re not only enabling operators to build zero-emission fleets fit for the future, but we’re also supporting jobs and the wider green economy across Ireland and beyond. This latest investment will help to make a huge impact in reducing emissions across the country.”