Bus Eireann to switch to electricity and hydrogen as part of emissions reduction

BUS Eireann will replace half of its fleet with electric and hydrogen vehicles over the next nine years as part of a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The company is targeting a 30% increase in passenger numbers over the same period, but says it can manage the growth while reducing emissions.

Part of the growth will come from the expansion of the school bus system. One in seven schoolchildren travel by school bus and the company is aiming for a 20% increase.

School transportation is estimated to cut 35,000 car trips per day and emissions per bus passenger-kilometer are about five times lower in buses than in private cars, even in current diesel models.

Bus Eireann chief executive Stephen Kent said the goals would lead to major changes for the company and its 2,700 employees.

The depots would be suitable for electric charging and new fuel storage, and 300 craftsmen specializing in the maintenance of diesel vehicles would be recycled on clean energy models.

“Because Bus Éireann operates a very extensive and diverse public transport network, we need a range of solutions,” said Kent.

The first 61 hybrid buses will be rolled out to Galway later this year, three hydrogen buses will be put into service on suburban Dublin routes and electric vehicles are being procured for Athlone city service.

By 2030, half of the company’s 1,100 vehicles will be zero-emission electric or hydrogen models.

“The scale and urgency of this transformation will require close and continuous collaboration with the National Transport Authority, the Departments of Transport and Education, the CIÉ, state bodies, local authorities, suppliers and local communities, and our employees, and we are grateful for their support. Mr. Kent said.

Bus Eireann emitted 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019 and aims to halve it by 2030.

It has also handled 800 tonnes of waste and aims to cut that in half and recycle 70% of the rest.

The goals are part of a broader sustainable development strategy that also includes political goals to increase the number of female drivers, who currently number 73 out of 1,920, and to make all buses, stations and major stops fully accessible.

Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan praised the strategy.

“Our bus services play a vital role in connecting our communities,” he said. “I am impressed by the ambitions presented by Bus Eireann and I fully support their projects.”

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