NTA Launches Hybrid Buses for Dublin & Galway city services

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NTA Launches Hybrid Buses for Dublin & Galway city services to be operated by Dublin Bus & Bus Éireann.

The first of an initial order for 100 double-deck electric hybrid buses placed by the National Transport Authority (NTA), and which are destined for use in Dublin by Dublin Bus and in Galway by Bus Éireann, have now arrived in Ireland. The new buses will enter service early in the New Year and will feature the new Transport for Ireland livery.

Dublin Bus will use their initial allocation of buses to convert Dublin Metropolitan Area (DMA) routes 4, 122, 123 and 140 to hybrid bus operation, while Bus Éireann will use their initial allocation to commence the conversion of Galway city routes.

The buses, designated Enviro400ER by their manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited, utilise BAE Systems’ Series-ER hybrid system that incorporates a 32kWh next-generation lithium-ion battery energy storage system that can be charged externally via a plug-in connection.

As a result, they are capable of running in zero tailpipe emission mode for a distance of at least two and a half kilometers and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30%.

The new buses also meet the definition of a ‘clean vehicle’ under the EU’s revised Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (a.k.a. the ‘Clean Vehicles Directive’). As such, the purchase and introduction of these buses represents a significant step forward in the transition to a low and zero emission urban public bus fleet, as provided for in the Irish Government’s Project Ireland 2040 and Climate Action Plan.

The buses are fully accessible, with a wide front entrance doorway fitted with a twin-leaf door and a motorised wheelchair ramp, together with a dedicated wheelchair space, a space reserved for use by a buggy and distinctive priority seating. They are also the first buses procured by the NTA to be outfitted with an induction loop system to assist the hard-of-hearing and a passenger information display within the wheelchair space.

The exterior of the buses features the new green, yellow and white Transport for Ireland (TFI) livery, which will be phased in across the entire public service obligation (PSO) fleet over the coming years. While the livery for all operators of PSO services (including Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Go-Ahead Ireland and City Direct) will be uniform, some company-specific branding has been retained to identify the operator of the bus service to intending passengers.

Anne Graham, NTA Chief Executive Officer said: “The NTA is committed to the transition to zero and low emission public transport vehicles, and with these new ADL buses, we are taking a significant step towards a more sustainable bus fleet. These vehicles will also add some badly-needed extra capacity to our city fleets in Dublin and Galway. While public transport passenger numbers have fallen as a result of Covid-19 restrictions this year, we believe that they will return to something approaching pre-pandemic within the next 18 to 24 months. As passenger numbers pick up we will continue to invest in capacity across all our services. We’re also excited to see the new livery on these buses, and look forward to its rollout across the fleet.”

Galway based Minister Hildegard Naughton said: “We have committed to no longer buying diesel-only urban buses for our public transport services as part of our efforts to decarbonise the transport sector. These will be the most fuel-efficient buses in the national fleet, but as well as that, they are capable of zero-emissions running for sections of their journeys, which when utilised will be a great improvement for our urban air quality. The rollout of these hybrid buses is a signal of Government’s commitment to achieving the Programme for Government reduction of 7% of emissions per annum. I welcome the purchase of these new hybrid buses and very much look forward to seeing them operate in the city streets of Galway and Dublin.”

Ray Coyne, Chief Executive Officer, Dublin Bus added: “This is a really positive day for Dublin Bus and the city. Over the last number of years, we have played a leading role in the fight against climate change by trialling new technologies and vehicles. The introduction of 74 ADL Enviro 400 Extended Range (ER) hybrid buses is another important step on the journey towards making our low emission Dublin Bus fleet even more environmentally efficient. These vehicles will not only reduce emissions, but will also improve the customer experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing them serving our customers, 24 hours a day, on the streets of Dublin.”

Stephen Kent, Chief Executive Officer, Bus Éireann commented:  “As Ireland’s national bus company, we believe in public transport as a linchpin in Ireland’s carbon action plans.  Bus Éireann is focused on reducing the environmental impact of our services and facilities, and cutting emissions by  50% by 2030. Our partnership with the National Transport Authority is crucial as we assess which technologies will be most appropriate to achieve this goal across Bus Éireann’s huge variety of routes, from all the regional city services to intercity.  We are very excited that Galway city services will become majority-hybrid with 26 new buses in early 2021.”

ADL President & Managing Director, Paul Davies stated: “The Alexander Dennis Enviro400ER is ideally suited for flexible operating needs including zero-emission running at air pollution hotspots. With the ability to externally charge the batteries, the use of on-board power generation can be further reduced. This new generation of double deck buses for Ireland once again demonstrates that with ADL’s focus on innovation, we are building the buses our cities need to solve their transport challenges.”

Ian Wilson, director of business development for Power & Propulsion Solutions at BAE Systems concluded:  “Clean transportation technology in our cities is critical to reach a zero emission future. Our system will help Ireland take the next step towards full electrification and improve the air quality where people live, work and visit.”

NTA launches hybrid buses for Dublin and Galway city services featuring new Transport for Ireland livery. PIC JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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