Tuesday 11 December 2018
Minister Ross welcomes the Low Emission Bus Trial
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., together with the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, have this week launched the Low Emission Bus Trial. The trials which began yesterday will test a range of technologies and fuels under real-driving conditions on selected routes in both Dublin and Cork. Supported by the Green Public Transport Fund, full electric, hybrid-electric, hydrogen and compressed natural gas/biogas buses will be tested alongside retrofitted diesel buses. The buses will be assessed under a number of headings including CO¬2 and air quality pollutant emissions, energy efficiency, costs, and infrastructural requirements. The trials will run until April 2019 and will help to further inform future purchasing decisions for the urban public bus fleet.
Minister Ross said “2018 has been a watershed year for recognising the impacts of climate change. These vehicle trials confirm the commitment expressed in the National Development Plan that from July next year, no diesel-only buses will be purchased for the publicly-owned urban bus fleets. We are determined that the choice of fuels or technologies that we make will be the right one for our urban bus fleets and will support the continued provision of effective public transport services as well as contributing to decarbonising the transport sector and improving our urban air quality”.
The buses will be trialled on the Number 9 route in Dublin City and on the Number 207a route in Cork City over the next four months. The buses will simulate real-driving conditions and so will stop at or near bus stops, doors will open and close but they will not carry any passengers. The trial will not affect existing schedules or service capacity; normal bus services will continue on these routes. Where possible the buses in the trial will be identifiable by their front scroll reading ‘Low Emission Bus Trial – Not in Service’ as well as signs affixed to the windows.
Minister Ross noted that “the most important transformation in the transport sector in the coming years will be the replacement of conventionally fossil fuelled vehicles on the roads with cleaner more efficient alternatives. This is a formidable adjustment but one that with vision, investment and resilience can actively set Ireland on the right path to decarbonisation and cleaner air”.
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Notes for Editors
More information about the trials is available from http://www.dttas.ie/public-transport/english/climate-change and from Transport for Ireland.
• Bus services form the backbone of Irish public transport provision, carrying the vast majority of public transport passengers and continuing to demonstrate annual increases in passenger numbers.
• Transitioning from conventionally fuelled buses towards greener fuels and technologies has the potential of further reducing the transport emissions from the growing number of public transport passengers and importantly, puts the public transport system in a leadership role in the transition towards lower emitting fuels.
• The National Development Plan (2018) commits Ireland to a transition to low-emission buses, including electric buses, for the urban public bus fleet, with no diesel-only buses purchased from July 2019, in line with the BusConnects programme.
• BusConnects will be delivered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and will initially address bus fleets operating within the GDA in line with the NTA’s Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area, 2016–2035. Transition to low-emission alternatives will be a phased process and it is expected that by 2023, half of the bus fleet (approximately 500 buses) will be converted, with plans for full conversion by 2030. The programme will also be expanded to include urban bus fleets in Galway, Cork and potentially Limerick and Waterford.
• Fuels and technologies being tested will include:
o Diesel electric-hybrid
o Compressed natural gas/biogas
o Two retro-fitted diesel buses
• Each of the fuels and technologies undergoing testing will be compared against a Euro VI diesel baseline. The trials will consider CO2 emissions, air quality impacts, and contribution potential towards renewable energy targets as well as other criteria such as costs, fuel economy, availability and infrastructural requirements for each technology. In addition, drivers will complete a survey to provide qualitative data on the operational experience of driving each alternatively fuelled bus.
• The data from the trial is being collected in a logical and systematic manner that adheres to scientific best practices. The trial is demonstrably technologically neutral and independent of any previous trials (as technology has progressed considerably in the interval).
• The trials are being undertaken with support from the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Byrne O’Cléirigh Ltd., Emissions Analytics Ltd., Eminox Ltd., Go Ahead Ireland, Wrightbus, Volvo, Scania, Irizar, Alexander Dennis, Gas Networks Ireland and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment.
• The trials are taking place in both Dublin and Cork – which collectively account for the majority of public transport urban bus journeys in Ireland. Both cities also present different driving conditions, in relation to topography, average driving speeds, stopping distances between bus stops etc. which will present unique challenges to the different fuels and technologies under assessment.