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Friday, June 18, 2021

ACT Government to lease first electric buses this year

Thirty-four buses – some of them electric – will replace the ACT Government’s old Renault diesel buses later this year.

The ACT Government has released the tender. Procurement will be assessed based on providers’ ability to deliver buses that are more accessible, and emit fewer greenhouse gases, and on their associated charging infrastructure.

At least eight of the buses will be zero-emissions vehicles; industry could offer more depending on market capacity.

Chris Steel, Minister for Transport and City Services, said the procurement was an important step forward in the transition towards zero-emissions public transport.

“By leasing these buses, we can meet the operational needs of our public transport network without purchasing more diesel buses that would remain in the fleet for another 20 years,” Mr Steel said.

The ACT Government intends to permanently procure 90 zero-emissions buses.

Formal procurement will begin in the third quarter of 2021; the first vehicles will arrive in 2021-22, and the last ones by 2024.

More than 100 industry representatives have taken part in the market sounding so far.    

“These leasing arrangements will ensure we are able to retire the oldest diesel clunkers from our fleet as soon as possible and get on with rolling out smoother, quieter and more comfortable zero-emissions buses,” Mr Steel said.

“We recognise that the ACT Government has to take action to cut our own transport emissions alongside working to help Canberrans cut those from the private vehicle fleet.”

He said the government wanted to make the transition as rapidly as possible in light of evolving technology and a growing number of suppliers in the market.

The procurement is released as three packages so that industry can offer innovative solutions that incorporate both buses and charging infrastructure.  

Mr Steel said industry may bid for any or all three of the packages depending on their interest and organisational capabilities.

The government also encouraged industry to develop consortia so they could implement a holistic solution that included the necessary supporting infrastructure, like charging.  

Replacing the old buses also means that Canberrans using a wheelchair or travelling with prams can use every ACT Government bus and light rail service.

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