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ACT government released tender for its first electric buses

electric buses

The ACT government has released a tender to lease the territory’s first electric buses, beginning the transition to zero emissions public transport. This will see the highest emitting Renault buses retired from the fleet, as an important first step towards reducing emissions from public transport. 

The leasing arrangement will cover a total of 34 electric buses. Procurement will be assessed based on providers’ ability to deliver buses with enhanced accessibility, lower emissions operations and associated charging infrastructure. 

The procurement will add an initial minimum of eight zero emission buses to the fleet, with the opportunity for industry to offer more depending on market capacity. 

It is an important step towards achieving zero emissions in public transport, ahead of government’s permanent procurement of 90 of these buses, which is currently at the market sounding stage according to minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel. 

“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,” 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. This is a transition we want to make as rapidly as possible, in light of evolving technology and a growing number of suppliers in the market.” 

The procurement will be released as three packages, enabling industry to offer solutions incorporating both buses and charging infrastructure. 

“Industry may wish to bid for one, two or all three of the packages depending on their interest and organisational capabilities,” Steel said. 

“We’re also encouraging industry to develop consortia, so we can implement a holistic solution that includes the necessary supporting infrastructure like charging. 

“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. This is an example of the strategic approach we are taking to driving a rapid transition to zero emissions public transport,” he said. 

“Replacing the old buses will also mean that every ACT government bus and light rail service will be accessible for Canberrans using a wheelchair or travelling with prams, which is a great boost for access and equity on our public transport network.” 

The new buses are expected to join the Transport Canberra fleet in late 2021, subject to the procurement process. 

Also, the government is currently undertaking formal market sounding to deliver on the election commitment to purchase 90 battery electric buses and supporting infrastructure, training and skills development. 

Over 100 industry representatives have participated to date. Through this process, the ACT government will identify solutions to successfully transition more of the fleet to zero emissions.

The formal procurement for the 90 buses is intended to commence in the third quarter of 2021, with the first of these vehicles to arrive in 2021-22. The final vehicles will be supplied by 2024. 

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