The three vehicles were recently purchased by the NTA and will go into service next week on Bus Éireann’s route 105X, which runs between Dublin and Ratoath, County Meath. The buses will be subject to in-service evaluation as part of an alternative fuels technology pilot being undertaken by the NTA in collaboration with Bus Éireann.
The buses represent an investment by the state, of approximately 2.4 million euros. The bus model in question – the Wrightbus Streetdeck Hydroliner – is the world’s first hydrogen double-deck bus and is able to accommodate up to 79 passengers within its overall length of 11.5 metres.
Accessibility is a feature of the new buses, including:
Priority seats upholstered in distinctive, high contrast moquette
A large permanent wheelchair space
A separate, dedicated buggy space
Wider access passages
A powered wheelchair ramp at the front doorway
An additional passenger information display within the wheelchair space
High definition exterior destination displays
The high visibility yellow, green and white Transport For Ireland livery
Hydrogen for the buses will initially be supplied by BOC Gases Ireland, with refuelling being effected at its Bluebell facility on the Naas Road in Dublin. Maintenance of the buses will initially be undertaken by Municipal and Utilities Truck Equipment Company (MUTEC) at their facility on the Longmile Road in Dublin.
“Reducing carbon emissions from transport is critical to reaching our climate goals and will also improve air quality for all” said Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD. “Other technologies such as battery-electric, are very well suited to bus services in urban areas, but on longer commuter and inter-urban routes, hydrogen fuel cell technology is an innovative zero pipe emission alternative to diesel. I’m especially pleased that the Wrightbus Streetdeck, which is the first such bus in the world, is assembled in Northern Ireland and that Bus Eireann are piloting these buses on their commuter route between Dublin to Ratoath.”
Anne Graham, NTA Chief Executive Officer, added that as the new hydrogen buses go into operation with Bus Éireann, NTA is setting out on a journey towards a zero emission public transport fleet and that procuring the three buses and putting them into service gives NTA an opportunity to pilot hydrogen-fuel-cell technology in daily public transport operations in Ireland and to assess the part it can play in the long term transition to a zero emission bus fleet. Thanks to Luas and DART, already almost a quarter of all public transport journeys on the Transport For Ireland network are on zero emission vehicles, and the NTA is committed to an accelerated transition to a more sustainable bus fleet.
“These buses are just one part of the overall approach, and hydrogen is just one of the technologies that we are looking to in the drive to make public transport more sustainable” Ms Graham said. “Alongside these buses, we are also about to order 45 battery single-deck battery-electric buses for use in urban areas, with another 150 or so to come. And in the next month or so, we will be ordering the first 120 battery electric double-deck buses for use in the large cities, with another 680 to follow in the coming years. The NTA and the public transport operators are stepping up to the climate challenge.”
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