Labor to buy 90 electric buses, build new northside depot

Ian Bushnell 9 September 2020 37
Chinese Yutong Electric E12

The ACT has been trialling the Chinese Yutong Electric E12 bus since November 2019. Photo: File.

A returned Labor Government will buy 90 electric buses in its next term and build a new bus depot on the northside as part of transitioning the ACT fleet to a zero-emissions operation.

ACT Labor’s spokesperson for Transport Chris Steel says the $114 million plan will create up to 500 new jobs and take real action on climate change.

The new northside depot will be a zero-emissions facility, while the new Woden Depot, due to open early next year, will be upgraded to cater for electric buses.

Mr Steel said that a Labor Government would not buy any new diesel buses from 2025, and the ACT would have a fully zero-emissions fleet by 2040.

He said $30 million had been set aside for the electric buses, $66 million for construction of the new depot, $13 million to upgrade the new Woden depot and $5 million to recruit new drivers and mechanics.

If re-elected Labor would procure the electric buses early next year.

“The first 90 electric buses will replace ageing diesel and CNG [compressed natural gas] fossil fuel buses and help grow the Transport Canberra fleet,” he said.

“To support these vehicles, a re-elected Labor Government will build a fully electric fourth bus depot that will cater for up to 150 zero-emission buses.”

Mr Steel said the new depot would be able to expand to eventually hold up to 240 electric buses.

He said that to house the growing zero-emissions fleet, Labor would first fit out the Woden Depot with charging infrastructure and workshop functionality so it could charge 50 electric buses.

Labor would also lease 34 diesel buses to replace the disability non-compliant Renault buses that need to be phased out by 2022, before transitioning to electric buses.

Mr Steel said 64 additional bus drivers would be recruited from 2024 to support the running of the expanded bus fleet, as well as five additional mechanics.

“In this election, only Labor is delivering a plan to transition the ACT’s public buses to zero emissions that has factored in the infrastructure and skills required to support a fleet of electric buses,” Mr Steel said.

”Now more than ever we need a government that has a proven plan to take action on climate change and ensure a better future for our city. We are doing this because it’s the right thing to do.”

Electric buses would also mean cleaner air, with diesel fumes and their dangerous particulates no longer being emitted into the atmosphere.

The ACT has been trialling the Chinese Yutong Electric E12 bus since November 2019, and Mr Steel said it had been very successful but Labor planned to test the market, with a range of new players emerging.

The trial had shown that electric buses could service 78 per cent of Canberra routes.

A zero-emissions steering group has been working on the transition plan, including the mix of technologies required, the number of electric buses to be acquired in the short term with the infrastructure already available in the ACT, as well as the infrastructure required to support an entire fleet.

Mr Steel said hydrogen buses could still be part of the zero-emissions mix long term.

There was already funding in last year’s budget for 84 new buses.


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37 Responses to Labor to buy 90 electric buses, build new northside depot
tim_c tim_c 5:17 pm 10 Sep 20

Are these the same electric buses that can’t even go for a whole shift?

Mac John Mac John 1:31 pm 10 Sep 20

Really: a new bus tram facility being built in Woden: south side does not miss out

Mark Hassell Mark Hassell 1:19 pm 10 Sep 20

They could have bought a lot of electric buses and installed bus lanes all over Canberra and still have change if they didn't waste so much on light rail

Acton Acton 10:01 pm 09 Sep 20

The budget has blown out, but Chris Steal still promises more spending.
It will take the average yearly rates of 38,000 Canberra households to cover this $114,000,000.

    JC JC 5:59 pm 10 Sep 20

    Lucky then a term is 4 years which is how long they said they would buy these over and rates only make up 10% of all territory income.

    So if you want to express it in terms of rates $2.8m per year will be from rates which is about 0.004% of rates revenue.

Lorraine Marsh Lorraine Marsh 9:45 pm 09 Sep 20

Southside, that side without a tram, needs more buses than Northside.

    Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 12:30 pm 10 Sep 20

    No it doesn't, south side only has half the population of the north side

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 9:12 pm 09 Sep 20

Electric is far from zero emissions. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, a modern, correctly-maintained Diesel engine is almost definitely more environmentally friendly.

    Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 7:10 pm 10 Sep 20

    The ACT buys 100% renewable electricity. Furthermore, the buses would tend to be charged in between the morning and evening commuter peaks. Through the day, on a surplus of solar generation that needs a load to soak it up, when the wholesale prices often go negative and overnight when there is often a surplus of wind generation and low prices. Cheaper and cleaner.

    Alan Hopkins Alan Hopkins 8:48 pm 10 Sep 20

    Really?? Do you have any evidence to support that? Of did you just make it up. Diesel is horrendous for the environment due to the particulates coming put of the exhaust. And they are a fossil fuel so produce greenhouse gases

Chris Jirgens Chris Jirgens 9:01 pm 09 Sep 20

And how many emissions are going to occur to dig all the rare metals out of the ground to build the batteries for the buses in the first place. Electric is not zero emissions.

    Alan Hopkins Alan Hopkins 8:56 pm 10 Sep 20

    The answer is less than digging fossil fuel out of The ground and burning it. Btw you realise that there are large numbers of mine sites being powered by renewables, especially in northern Australia

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:17 pm 09 Sep 20

“The ACT has been trialling the Chinese Yutong Electric E12 bus since November 2019, and Mr Steel said it had been very successful but Labor planned to test the market, with a range of new players emerging.”

Hopefully the new players are located in countries which are less prone to use trade as a weapon and to locking up journalists.

Paul Leins Paul Leins 6:59 pm 09 Sep 20

Dear Southsiders,

Read more than the headline

Murray Ball Murray Ball 6:57 pm 09 Sep 20

Election time 🤪

Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:53 pm 09 Sep 20

Monty Ki, I don’t know who you are referring to specifically but the the person who “looks very silly” is the Minister who has decided to waste hundreds of millions of our dollars on a concept that has proven to be very unreliable. No doubt you will vote for him though.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-30/electric-buses-struggle-in-canberra-act-government-trial/11560042

Maria Greene Maria Greene 4:17 pm 09 Sep 20

Just getting our southside buses back would be a start. Reasonable rates would be good. And leaving the lake alone sensible

Monty Ki Monty Ki 3:37 pm 09 Sep 20

I really wish some people would read the article before commenting. You make yourselves look very silly.

Matti Poulakis Matti Poulakis 3:04 pm 09 Sep 20

I wish that I could still catch the bus #200 to Russell/Barton but have it go via the airport and not along tram route.

Corey Karl Corey Karl 3:01 pm 09 Sep 20

What do they need buses for ?? They have light rail !! 🤣🤣

Hamba Hamba 2:33 pm 09 Sep 20

Brilliant move! According to the govt’s own data, these battery electric buses only miss 35.7 per cent of their peak services. Who could ask for anything more from this mob?

    JC JC 6:35 pm 09 Sep 20

    You might want to read the article.

    Oh and here is some food for thought London, a City with over 9,000 buses is now mandating all new buses are to be fully electric.

    They have had electric single deck buses for at least 7 years and double deck electric for 3.

    I am sure they don’t have a 37% service failure rate.

    Oh and with the ones Canberra had trialled maybe you should look into the reasons why there were issues with those trial buses.

Peter Theunissen Peter Theunissen 1:40 pm 09 Sep 20

Buying buses is normal routine to replace old buses. Recent buses bought are too long to have bike racks fitted. Oops

    Julian Hamstead Julian Hamstead 7:33 pm 09 Sep 20

    Which recent buses? Only the buses that can't take bike racks were are 8-10 years old.

Reprobate Reprobate 1:19 pm 09 Sep 20

So ACT Labor has committed to buying 90 less reliable buses which carry fewer passengers and have a higher whole-of-life cost (according to http://the-riotact.com/electric-buses-missed-35-per-cent-of-their-peak-services-during-canberra-trial/327356)… madness!

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:55 pm 09 Sep 20

    It’s another example of the ACT Green/Labor government’s virtual signalling on steroids.

bj_ACT bj_ACT 11:19 am 09 Sep 20

Maybe more money into providing a better designed bus network would be more environmentally effective than electric buses.

Even before Covid, the bus network redesign forced thousands of commuters off their buses and back into cars. Particularly commuters in large swathes of Tuggers, Belco and Woden who saw something like a 5% drop in use following Network 19.

    JC JC 6:37 pm 09 Sep 20

    Yet over the whole city journeys went up. With journeys not double counting when changing buses.

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 11:06 am 09 Sep 20

I love this! The best the Libs said they would do is make public transport free! Hahahahaha.

    Gary Keogh Gary Keogh 11:07 am 09 Sep 20

    Making public transport free wouldn't be a bad idea.

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