9 September 2020

Labor to buy 90 electric buses, build new northside depot

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

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.

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.

HiddenDragon7:17 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.

Capital Retro4:53 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.


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?

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.

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 Retro4:55 pm 09 Sep 20

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

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.

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

Capital Retro9:09 am 09 Sep 20

According to reports from other news sources the recent testing of electric buses in the ACT had shown them to be unreliable just as had been found when they were tested in other Australian cities.

Yet the obsession with “clean energy” is going to overrule reality and increase the investment cost of public transport in Canberra to an unacceptable level when all these unreliable electric buses are rolled out.

Mr Steel, you claim this project will “create 500 new jobs”. Can you also guarantee that at least at least another 500 passengers will be created?

The 1st bus tested here was a disaster by all reports, but I believe the most recent ones on trial have been a lot better.

The investment level in TC is also ridiculously high – what’s the subsidy up to these days, $100+ million when I last looked at that was years ago.

The transition to zero emission buses makes sense in the longer term, but this solely seems to be about silly interim targets that will mean we won’t actually sweat the working life out of current access, but dispose of them early to make a few feel fuzzy inside…

Capital Retro4:57 pm 09 Sep 20

Not “a lot better”, rather “less worse”.

See my post above about the experience in London where all new buses are to be electric and where they have had them in regular service for a number of years now.

Capital Retro2:10 pm 10 Sep 20

Because London wasn’t designed for the private motor car like Canberra was its people are forced to use public transport.

In Nov-Dec 2019, 157m passengers took the Overground, 9.8m rode the DLR, 4.9m went on TfL Rail, and 2.3m used London’s tram network.

London still has dark memories of the smog and the fatalities resulting from it so it has reason to use electricity (generated from nuclear and imported but renewable wood chips).

Canberra does not have any emission problems so we should stick with the cheaper, more reliable and very fuel/emission efficient diesel buses.

Umm don’t care why London isn’t or isn’t using electric buses.

My point was about reliability.

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