Transport Canberra is looking to acquire 40 zero-emissions buses as it moves to upgrade its ageing fleet and meet the ACT Government’s ambitious climate change targets.
It is seeking expressions of interest from suppliers through a public tender, which says the agency would prefer zero-emissions buses – most likely electric but also hydrogen – over diesel ones, if they meet operational needs and are affordable.
If not, Transport Canberra will consider buying, leasing, or an alternative arrangement. Such arrangements include potentially liaising with multiple providers, diesel or alternative low-emission buses, natural gas or hybrid, until zero-emission buses can be proven viable for the ACT transport network.
It also wants to know how long it will be before zero-emission vehicles will be viable.
The agency wants to time delivery of the new buses for the opening of the new Woden Bus Depot in early 2020, which it says offers an opportunity to integrate any required infrastructure into a new and centrally located depot.
The new facility has been designed to allow retrofitting of supporting infrastructure if necessary.
The tender documents say the current bus fleet is ageing and in need of modernisation, posing significant maintenance challenges.
The current age of the fleet also means Transport Canberra needs to operate a very high number of spare vehicles to minimise the impacts of mechanical defects.
The tender document says the buses, standard and articulated, must be designed for comfort, air-conditioned, meet disability requirements, able to be fitted with a bike rack and be able to run for 13 hours a day and up to 400km in range without the need to be recharged or refuelled.
The ACT is on track to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and the Government has flagged the emissions-intensive transport sector for reform.
The Government has a policy target for zero emissions for the ACT by 2045. “This will require a significant evolution of the transport sector,” the tender document says.