First order of 120 vehicles placed with Wrightbus

The NTA has just placed an order with Bamford Bus Company for 120 double-deck battery-electric buses (trading as Wrightbus). These 120 buses are part of a five-year framework agreement that allows for the purchase of up to 800 zero-emission, battery-electric buses.

The Streetdeck Electroliner BEV buses will be manufactured and assembled at the Wrightbus facility in Galgorm, Northern Ireland, on the outskirts of Ballymena.

The current framework agreement between the NTA and Wrightbus has the potential to be the largest bus procurement in the state’s history. These will be the first battery-electric double-decker buses added to Ireland’s national bus fleet, and their addition will significantly increase the proportion of low- or zero-emission buses in that fleet.

This historic agreement is a key component of the overall strategy to build a sustainable future by decarbonizing the nation’s PSO public transport fleet, and is in line with a number of important national policy directives, such as:

  • Section 9.3.7 of the Climate Action Plan 2021 on the decarbonisation of public sector transport states: “We will transition public bus fleets to zero emissions models through the renewal and expansion of the fleet, allowing for the full electrification of double-decker buses in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Limerick.”
  • As a result of their battery-electric powertrain, the buses will operate with zero tailpipe emissions, which will significantly improve air quality in the cities and towns where they are deployed.
  • This order for 120 buses represents an investment of approximately €80,4 million.
  • 100 are destined for use by Dublin Bus on PSO bus services within the Dublin Metropolitan Area, while the remaining 20 are destined for use by Bus Éireann in the Limerick Metropolitan Area. Future orders may also be used to operate PSO bus services in other parts of Ireland, including Cork, Galway, and Waterford.

Commissioning and training will commence later this year, along with the installation of the required charging infrastructure. The first passenger buses are anticipated to enter service in 2023.

The buses will be outshopped in the green, white, and yellow Transport For Ireland (TFI) livery that is being applied to all PSO fleet buses and coaches.

Onboard passenger amenities include:

  • There is seating for up to 65 passengers
  • a permanent wheelchair space
  • a designated area for prams, pushchairs, and buggies
  • prominent and distinctive priority seating
  • high-definition real-time passenger information displays
  • USB charging sockets
  • free Wi-Fi.

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said: “We know that decarbonising transport is imperative, as part of our effort to tackle climate change. Public transport because it is shared mobility is already a far more sustainable and economical way of getting around, particularly compared to a private car that runs on fossil fuel, and the battery-electric buses that we are now ordering, will accelerate the transition to a zero-emission fleet.

“Going electric will reduce the carbon footprint of our public transport fleet, and will help us reach our long-term climate goals, as outlined in the Climate Action Plan. These new electric buses will also help reduce air pollution, improve public health and improve access to public transport for people of all abilities.

“I welcome today’s announcement and look forward to seeing cleaner and greener buses in operation in our cities”.

CEO of the NTA, Anne Graham added: “The transition to a zero-emission bus fleet is a central component of our BusConnects project, and the procurement of these battery-electric buses represents a key milestone in that process.

“There is no doubt that people are looking to us to provide better, more sustainable transport alternatives in all areas, and it is incumbent on us as an Authority to respond to that demand in a positive way. In so doing, we will reduce the need for personal vehicles, making the quality of the air we breathe healthier for everyone.

“When it comes to taking climate action, we in the NTA want to play our part and we want to lead by example. We are doing that by transitioning our public transport fleet away from fossil fuel to zero emission technologies and as you see today we are making real progress. This process is already under way, and when complete in 2035 will result public transport emissions being massively reduced.”

Neil Collins, Managing Director of Wrightbus, concluded: “We are extremely proud of this historic deal, which is hugely significant for Ireland’s decarbonisation ambitions and for us here at Wrightbus.

“This deal further cements the reputation we have built in the zero-emission sector, and follows hot on the heels of historic deals in Australia and Germany. This shows our ambition to be at the forefront of the zero emission drive in cities, towns and rural areas across the world.”