Ballymena-built super-buses take to the roads in Dublin
THE first of a fleet of Ballymena-built double decker buses took to the streets of Dublin yesterday.
The Republic's National Transport Authority announced the multi-million pound fleet replacement back in October 2012 under then transport minister Leo Varadkar, with Wrightbus being contracted to build the 90 new highly advanced vehicles.
And the quieter, more fuel efficient and high-tech buses have now begun operating on four key routes in Dublin.
The new buses also feature free wi-fi and increased safety features as well as bilingual passenger information signs in both the upper and lower saloons announcing the next bus stop.
Speaking yesterday, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the €35 million (£24 million) investment would help boost Dublin Bus passenger numbers even more.
"Bus is fast becoming a more attractive public transport option for many users," he said.
"The delivery of 90 new vehicles, equipped with a range of enhanced features, will provide greater comfort and convenience for Dublin Bus customers and will contribute to providing a more sustainable mode of transport, particularly for commuting purposes."
Dublin Bus said its passenger numbers have already increased by 700,000, or 2 per cent, in the first half of this year since the roll-out of the new vehicles.
The buses will replace older vehicles in the fleet and include wheelchair space with separate dedicated spaces for a child's buggy.
They are more environmentally-friendly, according to Dublin Bus, consume less fuel and are quieter than older buses.