Business

Wrightbus lands "historic" deal with Republic's NTA for up to 800 electric buses

IrishTransport minister Eamon Ryan and NTA chief Anne Graham pictured with the Wrightbus Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs, which will roll out in the Republic from next year. Picture by Julien Behal.

AN agreement hatched between Ballymena’s Wrightbus and the Republic’s National Transport Authority (NTA) could prove to be the single biggest bus procurement contract in the history of the Irish State.

The Irish transport authority has placed an initial order for 120 electric double-decker buses with the manufacturer worth around €80.4 million (£69m).

But the framework agreement now in place between the NTA and Wrightbus could eventually see up to 800 vehicles delivered over a five-year period.

It comes less than three years after Jo Bamford bought the bus-maker out of administration with a staff of just 56. The company has now recovered to a workforce of around 1,000 people.

Wrightbus managing director Neil Collins described the NTA deal as “historic”.

“We are extremely proud of this historic deal, which is hugely significant for Ireland’s decarbonisation ambitions and for us here at Wrightbus.”

The agreement comes less than three weeks after Wrightbus won a contract to supply up to 60 hydrogen-powered buses to an operator in Germany.

The deal with Cologne-based RVK was the company’s first European order in the Bamford era.

“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”, said Mr Collins.

“This shows our ambition to be at the forefront of the zero emission drive in cities, towns and rural areas across the world.”

The government-owned NTA is expected to deploy the first consignment of Wrightbus Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs in 2023.

Some 100 will be rolled out by Dublin Bus with the other 20 destined for Bus Éireann for use in Limerick. Future orders of the electric buses are likely to be issued across the metropolitan areas of Cork, Galway and Waterford.

NTA chief executive, Anne Graham said the procurement of battery-electric buses represents a key milestone in the transport body’s transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.

“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.”

The Republic’s Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said: “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.”

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