Environment

COP26: First electric public transport double-decker buses `on island of Ireland' unveiled by Translink

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon and Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive unveiling the first of 80 electric double decker buses due to be in passenger service in spring 2022. Picture by Aaron McCracken

THE first electric public transport double-decker buses "on the island of Ireland" were unveiled by Translink yesterday to coincide with UN COP26 Climate Change Summit's theme on `energy'.

The new Translink fleet will see 80 of the buses on Northern Ireland's transport network by the spring and sees double-deckers reintroduced to the region for the first time in 30 years.

The Department of Infrastructure has made a £74million investment for 100 zero emission buses, which also include 20 hydrogen-fuelled buses and programme of `associated works'.

Minister Nichola Mallon has made a commitment to decarbonising Northern Ireland's public transport.

"Cleaner, greener, sustainable transport is key to protecting our environment and fighting the climate crisis," she said.

"... I am delighted to see this investment now translate into delivery on the ground with the arrival of the first electric double decker buses for public transport on the island of Ireland today.

"When all the buses arrive and are in service Translink will have the fourth largest fleet across these islands of zero emission buses - demonstrating my commitment to ensuring Northern Ireland is building a cleaner, greener society."

She said "the hard work here in Northern Ireland is paying off and we are transitioning our public transport system now and for the future".

"I believe COP26 represents a critical time and opportunity for decision makers across the world. This is the world's best and last chance to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate crisis."

Chris Conway of Translink described it as "another significant milestone in our journey to reduce our carbon emissions and attract more people to cleaner public transport choices for the benefit of everyone".

"These new zero emission buses will make up around one third of the Translink Metro fleet helping improve air quality in Belfast," he said.

"They will also offer the latest standards in comfort, quality and accessibility with in-seat USB chargers, WiFi and new accessibility features."

He said the company is already seeing more people turn to public transport as Northern Ireland "starts to slowly recover".

Translink will be the first operator of the Wrightbus Electroliner passenger service - "the fastest charging of its kind on the market", according to the manufacturer.

The public can see the bus next Wednesday as part of RE[act] Festival at Custom House Square between 11am and 3pm.

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Environment