Ireland’s first all-electric, emission free bus service has been launched in Athlone. The new bus fleet will be made up of 11 electric buses which are able to carry more than 11,000 passengers each week. The new fleet is expected to drive 400,000kg annual reduction in CO2. 

Last year, drivers and mechanics underwent a training programme that touched on the use, maintenance and operation of buses. Chargers and a new electricity substation have been installed at the Bus Éireann depot. 

The Anthlone route has been funded by the Government via the National Transport Authority and is the first to launch under the Department of Transport’s Pathfinder Programme. This will also see similar services rolled out across the year. 

“Driven by our new Climate Action Plan 2023, the future of Irish transport is on the cusp of radical change for the better,” Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said. That radical change will be driven by electricity — electric buses, electric cars, electric trains, powered for the most part by our own home-grown, cheaper renewable energy in the future.” 

The Department of Transport says the Pathfinder programme forms a key part of the National Sustainable Mobility Policy. This is the Government’s plan to meet Ireland’s requirement to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in the transport sector.  

National Transport Authority chief executive Anne Graham said the service was “a significant milestone” which would help make bus journeys cleaner, quieter, more comfortable, and more attractive to commuters and the general public. Athlone will be the first service in Ireland to be delivered entirely by electric buses, and we should not underestimate the significance of that for this town and for public transport in general. The experience we gain here with our colleagues in Bus Éireann will doubtless stand us in good stead as NTA rolls out similar programmes in Dublin and in other cities and towns in the months and years ahead.”

Source: Irish Examiner