Wrightbus has been awarded a £66m contract by Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure that includes the delivery of 100 zero-emission buses to Translink. 45 low-emission diesel models complete the deal.
Of the zero-emission buses, 80 will be battery-electric and 20 will be hydrogen fuel-cell electric. They will be used on Metro services in Belfast and Derry. Translink aims to source sustainably produced hydrogen and electricity to power them. The 45 diesel examples will be used by Ulsterbus across Northern Ireland.
Additional safety features part of Translink Wrightbus order
While details of vehicle types have not yet been announced, the Northern Ireland Executive says that all of the zero-emission buses that form part of the deal will have “A-pillars in the upper saloon to provide a panoramic view.” That suggests they will be from the Wrightbus StreetDeck range. Of the diesel buses, 31 will be double-deckers and 14 will be single-deckers.
All 145 buses will be equipped with rear view cameras in lieu of mirrors, among other “enhanced safety driving features.” Part of that equipment for those vehicles that will be used on Metro services is an acoustic vehicle warning system to “enhance road safety when travelling at slower speeds in cities.”
The £66m has been provided by the Department for Infrastructure as part of New Decade, New Approach commitments. Those aim to deliver a “step change in cleaner, greener public transport as we tackle the climate crisis,” says Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.
Zero-emission order ‘just the start’, says Translink chief Conway
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway adds that the order is “just the start of an exciting new era for public transport in Northern Ireland.” Translink aims to operate a fully zero-emission fleet by 2040.
Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal has welcomed the order for Translink. Mr Atwal has commended the Department for Infrastructure for showing “strong leadership in its commitment to reducing emissions.” He adds: “This order of 145 buses is a significant step and we are proud to work alongside Translink to achieve its goals.”
All 145 of the buses are due to enter service during 2021/22. Three hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers that were ordered earlier in 2020 will enter service before the end of the year.