A new all-electric bus service will begin in the midwest region of Ireland this month, featuring 11 new buses for Athlone's depot. The depot has been reconfigured with charging infrastructure installed by ESB Smart Energy Services, including chargers and a substation to power the electric fleet.
This new service is expected to cut CO2 emissions by 400,000kg annually and provide a quieter bus experience for Athlone and its many weekly passengers.
The service set to launch on January 29th, is the first of 35 planned transportation projects to be rolled out under the Government's Pathfinder program. Operated by Bus Éireann, the project underwent a €10 million upgrade from the National Transport Authority. Transport Minister Eamon Ryan expressed excitement for the project as a harbinger of more positive developments to come.
“Driven by our new Climate Action Plan 2023, the future of Irish transport is on the cusp of radical change for the better,” Ryan said. “And 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.”
Bus Éireann stated that its drivers and mechanics have completed a training program of over 500 hours on the operation, maintenance, and driving of the new buses.
”We are excited to be operating the fleet, which will deliver a more modern, sustainable and comfortable service and provide an enhanced customer experience for passengers,” said Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent. “A smoother and quieter ride is welcome as is improved access for persons with reduced mobility.”