Procurement of vehicles for Dublin Bus and other PSO bus fleets is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA). As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport I have made clear my intent, and that of the Government, to transition from diesel fuelled buses towards greener fuels and technologies, for the great potential such technologies offer to reduce carbon and other harmful air pollutant emissions, and importantly, placing the public transport system in a strong leadership role.
In the urban bus fleet, a clear trajectory towards low-emission has firmly been established. In the short term, we are committed under Project Ireland 2040 to no longer purchase diesel-only buses for the urban public bus fleet from this month onwards. Consequently, the NTA recently initiated a tender competition to award a “Framework Agreement for the Supply of Double-Deck Diesel-Electric Hybrid Buses”. To help inform a longer-term bus procurement strategy, my Department, together with the NTA, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, has undertaken a comprehensive series of low-emission bus trials which are expected to conclude in the coming weeks. Findings from this trial, alongside EU public fleet procurement requirements under the Clean Vehicles Directive together with on-going market analysis and research will collectively inform the NTA's approach to its bus purchase programme in the years ahead.
Under Project Ireland 2040, the BusConnects programme will be rolled out across all our major cities, starting in Dublin. This programme is expected to have a transformative effect on the operation of bus services and will improve bus journey times by 40% to 50%; provide a bus service that is easier to use and understand; enable more people to travel by bus than ever before; and provide a network of cycling infrastructure that will enable more people to cycle. Low emitting buses will be employed under the BusConnects programme with the intention that 50% of the public urban bus fleet in the Greater Dublin Area will transition to a low emitting option by 2023 and 100% by 2030. Buses will be replaced when they reach the end of their optimal life. For the double deck bus fleet this is approximately 12 years. It is important to note that additional vehicles may also be required to increase capacity on the network to cater for increasing travel demand or any new services.
Noting its responsibility with regards to this matter, I have referred your question to the NTA for consideration and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.