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NSW awards zero-emissions school bus tender to VDI

VDI Australia will provide four new zero-emissions school buses for regional NSW schools as part of the state’s ongoing bus and coach trials

The NSW government has announced that four new electric buses will be working on routes servicing 30 schools in the Armidale and Tweed regions in coming months as part of a zero-emissions bus trial in regional NSW.

VDI Australia, the local distributor of Yutong buses and coaches, has been awarded the contract to deliver two zero-emissions school buses to Armidale and another two to Tweed.

NSW regional transport and roads minister Jenny Aitchison says zero-emissions buses offer passengers a quieter, smoother and more comfortable journey while also emitting no harmful exhaust fumes and improving air quality.

“I’m lased to announce hundreds of students will soon experience a quieter and smoother ride to school as four electric buses are trialled in our regions,” Aitchison says.

“In the Tweed, at different times during the trials, students from 17 primary and high schools will be able to catch an electric bus, while in Armidale and Uralla, at different times zero-emissions vehicles will run to and from 13 local primary and high schools.

“Testing the buses in the unique environments of Armidale, at 1000m above sea level, and the coastal climate and hilly topography of the Tweed, will provide important data about how zero-emissions buses can perform in regional NSW.”

During the Transport for NSW trial, the battery electric buses will operate on routes in the Tweed area serviced by Kinetic and in Armidale courtesy of Edwards Coaches.

The NSW government has committed $25 million towards this project that will see a series of zero-emissions bus and coach trials get underway across regional NSW.

Transport for NSW will seek community feedback from passengers throughout the trial to inform future roll outs of zero-emissions buses.

The NSW government says trials will be conducted using different vehicles and technologies in a range of environments, with the Tweed and Armidale communities to be updated when start dates for the trials are confirmed.

These trials will contribute to the state’s regional bus fleet transition to zero-emissions by 2047.

Labor spokesperson for the Northern Tablelands Peter Primrose says the trial is an important step towards this ongoing bus and coach transition.

“It is particularly exciting for Armidale and Uralla to be taking part in this trial as it follows a better bus network unveiled in December with 23 more services each week,” Primrose says.

“Trialling the buses in different conditions and routes across regional and rural NSW is key to ensure we collect data to make informed decisions about the most suitable technology for the transition to zero emission transport.”

Labor spokesperson for Tweed Emily Suvaal says the buses will run on routes to and from 17 primary and high schools in the area while servicing eight different school routes at various times.

“It is great news that the Tweed region has been awarded contracts for two zero-emissions buses in this exciting trial,” Suvaal says.

“The schools serviced are in Banora Point, Bilambil, Carool, Cudgen, Kingscliff, Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads South, Terranora and Tumbulgum.”

Further trials of zero-emissions buses are expected to be announced in the south and west regions of NSW in coming months.

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