Bus Industry News, Bus Trials

State government announces zero-emissions bus trial in Melbournes western suburbs

The Victorian government has today visited Transit Systems’ West Footscray depot to announce a massive zero-emissions bus trial in the western suburbs

This morning the Victorian government has announced a new range of zero-emissions bus trials in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

As part of an increased zero-emissions bus plan, the state government is ramping up its transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable bus fleet with funding in the new budget to back Footscray’s first zero-emissions buses.

The announcement comes after Friends of the Earth’s Better Buses group held a rally on the steps of Victorian Parliament last week to call for more bus services in the western suburbs under the government’s incoming bus plans.

Victorian public transport minister Ben Carroll and climate action minister Lily D’Ambrosio today visited the Transit Systems depot in West Footscray, which is now running nine new electric buses to service popular routes across Melbourne’s west, including Williamstown, Moonee Ponds, Footscray and Sunshine.

“We’re investing in cleaner technologies, supporting local manufacturing and delivering a more modern, efficient and reliable bus network that gets passengers where they need to go,” Carroll says.

D’Ambrosio says: “The Zero Emissions Bus Trial is one of the key parts of Victoria’s ambitious climate action agenda and will help us meet our world leading emissions reduction targets of 75-80 per cent by 2035 and net zero by 2045.” 

The depot has been upgraded to be the base for the fleet of the nine electric buses, which forms part of the state government’s $20 million Zero Emissions Bus Trial.

Transit Systems is one of six operators across Victoria taking part in the trial, which will see 52 zero emission buses – 50 electric and two Victorian-first hydrogen buses – rolled out across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour.

From 2025, all new buses on Victoria’s public transport routes will be zero emissions, with this trial will informing the transition of around 4,000 diesel buses in the state’s public fleet, including around 2,200 in regional Victoria.  

The Victorian budget 2023/24 includes funding to support the roll out of zero-emission buses as part of new 10-year metropolitan bus contracts, putting more clean transport on the network by 2035. 

This rollout joins other zero emission buses already operating around the state’s network – including in Melbourne’s west, with Kinetic delivering electric buses on various routes operating out of Sunshine.

Data collected from the trial will provide practical information like how zero-emission buses perform, and energy and charging requirements for different types of routes. It will also give insight into how the buses can improve financial and environmental sustainability.

The trial is also fostering vital local industry partnerships – such as with energy providers and manufacturers – that will be needed to achieve the transition across the state.

To achieve the emissions reduction target, the government is taking strong action across Victoria – helping farmers cut emissions, storing carbon in our landscape and driving down emissions in the waste sector through the circular economy.

Decarbonising public transport through zero-emissions buses and running all metropolitan trains and trams on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025 is also key to the government’s ambitious climate action agenda.

Creating a cleaner fleet is part of Victoria’s Bus Plan to develop a modern and reliable network that attracts more passengers, with the new buses critical to the state government’s plans to reduce emissions in the transport sector and reach net zero emissions by 2045.

“This is a huge benefit for passengers in Footscray as we fast track our transition to a clean bus fleet – with these new zero emissions buses to create smoother journeys and quiet buses in our streets,” member for Footscray Katie Hall says.

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