Tuesday, 4 July 2023

Bus Éireann Achieves 470,000 Emission-Free Kilometres in 2022

Investments by Ireland’s National Transport Authority in zero- and low-emission vehicles, coupled with a return to pre-pandemic passenger numbers, means that national operator Bus Éireann achieved some 470,000 emission-free kilometres in 2022, according to the company’s second Annual Sustainability Report, which outlines the progress made towards meeting the targets set out in its 2021 Sustainability Strategy.

The company operates 61 hybrid buses in Galway and Limerick, plus three hydrogen buses on Dublin commuter routes. It introduced Ireland’s first all-electric town bus service in Athlone in January. The 61 hybrid buses, which comprise the entire Galway city fleet and half of the Limerick city fleet, delivered 415,000 emission-free kilometres last year, whilst the three hydrogen buses operating on Route 105x between Dublin and Ratoath, Co Meath achieved 55,000 kilometres in the same period.

Chief Executive of Bus Éireann Stephen Kent said: “Bus Éireann, as Ireland’s national bus company is leading the drive to make Ireland’s bus network more sustainable, and in doing so, to convince travellers to choose public transport over private cars. We continue to prioritise climate action with the ambition of halving our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This year, we expect to reach the crucial milestone of delivering over 1 million emission-free kilometres.

“By achieving 89.5 million passenger journeys in 2022, and with a record 151,000 students travelling on school transport each day, we are living our values of connecting people in cities, towns and villages across Ireland. Crucially, we are doing so on an increasingly more sustainable basis, and in line with the Government’s Climate Action Plan commitments.

“Looking ahead to 2023, we will continue to advance climate action in everything that we do. In January of this year, we launched Ireland’s first fully electric town bus service in Athlone, a Pathfinder project, supported by the NTA and the Department of Transport. We have made progress on important sustainability projects in energy and alternative fuels thanks to the support of the CIÉ Sustainability Fund.

“Later this year, we will deploy 20 new double-deck electric vehicles in our Limerick city fleet, completing the transition of our Limerick city services to 100% zero or low-emission vehicles. Bus Éireann currently provides the option of zero or low-emission transport to over 200,000 people across Ireland. Furthermore, we are also proud that our customer satisfaction rate stands at 91% for the last six months of 2022.”

Among Bus Éireann’s other achievements outlined in the report are a 22.2% improvement in the company’s Energy Performance Indicator, helped by the conclusion of phase one of the redevelopment of its Roxboro Road bus depot and maintenance facility in Limerick, which has been built to Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard. More energy efficient LED lighting has also been installed at five of the company’s depots, with further projects planned for 2023, and the company saw 19.5% of its waste recycled last year, up from 7%.

In 2022, the operator reports that total passenger numbers increased by 56% compared to 2021. It operated or contracted more than 225 million service kilometres during the year across scheduled and school transport services.

Bus Éireann has also recently been awarded the Business Working Responsibly Mark sustainability certification by Business in the Community (BITC). Tomás Sercovich, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said: “Sustainable, affordable and inclusive public transport is at the heart of the transformation we need for Ireland. We are delighted that Bus Éireann has achieved certification to the Business Working Responsibly Mark, demonstrating the strength of their management systems across economic, environmental, social and governance topics. Bus Éireann is leading major change in its fleet and its practices to bring communities together, help achieve our climate targets and ensure inclusion across every level of the organisation. I commend the leadership for their determination and hope this certification will enable further change.”