Bus Éireann achieves 470,000 emission-free kilometres in 2022, as passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.
Ireland’s national bus operator Bus Éireann has reported that the number of emission-free service kilometres covered by its transport have more than tripled in one year.
The number of emission-free kilometres more than tripled from 150,000 in 2021.
“We continue to prioritise climate action with the ambition of halving our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030”
According to the operator’s Second Sustainability Report 61 hybrid and three hydrogen buses funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) enabled 470,000 kilometres of emission-free travel on the Bus Éireann network in 2022.
Drive to reduce emissions
The company operates 61 hybrid buses on routes in the cities of Galway and Limerick. It also operates the only three hydrogen buses in Ireland on Dublin commuter routes and introduced Ireland’s first all-electric town bus service in Athlone in January. All of these zero or low-emission vehicles are provided by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The 61 hybrid buses, which comprise the entire Galway city fleet and half of the Limerick city fleet, delivered 415,000 kilometres emission-free last year. The three hydrogen buses operating on Route 105x between Dublin and Ratoath, Co Meath achieved 55,000 kilometres emission-free in the same period.
Among Bus Éireann’s other key achievements outlined in the Annual Sustainability Report 2022 are a 22.2% improvement in the company’s Energy Performance Indicator. This is calculated as a percentage of the total energy used by the organisation per available seat kilometre.
Last year saw the conclusion of phase one of the redevelopment of Bus Éireann’s 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.
In 2022, total passenger numbers increased by 56% on 2021. Bus Éireann operated or contracted more than 225 million service kilometres last year across road passenger and school transport services. It operates the school transport scheme on behalf of the Department of Education, which now carries a record 151,000 children each school day, including 17,500 Special Educational Needs (SEN) students.
“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,” said Stephen Kent, chief executive of Bus Éireann.
“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,” Kent said.