Ten electric buses arrived on Wednesday, marking an exciting new era for public transportation in Bermuda. Environmentally friendly and designed to better navigate the island’s narrow roads, the new fleet of buses is another step forward in ensuring our people have safe and reliable public transportation.
Additionally, the lower floors and kneeling suspension provide easier access for those with mobility issues. The improved air quality means the bus operators will be working in conditions that align with better health. The public will be happy to know that the cost of maintaining the new buses is 50 per cent lower than maintaining a diesel vehicle fleet, resulting in greater fiscal benefit.
As part of the Government’s economic recovery plan, interim charging stations at Dockyard, St George and Fort Langton bus depots are being constructed to support the initial 30 buses until the permanent charging infrastructure is complete. These charging stations will be fed from existing Belco circuits and completed in March.
Now that the buses are here, local staff will receive extensive training under the guidance of an engineer from Golden Dragon Bus Company, who will be based in Bermuda for three months supporting the team.
Furthermore, the department’s technicians will participate in electric vehicle training online via the Institute for Motoring Industry, in Britain, and locally via the Bermuda College.
In addition to the new electric buses, the Department of Public Transportation has recruited additional bus operators to ensure that we have the human resources required to provide a reliable and consistent public bus service to our community.
Transitioning the entire bus fleet from diesel to electric is envisioned to take more than ten years. The permanent charging infrastructure will accommodate the whole fleet. There will be a total of 30 charging stations servicing 60 bus bays, a 450 kilovolt-amps rooftop solar PV array and a battery energy storage system at the Fort Langton bus depot.
Undoubtedly, Bermuda is leading the region in providing cleaner, quieter and more cost-effective public transportation for our residents and visitors.
This is just the beginning!
We are grateful to our partners in improvement, particularly the Bermuda Industrial Union, Public Transportation Board management and the bus operators, who assisted us in paving the way to a more sustainable future.
Bermuda is on the rise beyond the pandemic, and we invite you to take the ride with us on our new environmentally friendly electric buses as we head towards a better tomorrow!
• Dennis Lister III is a government backbencher and the MP for Warwick West (Constituency 28)