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New buses to all be diesel as fleet needs rapid replacement

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A TOTAL of 34 StreetVibe buses could be in service by the end of this year, if the States approves a capital request for nearly £3m. from Environment & Infrastructure.

One of the StreetVibe buses. (20623090)

The money will pay for another 22 diesel buses from Wrightbus, the same supplier as the vehicles which arrived last year.

The committee’s original three-phase plan had been for this second phase to see the purchase of 13 diesel buses, with the third phase seeing 14 electric/alternative fuel buses being bought in 2020.

However, the deteriorating condition of the old fleet means that it wants to replace all 22 of the large Dart Myllennium buses now.

That would leave eight of the slightly younger Dart Nimbus buses to be replaced in the final phase.

Its policy letter to the States also said that, despite its long-term goal to purchase alternative fuel vehicles, these are not yet viable for the island.

‘This is because, notwithstanding the need to change our infrastructure (e.g. charging points for electric buses), there are no alternative fuel vehicles that suit our specific requirements on range, width, capacity and affordability,’ said E&I.

A detailed tendering process was carried out prior to the purchase of the buses in phase 1, and E&I said that States Procurement was satisfied that a further order of the same sort of vehicles could be negotiated without the need for another lengthy procurement process.

Negotiations have taken place with Wrightbus and the committee said a ‘significant’ discount has been achieved for the 22 new buses at a cost of £2,893,000, or £131,500 each.

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‘This equates to a saving of £147,620 in total based on 2018 prices. An overall budget of £2,905,000 has been requested for this purpose.’

E&I president Deputy Barry Brehaut said the importance of the bus service to the success of its integrated transport strategy must not be underestimated.

‘We have seen significant growth in passenger journeys in recent years and this further emphasises the importance of the service,’ he said.

‘We must have a modern, clean and efficient fleet of buses to help the service further develop over the next 10 years.

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‘The majority of the remaining ageing bus fleet are in urgent

need of replacement and we’re looking to progress that without delay.’

He said the revised Phases 2 and 3 ‘will provide a more robust fleet of vehicles to deal with anticipated future demands of the public on the bus service by the end of 2020’.

Ahead of Phase 3, the committee said it will carry on investigating developments in alternative fuel vehicles, monitor passenger growth across the network

and, given the recent States decision on secondary education, assess future school bus service requirements.

It is looking to lease an alternative fuel vehicle on a trial basis to assess the potential benefits of adding one to the fleet in the future, as and when the technology has developed sufficiently.

E&I anticipates that tenders for Phase 3 will be issued some time next year or in early 2020.

A full business case and recommended tender would then be taken to the States.

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