Melbourne-based transport operator Kinetic is to introduce 36 electric buses to the Metropolitan Bus Franchise, covering about a third of the city’s public bus network, after winning a long term contract with the state government.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll announced on Tuesday that Kinetic had been awarded the 9.5-year contract worth $A2.3 billion to operate the network, which will begin on 31 January 2022.
The Melbourne Metropolitan Bus Franchise (MMBF) operates 30% of Melbourne’s public transport bus services with 49 routes servicing Melbourne’s eastern, south-eastern, and western suburbs, as well as the CBD. The MMBF also operates 134 school services as well as six depots and an operational control centre.
Kinetic operates 52 bus contracts across Australia and New Zealand, including the SkyBus service, which operates airport express services from Tullamarine into Melbourne and its surrounds – as well as similar airport services in Hobart, Brisbane, and Auckland.
Kinetic’s successful tender includes the commitment to introduce 36 fully electric buses to the MMBF by mid-2025 and a promise that at least one of every four new buses introduced will be locally built battery electric buses.
It has also committed to replace more than half the franchise fleet – 341 of the 537 buses – with low or zero emission vehicles over the 9.5-year term of the franchise. And, in line with ensuring buses are locally made, Volgren’s Dandenong South facility will make the buses, supporting local jobs and economy.
Kinetic already has a fleet of electric buses running in New Zealand, and expects its fleet of electric buses to grow to 60 over the next 12 months across both New Zealand and Australia.
“We are jump starting our push for a zero-emissions bus fleet in Victoria to benefit the environment and help build our engineering, design and manufacturing expertise in these emerging technologies,” said Carroll.
“The roll out of 36 electric buses early on in this partnership will accelerate our pledge for all new buses from 2025 to be zero emissions and, importantly, will contribute to the learnings of the three-year Zero Emissions Bus Project.”