Greens call for first fully electric bus fleet for Kilkenny
10th January 2018
Bus scheme for regional towns is welcome but must shift away from diesel
The Green Party today called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to pilot Kilkenny City for the first fully electric bus fleet in the State.
The Greens made the call as TII prepare to roll out 'Local Link' bus services for smaller regional towns following a successful pilot in Athlone.
Green Party Councillor for Kilkenny City West and Spokesperson for Rural, Community affairs and Local Government, Malcolm Noonan who has been campaigning for an expanded service in Kilkenny for many years said that while he welcomed the prioritization of regional towns in provision of a service, he was disappointed that TII did not take up on his proposal for an all-electric fleet.
He said: “We are talking a fleet of just six buses here. It's not a big ask in the grand scheme of things but the message it would send out would be amazing. The National Climate Advisory Council is advising that we decarbonize our public transport fleet, we are seeing ambient air quality in our regional towns deteriorating year on year due to diesel emissions and I think the time is right to move with many other municipalities around the world who are going electric.”
Cllr Noonan said that he attended a very positive meeting with TII last year and put the proposal forward as well as raising it formally within Kilkenny County Council but the feeling was that specifying electric in the tender would be prohibitive to possible operators of the new service.
“I think it's time to think differently on this; perhaps with the partnership of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and local industries or businesses, we could share the burden of initial capital costs, recognizing that an electric fleet would be far cheaper to run and would gain public support through cheaper fares and the novelty factor.
“I am making one last public appeal to TII to grasp this opportunity. Kilkenny is ideal, we have an award winning animation studio here as well as other new and exciting craft and innovation enterprises. It could be a model for other regional towns to follow and this is but one piece of a jigsaw that would position us as Ireland's greenest town, with all the inward investment that that would attract.”