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£66m Wrightbus deal to bring 'greenest buses' to NI's roads

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Wrightbus hydrogen bus (PA)

Wrightbus hydrogen bus (PA)

Positive: Nichola Mallon says the deal will create jobs and reduce pollution

Positive: Nichola Mallon says the deal will create jobs and reduce pollution

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Wrightbus hydrogen bus (PA)

The 'greenest' buses on the island of Ireland will take to the roads here after Co Antrim firm Wrightbus won a £66m contract with the Department for Infrastructure.

The department said the deal for 145 zero and low emission buses was a "significant leap forward" in the de-carbonisation of public transport here.

And it's the most significant deal to be won by Wrightbus since the Ballymena firm went into administration last year, before being bought over by English firm Bamford Bus Company.

By 2022, Metro services in Foyle and Belfast will have 100 zero-emission buses, with 80 powered by electric battery and 20 by hydrogen fuel cell.

There will also be 45 low emissions buses for Ulsterbus services.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: "I have an ambitious vision for a low carbon future where we make low emission public transport accessible to people and communities across NI."

She said the £66m investment, part of the New Decade New Approach spending commitments, would filter down into the economy through the Wrightbus order. "Today marks a very positive step forward that will create jobs, encourage investment, as well as being pivotal in cutting the level of emissions.

"As well as reducing pollution, the new vehicles will have additional safety features and improved comfort and accessibility, helping to grow passenger numbers, increase overall customer satisfaction and make public transport a more attractive and efficient alternative to private cars."

Translink Group chief executive Chris Conway said: "This bus order is just the start of an exciting new era for public transport in Northern Ireland as we work to build back responsibly following Covid-19."

Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal said: "We are delighted that the Department for Infrastructure and Translink has shown strong leadership in its commitment to reducing emissions.

"Investment in hydrogen, electric and low-emission buses and the wider energy sector, can only be good for jobs in Northern Ireland. We have the climate and the technology to drive fundamental change here and position Northern Ireland as a world-leader."

Belfast Telegraph


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