Mayor hails world-leading Wrightbus after £30m investment announced
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has welcomed the announcement from Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon, for the major funding for 38 new buses for Foyle Metro to be built by Wrightbus in Ballymena.
This significant leap will see the Maiden City’s entire urban fleet, Foyle Metro, replaced with electric buses - making it one of the first cities in the UK and Ireland to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet when all the vehicles go into passenger service in 2023.
The investment by the Department for Infrastructure will include the vehicles supplied by Wrightbus and a programme of associated infrastructure works. The 38 buses will include 28 single deck and 10 double-deck vehicles.
The Mayor said: "I am delighted with today's announcement and I commend Wrightbus for continuing to lead the way on a global level on the innovation and delivery of this technology.
"This is great news for Wrightbus, Ballymena, Mid and East Antrim and the whole of Northern Ireland.
"Wrightbus - a key member of our Manufacturing Taskforce - continues to go from strength to strength, and this announcement is another ringing endorsement of the firm, our skills base, and our area."
The Minister made the announcement during a virtual address to the United Nations COP26 Global Climate Conference in Glasgow at an event hosted by Translink.
They had been invited to share their experiences on the transformative journey to decarbonise Northern Ireland’s public transport.
Minister Mallon said:
“I have an ambitious vision for a low carbon future and I am committed to delivering cleaner, greener, sustainable infrastructure. I have been clear that tackling the climate crisis is a priority for me and I am committed to building a better future where we make zero/low emission public transport accessible to communities across the North.
“My Department previously allocated funding of almost £74million for the purchase of 145 zero and low emission buses for the Translink fleet.
“I am delighted today, at COP26, to announce additional funding of £30million for the purchase of 38 new zero-emission battery-electric buses for the Foyle Metro fleet which will allow Derry to have a fully zero-emission bus fleet when all the vehicles go into passenger service in 2023. Their arrival will herald a new cleaner and greener era in transport for the city and will make a positive impact on the climate emergency and help enhance air quality.
"These are the changes we need to see to help us tackle climate change and contribute to better health outcomes for all our population. I will continue to make positive steps to choose cleaner, greener travel.”
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said:
“Today marks a further milestone in the journey to achieve our ambitious targets to make public transport carbon net-zero by 2040 and go beyond to be climate positive by 2050. We have been delighted to make this announcement at COP26 and showcase the actions we are taking to tackle the climate emergency and drive positive change for healthier and more sustainable transport for future generations to come.
“We will have over 100 zero-emission buses in passenger service next spring making up over a third of our Metro fleet. Now, this latest order will mean 100% of urban bus services within the city of Derry~Londonderry will be zero-emission not only making bus travel even more attractive and efficient but enhancing local air quality for everyone that lives, works and visits the city.
“There will be a mix of both single and double-decker buses bringing enhanced capacity and with the latest passenger comfort features including WiFi, USB chargers and accessibility features like audio-visual next stop announcements, this is great news for everyone.
“We would like to thank the Minister and the Department for their ongoing vision and support. We will continue to work with all stakeholders collaboratively to harness a shift in attitudes and behaviours towards more sustainable transport for a better future for everyone”, Chris concluded.
All the new zero-emission electric buses are due to be in service during 2023.