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The Victorian Government has released a consultation paper to better inform its plan to transition the state’s bus fleet to zero emissions electric vehicles.

All new public transport buses purchased from 2025 onwards will be zero emission as part of the Victorian Government’s nation leading legislated target of net zero by 2045.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Ben Carroll, launched the consultation paper that lays the groundwork for the transition plan set to be released in 2024.

The State Government is investing in a $20 million Zero Emission Bus trial to help inform the smooth transition of almost 4,500 diesel buses to zero emissions.

The three-year trial leading up to 2025 involves six operators across Victoria introducing 52 zero emission buses into their fleets – 50 electric and two hydrogen – across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour. 

The trial is hoping to foster vital local industry partnerships and support local jobs with energy providers and bus manufacturers. 

The trial has provided evidence about performance, depot charging needs, capacity, infrastructure and energy network requirements, environmental outcomes and customer expectations.

The consultation paper highlights outcomes of the trials with industry and invites their contributions on how a zero emission bus transition can slash emissions, improve passenger experiences and create secure jobs in the bus industry.

More than 100 hybrid and around 45 zero emission buses are already operating on public transport routes across Victoria with operators getting positive feedback from passengers enjoying a quieter and smoother ride.

Extra funding was also announced in the 2023-24 Victorian Budget to double the speed of the roll out of zero emission buses as part of new ten-year metropolitan bus contracts.

These contracts cover 30 per cent of the metro network and come up for renewal in 2025. Creating a greener fleet is also part of Victoria’s Bus Plan to develop a modern and reliable network that attracts more passengers.

Mr Carroll said that tackling emissions on Victoria’s public transport network is critical to the state meeting its commitment of net-zero emissions by 2045. 

“We’re seeking feedback from operators, industry and the wider community as we transition to a diesel-free bus fleet,” Mr Carroll said. 

“The zero emission bus transition requires significant change and we are working with industry on how we use this opportunity to create a stronger industry, boost local manufacturing and improve customer experience.”

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