The Victorian Government has announced that it will be holding roundtables with regional bus operators to help inform its transition to a cleaner bus fleet.
Victorian Minister for Public and Active Transport, Gabrielle Williams, launched the roundtables, which will take place in Colac, Shepparton and Morwell for bus operators to explore the specific challenges and opportunities regional operators might face in transitioning their fleet to zero emissions were represented in the final plan.
In August, the State Government released a Consultation Paper to support the transition to zero emissions with bus operators and industry able to provide input. This latest phase gives the chance to explore in more detail local challenges in regional areas as Victoria transitions towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable bus fleet.
All new public transport buses purchased from 2025 onwards will be zero emissions as part of the state’s wider goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.
The final Transition Plan will set out Victoria’s proposed approach to moving to a zero emission fleet, including how the State Government will support bus operators to prepare for and manage the transition.
Victoria has already embarked on a $20 million Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) trial providing first hand insights to inform the smooth transition of almost 4,500 diesel buses, including 2,000 in regional Victoria to zero emissions.
The three-year trial sees six operators across Victoria introducing 52 zero emission buses into their fleets – 50 electric and two hydrogen – across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour.
Lessons from the ZEB trials are providing practical information such as depot charging needs and capacity, infrastructure and energy network requirements, environmental outcomes, customer expectations and commercial arrangements.
The trial is also fostering vital local industry partnerships and supporting local jobs – such as with energy providers and bus manufacturers – that will be needed to achieve an effective transition.
Ms Williams said that cutting emissions on the public transport network is critical to Victoria meeting its ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2045.
”These regional roundtables are another opportunity for government and industry to work together towards ensuring a successful fleet transition as we drive down pollution and remove noisy diesel buses from our public network for good.”