Bus Éireann Achieves 470,000 Emission-Free Kilometres in 2022
Investments by the National Transport Authority in new zero and low-emission vehicles and a return to pre-pandemic passenger numbers has seen 470,000 emission-free kilometres delivered by Bus Éireann in 2022, according to the company’s second Annual Sustainability Report.
The Annual Sustainability Report 2022, published today, outlines the progress made by Ireland’s national bus company towards meeting the ambitious targets set out in its 2021 Sustainability Strategy.
The company operates 61 hybrid buses on routes in the cities of Galway and Limerick. It also operates the only three hydrogen buses in Ireland on Dublin commuter routes and introduced Ireland’s first all-electric town bus service in Athlone in January. All of these zero or low-emission vehicles are provided by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The 61 hybrid buses, which comprise the entire Galway city fleet and half of the Limerick city fleet, delivered 415,000 kilometres emission-free last year. The three hydrogen buses operating on Route 105x between Dublin and Ratoath, Co Meath achieved 55,000 kilometres emission-free in the same period.
Stephen Kent, Chief Executive of Bus Éireann, said, “Bus Éireann, as Ireland’s national bus company is leading the drive to make Ireland’s bus network more sustainable, and in doing so, to convince travellers to choose public transport over private cars. We continue to prioritise climate action with the ambition of halving our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This year, we expect to reach the crucial milestone of delivering over 1 million emission-free kilometres.”
“By achieving 89.5 million passenger journeys in 2022, and with a record 151,000 students travelling on school transport each day, we are living our values of connecting people in cities, towns and villages across Ireland. Crucially, we are doing so on an increasingly more sustainable basis, and in line with the Government’s Climate Action Plan commitments.”
“Looking ahead to 2023, we will continue to advance climate action in everything that we do. In January of this year, we launched Ireland’s first fully electric town bus service in Athlone, a Pathfinder project, supported by the NTA and the Department of Transport. We have made progress on important sustainability projects in energy and alternative fuels thanks to the support of the CIÉ Sustainability Fund. Later this year, we will deploy 20 new double-deck electric vehicles in our Limerick city fleet, completing the transition of our Limerick city services to 100% zero or low-emission vehicles.”
“Bus Éireann currently provides the option of zero or low-emission transport to over 200,000 people across Ireland. Furthermore, we are also proud that our customer satisfaction rate stands at 91% for the last six months of 2022.”
Among Bus Éireann’s other key achievements outlined in the Annual Sustainability Report 2022 are a 22.2% improvement in the company’s Energy Performance Indicator. This is calculated as a percentage of the total energy used by the organisation per available seat kilometre.
Last year saw the conclusion of phase one of the redevelopment of Bus Éireann’s Roxboro Road bus depot and maintenance facility in Limerick, which has been built to Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standard. More energy efficient LED lighting has also been installed at five of the company’s depots, with further projects planned for 2023.
In 2022, total passenger numbers increased by 56% on 2021. Bus Éireann operated or contracted more than 225 million service kilometres last year across road passenger and school transport services. It operates the school transport scheme on behalf of the Department of Education, which now carries a record 151,000 children each school day, including 17,500 Special Educational Needs (SEN) students.
Bus Éireann also added 1.7 million additional kilometres of new services in 2022, funded by the NTA. A stand-out performer is the company’s Navan town bus service. Following recent NTA investment, it has seen a 750% increase in passenger numbers since 2019.
The company also saw 19.5% of its waste recycled last year. This is a substantial increase from 7%. However, it recognises that it must do more to further improve recycling rates across its 17 locations nationwide.
Bus Éireann has recently been awarded the Business Working Responsibly Mark by Business in the Community (BITC) and is the first road transport operator to achieve this recognition. The Mark, which is held by fewer than 50 organisations in Ireland, is a sustainability certification audited by the NSAI and is considered the standard for excellence in sustainability and corporate social responsibility for companies in Ireland.
Tomás Sercovich, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said, “sustainable, affordable and inclusive public transport is at the heart of the transformation we need for Ireland. We are delighted that Bus Éireann has achieved certification to the Business Working Responsibly Mark, demonstrating the strength of their management systems across Economic, Environmental, Social and Governance topics. Bus Éireann is leading major change in its fleet and its practices to bring communities together, help achieve our climate targets and ensure inclusion across every level of the organisation. I commend the leadership for their determination and hope this certification will enable further change.”
Other highlights of the Annual Sustainability Report 2022 include:
- The publication of Bus Éireann’s Gender Pay Gap report which indicated a mean Gender Pay Gap of 10.2% in favour of female employees.
- The extension of the Transport for Ireland (TFI) Travel Assistance Scheme for people with disabilities or limited mobility to Cork public transport services.
- Enhanced accessibility projects completed in Athlone, Ballina, Killarney and Waterford bus stations.
- A 15% reduction in employee accident rates, versus 2021.
- Providing free travel for Ukrainian refugees from the point of arrival and delivering over 4,000 new school transport places for Ukrainian children.
Bus Éireann employs 2,800 people, across 17 locations from 46 different countries. The company operates 1,100 vehicles across 5,000 bus stops around the country and in 2022, facilitated 89.5 million passenger journeys across 225 million kilometres.
Source: Bus Éireann