Government move on bus changes welcomed

Auckland Transport applauds the Government announcement of a $50 million fund for buses powered by electricity, hydrogen or other sources that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The fund, announced by the Prime Minister, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Climate Change Minister James Shaw today, is spread over four years and is to support regional councils and Auckland Transport to upgrade bus fleets.

Transport makes up about 20 per cent of New Zealand's domestic greenhouse gas emissions and is the fastest growing source.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff welcomes the funding. "In Auckland, transport emissions account for more than 40 per cent of greenhouse emissions so transitioning to a zero-emissions bus network is an important part of our efforts to tackle climate change.

"We look forward to receiving a proportionate level of funding which will enable us to bring forward our plans to electrify the bus fleet. Our goal is to cease purchasing diesel buses from this year, which is four years earlier than was originally planned."

The government says it will require that only zero emissions buses be purchased by 2025 and will target decarbonising the public transport bus fleet by 2035.

The Government will also introduce a Clean Car Import Standard to reduce emissions and Kiwis' fuel costs.

AT chair Adrienne Young-Cooper says today's announcements are in line with Auckland's strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% (by 2030).

"As individuals, as communities and as organisations we all have a vital part to play in tackling climate change," she says. "But initiatives like those announced today are the big policy shifts which make a real difference, quickly.

"We are no longer talking about climate change being something for future generations to tackle. It is real, it is here, and we must address it now."

Auckland Transport is now looking to bring the phase out of diesel buses forward to 2030. Completing the transition by 2030 would reduce Auckland's public transport carbon emissions to just over 10% of the 93,000 tonnes it was emitting in 2019.

"Conversion of the bus fleet makes obvious improvements to air quality, but it also reduces noise in and around our neighbourhoods," says Mrs Young-Cooper.

The Auckland bus fleet currently has 18 electric buses including nine which this week started on the new AirportLink service, providing key transport connections between Manukau and Auckland Airport, via Papatoetoe.

Another 12 electric buses are due in Auckland in the next few weeks for the City Link bus services. Two more will join the six now operating on Waiheke Island and the country's first hydrogen cell bus is also due for delivery next month.