A fleet of electric buses that was imported by the government of Barbados officially became operational on Saturday, crucially revamping the island nation’s public transportation system. Numbering 33, the vehicles are also the first and largest fleet of electric buses currently in the Caribbean, according to Barbados Today.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony in Wildey, St Michael, the country’s Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources, Ian Gooding Edghill, said the new additions to the country’s fleet will significantly augment the availability of buses to commuters and also mitigate their daily woes in accessing them.
“The training commenced on July 15 and the deployment of the units will occur from today. I must inform you that the purchase of these buses is not only a policy initiative geared towards alleviating the current public transportation challenges that confronts the Board.
“It also prepares the country for the future as such the training included not just the drivers but was expensive and expansive and included drivers, technicians, fire service personnel, ambulance service personnel and existing partners of the Transport Board such as UCAL and the Barbados Defence Force personnel,” said Edghill.
Edghill also said the procurement of the buses, which were purchased from Chinese automotive company Build Your Own Dreams (BYD), reiterates the government’s commitment to going green while improving the island nation’s public transportation system, Barbados Advocate reports.
“With the enunciation of the Barbados National Energy Policy and Government’s commitment to achieving sustainable energy by 2030, it was evident that the government of Barbados was committed to creating a clean environment, which will enhance the health of its citizens, through the utilisation of renewable every as the alternative to fossil fuels,” Edghill said.
He continued: “As part of that commitment, the Cabinet of Barbados mandated the purchase of a number of electric buses, to augment the ageing rolling fleet of the Transport Board. The decision was grounded in the fact that it had become apparent that even with an aggressive repair and maintenance programme, the challenge of not having purchased any buses since 2006, some 14 year ago, had drastically reduced the available rolling fleet.”
“This occurrence created an untenable situation, whereby the travelling public and in particular, pensioners and school children, found it difficult to travel to their respective destinations. The untenable situation also had far reaching consequences for productivity in the economy and by extension the economic landscape of the island,” Edghill revealed, adding that the purchase was also strategically cost-effective.
“Certainly, we anticipate that we will also see significant savings in fuel costs and maintenance costs, coupled with a reduction in carbon emissions, as the electric buses do not carry as many moving parts and are fumes free. It should be noted that based on information provided by the Transport Board, had the Government purchased thirty-three diesel buses instead of electric buses, the fuel cost to operate the diesel units would be $264,000 per month or $3.16 million per year.”