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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 February 2018) . . Page.. 275 ..

our carbon emissions. We know that, come 2020 when we are 100 per cent powered by renewable electricity that one of the most significant sectors of emissions will be transport. Public transport is only a very small percentage of that, but we think the government can lead by demonstrating an investment in electric vehicles. We have some opportunities with electric buses. We are very much exploring those.

MS LE COUTEUR: Will the 40 buses still to come be carbon neutral? What is the timetable for the entire ACTION fleet to be operationally carbon neutral?

MS FITZHARRIS: It is certainly an objective that we have, to improve the carbon neutrality of our transport bus fleet. We know of course that light rail will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. It is certainly an important part. As I indicated in my portfolio priority statement today, the update of our transport for Canberra strategy is being developed in close consultation with ministers Gentleman and Rattenbury, particularly as it relates to both the planning strategy and the important climate change strategy. It is an objective to continue to bring down emissions from our public transport fleet.

The other important note is that we purchased the 40 buses this year in order to roll out, two years ahead of schedule, nine rapid public transport routes across Canberra. We needed to do that in order to bring these rapid bus services on line even sooner than we had originally committed to. We very much look forward to that happening later this year. But it is worthwhile noting that purchasing electric buses is one part of the equation; another important part of the equation is having the depot facilities to both maintain and recharge electric buses. That is one of the more significant components of considering more electric buses in our fleet.

MR STEEL: Minister, can you update the Assembly on the progress of the electric bus trial?

MS FITZHARRIS: Yes. I would be delighted to. We have seen them around the city. One of the buses, in fact, says, ā€œIā€™m electric.ā€ It is pretty obvious. It is a wonderful ride. Hopefully many people across Canberra have had the opportunity. As of 1 January there have been over 20,000 boardings on the buses that have joined, as part of the trial, the Transport Canberra fleet.

Importantly, the electric bus obviously does not use fuel. The hybrid bus has used only 4,000 litres of diesel in its first couple of months of operation, which is four times less than an ordinary bus. We also know that they have performed pretty well across the fleet. There has been a limited amount of unscheduled maintenance and only a very small number of breakdowns.

There is obviously work to do to understand how we can incorporate them into the fleet, how we have the staff with the skills to maintain the buses. I have had anecdotal feedback from people that they love catching an electric bus. They love how smooth it is to ride in. They love how quiet it is ride in. So we are really keen to see the results of this trial and continue improving our fleet.

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