Acquiring local public transport buses which run on compressed natural gas

One of the programmes from which the transport authority had the theoretical opportunity to draw on funds is the Operational Programme Environment, which is supported by the EU Cohesion Fund. A call for proposals was announced as part of this programme at the beginning of 2014 with a total allocation of over CZK 1 billion for the modernisation of the fleet of buses which run on CNG. The fundamental conditions of the call were that the vehicles being modified must be more than 10 years old, must have EURO 0 – EURO 3 engines and must have driven more than 500 thousand km.

The transport authority already had a project for the transfer of some buses to CNG prepared, slowly beginning to carry out the project using its own resources. By the end of 2013, then, one of the most up-to-date filling stations was in operation at the Slatina bus depot and Brno Public Transport Authority (DPMB) had bought 12 buses that run on CNG. The call for proposals was a chance to speed up the modernisation process. A grant project application was therefore compiled and subsequently approved by the State Environmental Fund.

56 IVECO Urbanway 12m CNG buses and 32 SOR NBG 12 CNG buses were then bought in 2015 as part of the project. All the older buses that were replaced were subsequently liquidated in an environmentally-friendly way in line with the requirement of the call for proposals.

The low-entry Urbanway CNG bus is 12 metres long as standard. The buses are made in Vysoké Mýto by IVECO CZ and are the successors of Citelis buses, which DPMB also runs. In contrast to the older model, Urbanway buses are characterised by their new design, particularly of the front and rear ends, and the sophisticated layout inside the bus.

The low-entry SOR NBG 12 CNG buses are 12.2 metres in length. These are made by SOR Libchavy spol. s r.o. and are also used (in diesel version) by the transport authorities in such places as Prague and Bratislava. The buses bought, primarily intended for local public transport, are fitted with four doors to allow passengers to board and alight quicker.

Both types of vehicle are driven by IVECO Cursor CNG ignition engines with cubic capacity of 7,800 ccm and automatic ZF Ecolife transmission. The engine, fitted crosswise in the rear of the vehicle, complies with EURO 6 emission limits. Four longitudinally fitted CNG tanks are placed on the roof of the vehicle, meaning it can run for up to 500 km on one filling of CNG.

All these buses are fitted with modern outside information panels with LED technology and inside LCD monitors, which display all practical information for passengers from the on-board computer, including pictures and videos. The seats inside are plastic, in line with the global trend in recent years – these seats ensure better hygiene and are easier to maintain.

The total grant from Operational Programme Environment in Priority Axis 2 – Improving air quality and reducing emissions, with which Brno Public Transport Authority was able to buy 88 new low-entry buses running on CNG, came to CZK 394,144,034.