Dopravný Podnik Bratislava (DPB), the capital’s public transport operator, is to become the first carrier in Slovakia to operate a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses. The Investment Ministry (MIRRI, which acts as the governing body of the Integrated Regional Operational Programme - IROP), approved the project for the purchase of low-emission buses for the capital and signed an agreement with DPB on a non-refundable financial contribution, DPB spokesperson Martin Chlebovec reported.
Buses currently provide more than half of public transport in Bratislava and the DPB bus fleet is the biggest in Slovakia. The company is therefore looking for ways to reduce its emissions and at the same time make its operations more efficient. Acquisition of hydrogen buses means that its bus fleet should become even greener.
DPB plans to order the first four hydrogen buses from the Polish company Solaris Bus & Coach. The company successfully bid €24.4 million to supply 40 buses. The first four buses could start operating in Bratislava by next autumn.
“Hydrogen technology brings perspective to planning public transport in the future,” said Martin Rybanský, chairman of the board of directors of DPB, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “Compared with electric buses, the advantage of these vehicles is longer range, but also faster refuelling.”
Rybanský hopes that DPB will be a pioneer in this technology, which he described as having real ecological potential for the future, and will inspire other cities.
Half of DPB’s current vehicle fleet is classified as low-emission (comprising electric, CNG-powered and diesel-powered buses that meet the strict Euro 6 standard). The company is among the leaders in Slovakia and the Czech Republic in terms of the number of kilometres it services using electric buses. In terms of efficiency, however, the new hydrogen buses should have an advantage: they can travel more than 350 kilometres on one tank of fuel and can thus entirely replace existing diesel buses in round-the-clock operation.