Tranzurban at environmental forefront as Green Gold award winner

Staff & Operators Sustainability & Technology

Green, clean and reliable – was the message that shined through as Metlink operator Tranzurban won the Green Gold category at this year’s Wellington Gold Awards for its ongoing commitment to an environmentally friendly fleet.

As the first company to introduce electric battery powered double decker vehicles to Wellington Central, a first in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s not surprising Tranzurban’s sustainable fleet is achieving recognition. Already the fleet includes 10 EVDD and 225 Euro 6 diesel buses, which all meet the highest global emission standards.

By the end of 2022, 31 new locally built double-decker electric buses (EVDDs) will enter into service across Wellington.

Metlink general manager, Scott Gallacher says, “It’s wonderful to have one of our key operators win the Green Gold category, it recognises Tranzurban and Metlink’s desire to find innovative ways to create a healthier and resilient future.

“Metlink’s strengthened EV fleet will reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, create a smoother, quieter and more reliable experience for customers while providing valuable upskilling opportunities for our drivers.”

Metlink’s EV fleet sits at 10 and will grow to an impressive 108 buses in the next few years. These modern vehicles will eventually take 61 diesel buses off the roads, driving a 17 percent drop in carbon emissions and a similar reduction in harmful emissions.

Transport and operations director of Tranzit, Tranzurban’s parent company, Keven Snelgrove says with the EVDD fleet’s environmental benefits already shining through, the wheels have been set in motion to further expand their sustainable fleet.

“This hard-earned win signals what we can achieve and fuels our aspiration to make our region leaders in sustainable transport. But we’re not resting on our laurels, we’ve already secured $484,708 of funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Tranzit will contribute the same amount for our specific project –  to convert two of our double-decker diesel buses to electric, which will be a first in New Zealand.

“While our specialist team continue working on the conversion process, we’re looking at other sources of funding from central government and other sources, so we can get even more diesels converted,” says Mr Snelgrove.

EVs play a vital role in reducing harmful emissions that are emitted from petrol and diesel run vehicles, while ensuring an efficient and reliable experience for customers.

“Our EVDD fleet regularly travels over 2000km in a single day, meaning we save around 1300 litres of diesel and prevent some 3.54 tonnes of CO2 entering Wellington’s atmosphere every day,” says Mr Snelgrove.

Tranzurban’s next generation of 31 EVDDs coming to Wellington roads can safely carry 70 seated passengers and up to 24 standees, boasting climate controlled air-con to enhance the customer’s comfort and larger battery capacity.

Thanks to clever adaptions made by mechanics to the EVDDs’ charging mechanisms these smart double deckers can charge faster – providing the power to run on schedule and manoeuvre around Wellington city’s high density areas and hilly, tight roads.

“With areas like Lambton Quay which has some of the worst air quality data in the country and is a high density area, it’s a double win that we can provide cleaner transport solutions that are smarter for urban environments.

“We’re dedicated to finding smarter, safer ways to meet the growing population and demands for sustainable methods of getting about, so it is really rewarding to see our innovative partnerships receiving recognition,” adds Mr Snelgrove.

The introduction of cleaner transport solutions is integral to Greater Wellington’s goal of achieving carbon zero by 2030.