De Lijn scraps electric bus project in Ghent due to problems with charging stations
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De Lijn scraps electric bus project in Ghent due to problems with charging stations

The city of Ghent has denied De Lijn permission to set up charging stations for its electric buses in the city. Credit: Belga.

The public transport company De Lijn has scrapped its electric bus pilot project in Ghent after it was unable to secure charging stations in the city.

In 2017, De Lijn announced a pilot project involving the introduction of around 20 electric buses, which need to be charged at charging stations several times per day, across the cities of Ghent, Leuven and Antwerp. The public transport company expected that the first passengers would be able to use electric buses by the end of 2019.

De Lijn, however, has been unable to secure permission to set up charging stations in Ghent, which were planned for the Ghelamco Stadium and the Blaarmeersen sports and recreation park.

It is a shame that the Ghent city council “is not putting more weight in to deliver the necessary permits,” De Lijn said, reports De Morgen.

The decision is “incomprehensible and unexpected,” said Alderman for mobility Filip Watteeuw. “De Lijn was in talks with Ghelamco about placing charging infrastructure near the stadium, but apparently those talks have ended,” he added.

Despite De Lijn’s decision to scrap the project in Ghent, it is expected to go ahead in Leuven and Antwerp.

In Leuven, the first electric buses are expected to be in operation by the beginning of 2020, while in Antwerp the buses are expected to be in operation sometime in the second quarter of the year.

“According to the information I now receive from De Lijn, a too high fee was apparently be charged for the use of the land at the Ghelamco Arena. De Lijn should have let me know sooner, then we might have been able to mediate and find a solution,” said Watteeuw.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

Correction: A previous version of this story said Ghent denied the permits to de Lijn

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