The head of the Brussels public transport company, STIB, Brieuc De Meeùs, and Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet on Tuesday presented the first standard-sized electric bus that will be used on the company’s network from 1 October. The bus will be used on the Line 13 route.
Four more electric buses of the same model have been ordered from Blue Bus, part of the Bolloré group. They are scheduled to arrive in October.
Like the standard STIB diesel-powered buses, the new electric buses will be 12 metres long, with a capacity of 68 passengers. In theory, they will be able to run for 16 hours on each charge.
For the STIB, which also inaugurated a new line with 7 midibuses linking uptown and downtown Brussels in early summer, the arrival of the Bolloré buses opens a new experimentation phase aimed at determining eventually which technology is best adapted to the Brussels network. By 2030, the STIB (Brussels Inter-communal Transport Company) will have switched entirely to electricity.
According to Pascal Smet, 25 articulated electric buses are expected by spring next year, bringing the total number of such buses operated by the STIB to 37 in 2019.
The STIB bus depot will be equipped with electric charging stations.
A standard electric bus costs 600,000 euros, which is much more than the price of a diesel bus. On the other hand, the electric buses cost less to maintain.
Brieuc de Meeùs stressed that opening up to electric technology forced the STIB to make changes to its operations, tests and analyses. Citing the example of the company’s mechanics, who currently manage its diesel fleet, he noted that in future they will have to become electricians.