Cape Town company to manufacture green MyCiTi buses


Cape Town, 05 February 2015 - MyCiti bus drivers are on strike for a second day now over union disputes.

CAPE TOWN – The City of Cape Town has awarded the tender for the procurement of battery-powered electric buses and ancillary equipment for the MyCiTi service to BYD SA Company, the city announced on Sunday.

“Apart from lowering our carbon emissions, local residents will also benefit from this contract through job opportunities as the buses will be assembled locally and the bus bodies will in part be manufactured locally,” mayor Patricia de Lille said.

Since its inception in May 2010, the MyCiTi service had significantly improved the quality of life of residents, providing access to affordable, decent, and safe public transport.

More than 53-million passenger journeys had been recorded on the MyCiTi service to date, with a more than 1,7-million passenger journeys for last month alone.

“As we extend the footprint of the MyCiTi service across the city, we also have the responsibility to lower our carbon emissions and the impact of pollution on the urban environment,” De Lille said.

As such, the city had proceeded with a pilot project to expand the current fleet of diesel buses with 10 electric vehicles. A tender for the procurement of a fleet of low-floor electric buses was advertised in February this year and awarded last month.

“The procurement of the electric buses affirms our commitment made at COP21 in Paris where I committed to ensure that the City of Cape Town takes decisive action and pursues ambitious climate action projects that are not only beneficial to residents but most importantly, the environment,” she said.

“Our Energy2040 goals include a shift from private to public transport, with increased access to public transport, reduced travel time, and the use of more efficient vehicles with higher occupancy levels. Alternative fuel for public transport is no longer a choice, but a prerequisite.

“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of electric buses ahead of International Climate Day of Action tomorrow [Monday], October 24.”

As a member of the C40 Cities, Cape Town had committed to working with other member cities to take action to address climate change and build low-carbon, resource-efficient cities.

The electric buses would be assembled locally in Blackheath.

The contractor would employ local staff and would have to source some of the bus components from local suppliers. This would provide residents with job opportunities and the chance to learn new skills, De Lille said.

“We are excited about the prospect of exposing our local labour to new technology on the factory floor, in particular given the fact that more and more cities are becoming conscious of our collective duty to explore cleaner energy alternatives.”

The purpose of the pilot project was to evaluate the benefits of battery-powered electric buses as an alternative fuel option for the MyCiTi bus fleet which was to grow significantly over the next decade.

Apart from the buses, BYD SA was required to provide the city with ancillary components such as the charging stations for the buses and data management systems, as well as provide spare parts, technical support and training for the bus drivers and mechanical staff, fleet maintenance services, and replacement of the energy storage system (battery) when required.

The value of the contract was R126-million, which included provision for the buses, ancillary equipment, services, and training, and would be partly offset by the income generated from selling carbon credits. The MyCiTi service is expected to start taking delivery of the buses in June next year.

“With that, Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the use of electricity as an alternative fuel technology for its bus fleet. We are really looking forward to this day,” De Lille said.

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