The Flemish government’s climate plan also focuses on greening public transport. “Passenger cars, delivery vans, trucks and also the electrification of De Lijn’s fleet and its tenants is an important link,” says Flemish Public Transport Minister Lydia Peters (Open Vld). In order to prepare in public transport, an investment vehicle will be developed in which 65 million euros will be available annually from 2023.
Currently, 65 percent of all trips are made by car, according to the latest “Onderzoek Verplaatsingsgedrag Vlaanderen”. “If we want to get people out of the car, we must focus on sustainable alternatives such as bicycle infrastructure and better and more sustainable public transportation,” Minister Peters said in a press release.
On top of De Lane’s €145 million annual fixed investment grant, Minister Peters is providing an additional €55 million or 38 per cent annually from his own resources. After the climate talks, €65 million will be added annually via an investment vehicle to achieve the greening of De Lijn and its tenants. Methods for this still need work. We are also looking for alternative financing through, for example, a climate loan from the European Investment Bank.
In addition to the 60 e-buses De Lijn will order this year, 30.5 million euros will be ordered next year for hybrid e-articulated buses and three depots will be equipped to receive e-buses. Since the range of articulated buses is not large enough, we have to refer to electronic hybrids. “Once the range of e-buses becomes large enough, electric buses will be purchased just for this purpose,” Peters says.
De Lijn has completed an e-bus program with three pillars: greening its own fleet (2,327 buses), greening its charterer fleet (1,720 buses) and adapting De Lijn warehouses to the associated freight infrastructure. For its own fleet, that means De Lijn will grow steadily to 73 e-buses next year, 178 in 2024, 332 in 2025, and 512 e-buses in 2026.
“By working with and facilitating renters and allowing them to drive more than one kilometer, we can speed up the greening process,” Minister Peters says. As a public company, De Lijn is bound by the European public tender procedure, which often takes months. Tenants do not adhere to this, and therefore can make the decision more quickly. The result is that De Lijn itself will drive fewer kilometers with its buses in the future and the charterers, who already make an average of 40 per cent of all trips, will take a larger share to where Europe allows.
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