TSA supporting zero emissions bus trial in Melbourne‘s southeast

08 January 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read

A new emissions-free bus trial has commenced in Melbourne’s southeast as part of the Victorian government’s state-wide investigation into net zero public transport, with support from TSA.

Backed by a $20 million state government investment, the three-year trial will see eight electric buses operate on routes out of the Oakleigh Depot in the southeast of Melbourne, aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of what is Australia’s third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the transport sector presently accounts for close to a fifth of the nation’s total emissions, while also being the fastest-growing segment.

TSA supporting zero emissions bus trial in Melbourne‘s southeast

Meeting overall state and federal net zero targets over the next 25 years will require the sector to undertake a radical transformation, with the trial presenting a key opportunity for exploration and industry collaboration.

In an effort to support the Victorian government’s pledge that all new public transport buses are to be zero emission from 2025, the trial will before the transition seek to determine an efficient investment and delivery pathway by testing a number of different technologies under normal operating conditions. The emerging technologies to be trialled include battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.

Commencing in November, the first of the battery-electric buses has been deployed on routes 630 and 601, the latter noted as one of Melbourne’s busiest and most frequent bus services, and will cover several train stations together with Monash University in Clayton. The route was selected to gain a better understanding of the customer and operational impacts on a high-frequency, high-capacity service.

The zero emissions bus trial will further examine the operational needs and requirements of on-route charging to maintain the range of the fleet, having installed additional charging infrastructure at the Monash interchange alongside that fitted at the Oakleigh Depot.

According to the team leading the trial, the net zero buses will not only lower emissions, but also improve customer experience courtesy of reduced noise and vibration.

In addition to TSA, other trial partners include land transport operator ComfortDelGro, along with Volvo, Engie, Volgren and Monash University. For TSA’s part, the consultancy has provided strategic and bid development support during the tendering phase, and will now assist the trial partners with operational readiness, assurance and project support, led by a five-strong team of experts.

“As a relatively new technology, there isn’t a great deal of existing information about the practicalities of running, powering and maintaining zero emissions buses on a busy network,” TSA said of its role. “There was also the added complexity of the local manufacture of these new types of buses. We have been the glue that brought together the bus operator, charging infrastructure and bus manufacturer.”

As to ensuring operational readiness, TSA has been busy with handover management, staff development, service planning, business integration, and customer service among other activities. The firm states that these requirements were first identified in collaboration with key stakeholders, before then being tracked to completion with supporting monitoring tools and a management framework.