Public transport in Limburg (Netherlands) must be fully electric by 2026. This goal of the Province of Limburg is now yet another step closer. With the delivery of 55 electric regional buses, VDL Bus & Coach is working with transport company Arriva on the transition towards zero-emission bus transport.
From 30 June 2019, 20 VDL Citeas LLE-115 Electric will begin operating from Maastricht. 20 will also be deployed by Sittard for regional service, along with 10 by Venlo-Venray and 5 by Heerlen.
“We are proud that, as a partner of Arriva, we have developed a bus that will also run electrically outside the city,” said Ard Romers, director of VDL Bus & Coach Nederland bv. “The bus in question is the recently introduced 11.5-metre length variant, with more seats. For us, this will be the largest regional operation to date. That is very special. On an annual basis, it will be around 100,000 kilometres per bus.”
Arriva Limburg is the first public transport company in the Netherlands to use electric buses for regional lines on a large scale. Romers added, “The concept is based on the very positive experience we have had with Arriva in Venlo, where our 9.9-metre-long electric city buses have been running without problems since 2016. For regional transport in Limburg, we will be using a lightweight bus. The vehicles have 42 comfortable seats facing the direction of travel and a capacity of approximately 65 passengers. The action radius is ensured with 180 kWh batteries, which can also be charged very quickly. This makes it easy for the buses to travel over 400 kilometres a day.”
Arriva and VDL Bus & Coach began the cooperation in 2016, when twelve electric buses were put in service in Venlo and four ZE buses on one city line in Maastricht. A further step followed when, in December 2018, the other city lines in Maastricht were also electrified, with an additional 24 VDL buses.
Anne Hettinga, Chair of the board of directors of Arriva Netherlands, said, “As Arriva Netherlands, we are now taking this step towards electric transport in the region. It is unique in that quiet, clean, comfortable transport is no longer only available for the traveller in the city. Due to the longer distances travelled, comfort is extra important for the regional traveller. In addition to the emphasis on action radius, we also asked for a low entry bus in which many passengers can travel seated in the direction of travel. The low entry and raised rear floor result in flexible layout of the bus seating arrangement.”
From the end of June, Arriva will have 95 zero-emission buses in service for public transport in Limburg. This is nearly half of Arriva’s fleet in the province. “We feel it is important that we continue to make the most of our knowledge and expertise as a European frontrunner in the field of e-mobility,” said Ard Romers, Director of VDL Bus & Coach Nederland bv. Since the introduction of the first Citea SLF-120 Electric in 2013, VDL Bus & Coach has focused strongly on electric mobility.
In the Netherlands, VDL Bus & Coach is the frontrunner in the field of public transport electrification, for concessions such as South-East Brabant (Eindhoven), South-East Friesland and Limburg. The order of e-buses for Amstelland Meerlanden’s electric bus fleet is still the largest order for VDL Bus & Coach, and with 100 e-buses is the largest electric bus fleet within a single operation in Europe.