The Barbados Transport Board now has 10 additional electric buses, which brings its electric vehicle fleet to 59.
The buses, which were procured under the Ministry of Energy and Business’ Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund II), were taken from the Port of Bridgetown to the Weymouth Depot, last Friday.
Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Business, Keisha Reid, explained that the Sustainable Energy Investment Programme is geared towards implementing a number of renewable energy and energy efficient initiatives to help the public sector become more energy efficient and sustainable, as well as enhance Barbados’ competitive position.
“It also seeks to reduce Barbados’ fossil fuel usage through the piloting of fully battery electric buses as part of the fleet of the Barbados Transport Board. We have purchased 10 electric buses – five large buses and five medium-sized buses to manoeuvre on our smaller roads.
“Electric vehicles offer an opportunity for Government to significantly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels for transportation and meet overall policy objectives. This is especially true of high-use vehicles, such as the buses of the Transport Board,” Ms. Reid said.
The Sustainable Energy Investment Programme (Smart Fund II) is being co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through a US$30 million loan, and a European Union (EU) grant of €13.26 million.
IDB Country Representative in Barbados, Viviana Alva Hart, said the procurement of the buses showed Government’s commitment to building a greener future.
Ms. Hart continued: “The addition of these electric buses is about not only increasing the use of new technologies, but also demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Barbados to building a greener and more sustainable future for the country.
“The IDB is proud to be a regional leader in decarbonisation, including transportation through electromobility. Through the financing and support of this project, we continue to invest in the environmental sustainability of the Caribbean, fostering innovation, and creating new opportunities for the local workforce.“
An EU official stated that the European Union was honoured to partner with the Ministry of Energy and Business and the IDB in supporting the Transport Board in the further electrification of its bus fleet.
The spokesperson added: “The EU commends the work being done by the Government of Barbados, which has become a leader in the region in the electrification of its bus fleet. The inclusion of these 10 buses to the existing electric fleet will allow the Government to further reduce its consumption of fossil fuels in the transportation sector, while enhancing energy resilience in the public sector.”
The official from the Barbados Transport Board stated: “In 2019, when the decision to purchase electric buses was made, it was new technology and we were all learning how this would affect the public transport industry in Barbados. What was not at that time envisioned was how it would contribute to the country’s position as it relates to addressing the issues associated with climate change.”
The representative continued: “The Government’s commitment to achieving sustainable energy, and by extension the Transport Board’s efforts in creating an operational environment that utilises as much as possible clean energy, is seen here with the addition of these 10 buses. The Barbados Transport Board is pleased to have been one of the recipients of funding from the SMART Energy Fund that allows us to continue to work towards that goal.”
The Ministry of Energy and Business contracted Megapower Limited in a joint venture with BYD de Panamá S.A. to import the buses, which were manufactured in China.