Barbados’ fleet of electric buses has grown by 14 with the arrival last Saturday of the latest batch.
On Tuesday, before making his way into Parliament, Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Ian Gooding-Edghill disclosed that the additional electric buses will soon be added to the fleet at the Transport Board, bringing the total to 49, making it the largest fleet of its kind in the Caribbean.
He said the vehicles are currently at the Bridgetown Port and will soon be transported to a secure location where mirrors will be installed before the vehicles are insured and licensed.
“As you are aware, we had ordered 33 in the first batch of buses, and an additional two that arrived in the island as part of a Smart Energy Programme earlier this year brought the total to 35. With the procurement of an additional 14 units, we will now have a fleet of 49 electric buses,” said Gooding-Edghill.
“Obviously it’s the largest fleet of electric buses in the Caribbean and we will continue to do what we have to do at the Transport Board to ensure that we maintain the buses in accordance with the specification from the manufacturer.”
The Minister explained that the last 14 buses to arrive were part of a previous order and therefore there was no additional cost to the Transport Board.
“That was a cost that we already budgeted for when we took the decision two years ago to go the route of electric vehicles,” he said.
Gooding-Edghill said the 49 vehicles and the electrical infrastructure are valued at $42 million.
He disclosed that there has been one major accident involving an electric bus, but gave the assurance that the Transport Board’s management is working with the designated service provider on the island to ensure repairs are carried out.
Gooding-Edghill said while accidents will happen occasionally, he was generally happy with how the drivers have been operating the vehicles.
“But the buses are doing a lot of mileage. The batteries are still in good working order, and we are working with the maintenance provider on the island to ensure that those buses continue to perform, and to perform well,” he said.