Brno, the seat of judicial authority of the Czech Republic, has taken delivery of its first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. The city’s public transportation company DPMB (Dopravní podnik mìsta Brna), received the first eight articulated Solaris Urbino 18 (18 meter) buses late May. The buses will commence operations in July.
100 Solaris low-floor CNG buses are planned, with full delivery anticipated for late 2014-early 2015. Each bus has a passenger capacity of 156, of which 42 are seated. The buses will fill from the Slatina depot, which is now under construction.
DPMB has purchased the first 12 buses from its own funds (CZK 72 million, USD 3.56 million) and the construction of a filling station (CZK 50m, USD 2.48m). Successful completion of the CNG project is dependent on obtaining a CZK 394 million (USD 19.5m) grant from the EU Environmental Operational Programme under Priority Axis 2.
DPMB general director Miloš Havranek explained that, with funding in place, almost half of the 306 buses in the fleet will be able to be retired. Adding the Solaris Urbino 18 will also increase the number of low-floor buses to 67%.
The Euro V-compliant buses replace an ageing fleet of diesel buses, none of which exceed Euro III, and are expected to make a significant difference to air pollution in the city.