Flemish public transport company De Lijn will order 44 articulated electric buses from Italian bus manufacturer Iveco. The delivery of the 18-meter-log buses is expected in the first quarter of 2025, representing a 33,47-million-euro investment.
The buses will be equipped with all modern amenities, such as USB chargers, extra-wide screens with stop indications, electric ramps, seats in recycled leather, and LED interior lighting.
Earlier this year, the company placed a similar order for 65 articulated e-buses. They are supposed to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2024. Both orders fit in a frame agreement De Lijn signed last year with Iveco. Bus builder VDL Roeselare was also in the competition for the order but missed out.
“De Lijn wants to green its fleet and drive emission-free in Flanders as quickly as possible,” Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters says. “We will continue to work on the complete greening of the bus fleet and the conversion of the depots, including the necessary charging infrastructure.”
Updating De Lijn’s fleet is a slow process compared to surrounding countries. At the beginning of this year, De Lijn still had buses that were 22 years old, and one in three buses was older than 15.
Director general of public transport company De Lijn, Ann Schoubs, recently made some critical statements in the media about the company’s inadequate financing. She called the outdated buses ‘cadavers’ and the underfunding ‘a rotting strategy’.
In response, Minister Peeters lashed out firmly at Schoubs, saying that the government had not saved on De Lijn and had kept its side of the agreements. De Lijn, however, is not achieving several objectives, such as efficiency and cleanliness.
Emission-free by 2035
There are currently 63 De Lijn electric buses in circulation. By 2027, there should be at least 567. The public service contract between De Lijn and the Flemish government states that just under 40% of the vehicles of De Lijn and the private operators the transport company works with must be electric. De Lijn aims to make its fleet – more than 2 000 buses – emission-free by 2035.
Today, De Lijn pays tens of thousands of euros in fines every year in Brussels because it enters the region with buses that are too polluting to meet the emission standards. In Antwerp and Ghent, stricter emission standards will come into effect from 2027, meaning that De Lijn will only be allowed to use emission-free buses there.