The first 40 of 80 buses propelled by compressed natural gas (CNG) was introduced to the public on Tuesday, at the Molefe Makinta station in Church Square.
The fleet will be the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa said this proved the metro was committed to becoming a green capital.
“As leaders we have been discussing the effects of climate change. By introducing this new fleet, the metro is contributing towards addressing that.
“The new buses will cost 40% less to maintain than the conventional diesel buses and this means the metro will save much needed revenue to channel towards improved and quality service delivery,” he said.
The roll-out of CNG buses is part of the metro’s commitment to providing an efficient transport service and transforming the existing system into a more sustainable form of transport, said Ramokgopa.
“CNG buses have many benefits compared to diesel buses because they release fewer gaseous emissions and are environmentally friendly. They make less noise and have lower maintenance costs than vehicles powered by hydrocarbon fuel,” he said.
“We are also expecting delivery of seven 18-metre articulated buses in January and 40 CNG buses between November and January,” Ramokgopa said.
He added that it was hoped when the entire fleet was delivered, more people would opt for public transport instead of using their personal cars.
Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Dr Ismail Vadi said the province was excited at the steps taken by the Tshwane metro to promote an integrated public transport system.
“The province wants to pioneer an ecomobile future.
“Johannesburg recently hosted the EcoMobility world festival and Tshwane has followed suit with a more sustainable and eco-friendly transport system.
“This is our way of contributing towards cleaner cities,” said Vadi.
Vadi expressed disappointment the bus rapid transit system line 1A was yet to be completed.
“I hope the metro will move swiftly to complete this phase because the province has a vision to have an integrated transport system that eliminates the invisible [city] borders. Therefore over the next few years, the various bus rapid transit systems will be expanding to enable a Tshwane A Re Yeng cardholder to travel to Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni using the same card,” he said.
Takalani Bruce Mukhola, dealer principal at Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles in Zandfontein said the new buses were built on a 12 metre rigid Mercedes-Benz chassis powered by a 8.9 litre engine that surpassed European standards.
A CNG bus carries 33 seated passengers and 44 standing.
“The CNG buses will be easily identified by the dome on the roof. That dome is not just for good looks because under this cover, there are five gas cylinders, giving the bus a range of approximately 350 kilometres [to a tank],” he said, adding that Mercedes Benz SA would continue working with the metro to ensure the buses were maintained and kept in optimal condition.
Like the conventional A Re Yeng buses, the new fleet will also have free Tshwane Wi-Fi on board.
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