Hungary launched the first round of the call for proposals of its Green Bus Programme, supporting the procurement of modern, sustainable and environment-friendly public transportation to settlements with a population of more than 25,000. In the framework of Hungary’s Climate and Environmental Protection Action Plan, the Green Bus Programme aims to support municipalities to replace their most polluting buses with electric ones, thus improving the quality of life in cities.
In order to phase out buses that are doing the most harm to the environment first, the Green Bus Program is based on a system in which the support intensity correlates with the emission standard of the buses to be replaced. Under the call, municipalities with a population of more than 25,000 can apply for a non-refundable grant of up to 50 per cent (depending on the emission standard of the buses to be replaced).
Under the supervision of the Hungarian Ministry for Innovation and Technology, the Programme is expected to run for 10-years with an overall budget of 36 billion Hungarian forints (100 million euros). For the period 2020-2021, 4,2 billion Hungarian forints (11,7 million euros) is available in the form of support. Eligible municipalities can now apply for funding until 4 February in the first round.
Besides the procurement of electric buses, one of the biggest challenges is the installation of the charging infrastructure. Therefore, the government subsidy can also be used for the development of charging infrastructure-related expenses.
Last year, as a kick-off for the Green Bus Programme three on-location demonstration pilot-projects were launched in three Hungarian cities (Debrecen, Békéscsaba and Nyíregyháza). Veronika Erős, who is leading the Green Bus Project Office, in charge of the implementation of the Green Bus Pilot Project told CEENERGYNEWS that the experience so far is very positive, with one charge the electric buses could remain in service all day, running around 200 kilometres each day. The demonstrations will continue in 2021 as well, testing more buses and charging possibilities.
In Hungary, the transport sector is accounting for 20 per cent of all CO2 emissions and road transport is responsible for 98 per cent of these emissions. Therefore, greening the transport system is crucial to achieving climate neutrality by the middle of the century, a commitment enshrined in Hungary’s climate law adopted last summer.
As part of this commitment and in the framework of the Green Bus Program all the new buses put into operation in settlements with a population over 25,000 must be electric starting from next year. Currently, there are 2900 buses in service all over Hungary, by the end of the Green Bus Programme in 2029, 1300-1400 of them should be replaced with e-buses.