July 07, 2022, 06:00:46 PM

Bus procurement after 2020

Started by Toyota Camry, October 12, 2020, 06:59:16 PM

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Toyota Camry

October 12, 2020, 06:59:16 PM Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 10:36:30 AM by Barry Drive
This Saturday is the 2020 ACT election, where we will elect the leaders of our territory for the next 4 years; the only logical option is to re-elect our excellent Barr Government, who will be continuing with the light rail to Woden, as well as preventing climate change by introducing an electric bus fleet.

Barry Drive

Following on from the election and the subsequent parliamentary agreement between Labor and The Greens, transport minister Chris Steel has just announced their plans for bus procurement for the next four years:

● In early 2021, they will tender for the lease of 34 low-floor buses with the intention of retiring all Renaults by the second half of 2021

● a "market sounding" has commenced regarding 90 electric buses; the intention is for them to commence from 2021-22 financial year through to 2024


triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on December 23, 2020, 10:55:27 AMFollowing on from the election and the subsequent parliamentary agreement between Labor and The Greens, transport minister Chris Steel has just announced their plans for bus procurement for the next four years:

● In early 2021, they will tender for the lease of 34 low-floor buses with the intention of retiring all Renaults by the second half of 2021

● a "market sounding" has commenced regarding 90 electric buses; the intention is for them to commence from 2021-22 financial year through to 2024

Wellington, NZ, already has 10 fully electric double-deckers (fleet nos. 3700-3709) in urban service with Tranzurban. These vehicles are locally assembled in NZ by Kiwi bus using Chinese TEG chassis, Microvast lithium ion battery technology, and a pantograph to interact with Heliox fast charging systems at selected en-route sites. A further 98 are on order for service by early 2023. They are about $NZ1,000,000 each.
Existing bus supply (not purchase) contracts expire in 2027 and it is stated that diesel bus bids will not be accepted for supply from 2027! Thus Wellington urban buses should be fully electric from 2027. An advance from the 70(?) trolley buses retired when the system closed at the end of October 2017.

Could this be a hint of where Transport Canberra might be heading?

(Assembled from internet sources e&oe)   

ajw373

Quote from: triumph on January 03, 2021, 07:26:20 PMCould this be a hint of where Transport Canberra might be heading?


Personally I don't think it means a thing in relation to the way we will go in Canberra.

Barry Drive

March 11, 2021, 09:41:16 AM #4 Last Edit: March 11, 2021, 10:40:57 AM by Barry Drive
Quote from: triumph on January 03, 2021, 07:26:20 PMCould this be a hint of where Transport Canberra might be heading?
Transport Canberra / Minister Steel has now released an Industry Project Briefing regarding the intended bus procurements. (Link to PDF)

Some details:
  • The tender for 34 leased buses [¹] will be issued in second quarter 2021 (i.e. April-June).
  • Woden Depot construction to commence late 2021, should be completed early 2023. Woden capacity 110 buses; expected to initially hold 40 electric and 60 diesel buses.
  • Electric bus tender to be issued in third quarter 2021 – 90 buses to be delivered from 2022 to 2024.
  • Up to 50 buses from this order will stored and operated from an as yet undecided (and unbuilt) location or locations [²]: it is NOT intended for electric buses to be garaged at either existing depot (at this stage). The site of this additional, temporary depot (or depots) will be part of the tender process.

¹ - tender will be open to "lower emission diesel and battery electric buses"; further specifications (such as age limit) will have to wait until the tender is issued. And yes, I know there are more than 34 Renaults currently in service.

² - no details about how this will actually work: will drivers have to be shuttled en masse to collect buses each day?

Barry Drive

Quote from: Barry Drive on December 23, 2020, 10:55:27 AM● In early 2021, they will tender for the lease of 34 low-floor buses with the intention of retiring all Renaults by the second half of 2021
It's April. Still no tender issued.

Call me crazy, but maybe the "all Renaults retired by 2021" target won't be achieved.

Barry Drive

Three tenders were released yesterday regarding the "34 leased buses":

1. Supply of 26 low floor Rigid Diesel City Buses
2. Supply of 8 low floor Rigid Battery Electric City Buses
3. Provision of off-site charging facility and (34) Electric City Buses

Having seen the contents of the tender documents, they are looking for newly built buses but with a lease period of 5, 7 or 10 years. Stock or demonstrators might be allowed, provided they are subject to the same warranty conditions as a new bus.

Tender #3 appears to be an alternative to 1 & 2. It is for both a new offsite depot which can store and charge 34 electric buses as well as for up to 34 electric buses. However, this tender seems to allow for completion by October 2022 - which would presumably prevent any bus withdrawals before then; or maybe they'd start with 8 buses first and then a further 26 in Oct 2022.

The media release from Chris Steel suggests that the "new buses are expected to join the fleet in late 2021", but if they choose to go all electric this can only occur when a charging facility/depot which can cater for 34 buses is available.

Tenders 1 & 2 close 1 July 2021 and Tender 3 closes 15 July.

Bus 400

I'm curious as to why the Government chose to lease 34 buses, rather than just release a tender for 120+ buses? 

Either way in 2022, the electric fleet will be hitting road.

Barry Drive

One or more of the following reasons:

1. It was an election commitment.

2. Leasing electric buses allows them to evaluate their performance and support (spare parts) without committing to a large purchase order. Although this will only be beneficial if there is sufficient time to make an evaluation before signing a purchase contract.

3. The delayed construction of Woden Depot has necessitated a temporary recharge depot - which will be leased by TC rather than purpose built. So until such a facility exists (and/or Woden Depot is built), they are not able to buy buses without knowing if they'll be able to store them.

triumph

Almost time to start a competition (or book....) forecasting the last Renault in service, and last day of service.

Barry Drive

Last day in service? Considering they're still talking about leasing 34 buses to replace 39 Renaults, I can't see them all going until the first purchased Electric Buses are delivered - and that's meant to be late 2022. (And that's dependent on the temporary depot, because Woden Depot isn't expected to be ready until 2023.)

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on June 12, 2021, 12:29:29 PMLast day in service? Considering they're still talking about leasing 34 buses to replace 39 Renaults, I can't see them all going until the first purchased Electric Buses are delivered - and that's meant to be late 2022. (And that's dependent on the temporary depot, because Woden Depot isn't expected to be ready until 2023.)

Now down to 36 Renaults. Considering difficulties of maintenance/repair/parts availability, etc, service availability must be poor, so 34 new to replace 36 very old seems to me to be quite feasible.
Wonder how many more Renaults can be retired (without short term lease replacements) before new buses enter service?

Barry Drive

July 24, 2021, 12:09:32 PM #12 Last Edit: February 20, 2022, 09:44:39 AM by Barry Drive
Quote from: triumph on July 15, 2021, 11:21:50 PMConsidering difficulties of maintenance/repair/parts availability, etc, service availability must be poor,
It's a commonly held belief, but is it actually true? The other way of looking at it is: they have over 30 years experience in maintaining these vehicles and, no doubt, a close relationship with Iveco (for parts). Plus the backup of ~20 retired buses should parts be needed which don't need to be new.

Anyway, back on topic. ACT Government publishes a spreadsheet of all tenders received. For the diesel bus lease tender, the following suppliers responded:

BCI
Foton Mobility
Mercedes-Benz
Penske Commercial Vehicles [MAN importer]
Scania
Volvo

For the electric bus lease:

Macquarie Corporate Holdings
ARCC
BCI
Custom Bus
EBUSCO [Bustech]
Electromotiv [who supplied the leased Yutong]
Foton Mobility
FutureBus
Nexport [BYD / Alexander Dennis]
Optare
Volgren [also BYD]
Volvo
Yutong
Zenobe

Barry Drive

August 06, 2021, 11:41:53 AM #13 Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 03:25:39 PM by Barry Drive
The tender (RFP) for 34 electric buses + offsite depot closed yesterday (following an extension).

Most of the 8 bus tenderers responded, but not all. Here is the list:

ARCC
Custom Bus
EBUSCO
Electromotiv
Foton Mobility
FutureBus
Macquarie Corporate Holdings
MRCagney
Nexport
Volvo Australia
Zenobe

Without seeing the actual responses, it's possible that not all the proposals were for the full requirements. For instance, Zenobe & FutureBus (according to their websites) are suppliers of batteries and charging equipment, rather than buses.

Anyway, we have now entered the "wait and see" period.

For more details (not a lot more) about the tenderers, have a look at this article: https://www.actbus.net/new-electric-buses-the-contenders/

Barry Drive

February 21, 2022, 10:32:57 AM #14 Last Edit: February 21, 2022, 12:37:53 PM by Barry Drive
Still no news, despite multiple reports of the contract being announced "very soon".

The latest of those reports is yet another article in The Canberra Times on Saturday (19 Feb) - no online version has been found.

It reports what was already known from the Budget process: 26 diesel buses and 8 electrics will be leased and the tender for 34 electric buses, plus off site depot has been (in their words) "cancelled". The article is critical of the cancellation of the 34 bus tender - even stating that tenderers were annoyed - yet it fails to mention that the tender process was always upfront that the tender may not proceed.

The article quotes Ben McHugh from TCCS as saying "some of the "[tender] criteria regarding off-site recharging was unable to be met."

This suggests that none of the tenderers were able to find a suitable location where 34 buses (plus possibly more) could be housed and recharged and/or that they were not able to build such a site by October 2022. Which is hardly surprising.

Anyway, despite the Minister previously stating the tender outcome should be known in "the new year", the article states it will be revealed "in a few weeks".

narc855

Sydney people are waiting for trains, while we are waiting for new buses...


Barry Drive

February 22, 2022, 09:38:20 AM #17 Last Edit: February 22, 2022, 03:43:12 PM by Barry Drive
No contracts have been posted, so this is all that has been announced.

The buses to be leased will be:
• 8 Yutong E12
• 4 Custom Denning Element
• 26 Scania K320UB

Delivery dates unknown. The electric buses should be ready by end of 2022 and will be located at both depots.

Additionally, the tender for the 90 purchased electric buses will open soon with suppliers required to register by 8 March 2022.

Update #2: the media release from Minister Chris Steel mentions the preferred diesel bus supplier as "Scania Bustech". It also mentions that Yutong charging equipment will be installed at Tuggeranong - where all 8 E12s will be headed. It doesn't specifically state the Elements will go to Belconnen, but that's implied.

Barry Drive

February 24, 2022, 11:19:23 AM #18 Last Edit: February 24, 2022, 11:51:49 AM by Barry Drive
The Invitation to Register for the 90 electric buses tender was issued yesterday.

Next step is a Request for Proposal in April with the contract expected to be finalised by September 2022.

So they may potentially commit to buy 90 buses before the first leased bus is even in service. Assuming they stick to this timeline.

With uncertainty about when Woden Depot will be ready, I would prefer that they take longer to allow the actual on road experience of the leased vehicles be considered before signing on to buy 90 buses untested.

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on February 21, 2022, 10:32:57 AMThe article quotes Ben McHugh from TCCS as saying "some of the "[tender] criteria regarding off-site recharging was unable to be met."

This suggests that none of the tenderers were able to find a suitable location where 34 buses (plus possibly more) could be housed and recharged and/or that they were not able to build such a site by October 2022. Which is hardly surprising.


That is a little confusing. 'Off-site'? The inference is that this relates to temporary depot facilities, but isn't that an 'on-site' situation? To my mind 'off-site' charging relates to top up battery facilities at terminals, layovers, and other places where buses in service may pause for a reasonable length of time. Facilities of this type do exist, even in Australia (Newcastle light rail).

Barry Drive

February 24, 2022, 03:33:32 PM #20 Last Edit: February 24, 2022, 10:12:52 PM by Barry Drive
I referred to this above. My understanding was that the tenderer had to build a site which could house and charge 34 electric buses plus have the potential to be expanded to 50 buses, plus have parking for drivers and a maintenance facility for minor repairs (like lights).

The site would be away from the regular ACTION depots and would operate unsupervised. Hence "off-site".

It would be leased by TC until sufficient Government facilities (presumably Woden Depot) could be used. Although I guess the idea was that this site could then be used to assemble buses.

Barry Drive

It's now June. Six months until all non-(wheelchair) accessible buses are legally required to be withdrawn.

Still no contract has been published for any of the 38 leased buses expected this year. We're already past the one new bus per week timeframe.

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on June 14, 2022, 05:11:44 PMIt's now June. Six months until all non-(wheelchair) accessible buses are legally required to be withdrawn.

Still no contract has been published for any of the 38 leased buses expected this year. We're already past the one new bus per week timeframe.
Barry (and the implications of the comment) is spot on.

BTW, are we sure of numbers? At some stage, I seem to recall, there were indications of only a few electric and quite a few interim diesels.

However there are a few external, and at least one internal, factors which might be seriously affecting the programme.

Firstly, there is wide spread disruption from the continuing Covid consequences. This may well effect the ability of Transport Canberra to prepare, issue, and administer contracts. Likewise it might be affecting industry ability to answer a tender and meet the proposed contract requirements.

Secondly, apart from Covid, the world wide shortage of electronic chips, and thus component assemblies, might be making the supply (and subsequent maintenance) of new electric and, for that matter, diesel buses problematic for new orders. The same issue is reported to be affecting supply and maintenance of light electric vehicle recharge  points, with even damaged/failed public recharge points sometimes taking a very long time (months) to repair.

Thirdly, there is a reported shortage of trades and construction resources, which would probably affect the ability of the supplier to arrange a temporary depot, and of ACTEW/Evoenergy to beef up, as may be necessary, the recharge power supplies.

Lastly, there is the present world economic instabilities and cost/pricing implications.

Taking all this into account, it would be a brave bus supplier to quote a fixed sum against a fixed deadline and promise availability in service; and just as brave of the customer to simply rely on a signed contract to solve a delivery deadline issue, and subsequent consistent availability in service.

Thus the probability is that both Transport Canberra and potential suppliers realistically have recognised, due to a combination of adverse circumstances beyond their control, that the intended programme of new buses cannot be achieved as intended.

In turn, the retirement of non disability compliance buses may have to be deferred. For the reasons set out above, the availability of an interim second hand compliant supply may also be quite problematical. The perverse alternative would be to reduce services to match compliant fleet availability. Presumably there is some way of obtaining deadline relief citing 'force majeure'.

 
 

narc855

If you look at New South Wales, their bus operators keep getting new buses recently, both in electric and diesel, the reason is - they have election coming up next year. Meanwhile, we don't have election until 2024.
That being said, given that I will leave Canberra in 3 months, I still hope to see new generation (electric) buses down here.