At the end of April, the 250 electric buses are expected to be on the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki, according to Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Christos Staikourasas part of today’s presentation, at the Major Damage workshop at the OSY depot in Agios Ioannis Rentis, of one of Yutong’s total of 140 buses.

The new electric buses are already in Greece, within the next few weeks (after customs clearance and issuing of plates) they will start road testing, first without and then with passengers, and then they will start running normally, thus strengthening the fleet of of Road Transport of Athens.

“The truth is that there was and still is a need for significant renewal of the fleet in Athens and Thessaloniki. This need is a reality and arose through the long period of the financial crisis that our country went through,” stressed Mr. Staikouras and added that this need is based on two pillars:

a) the aging fleet that we have in Greece and which, essentially, is accompanied by frequent breakdowns, thus the need to repair them. The average age of buses in Greece is 19 years, when the average age in Europe is 13 years, but also b) from a painful reality that answers the concern that 39% of the bus fleet in Athens is not accessible for the DISABLED.

“This is a reality, which had to and must change… and we worked collectively, picking up where the previous New Democracy government left off, in collaboration with the OSY, in order to deal with this problem. So we are happy to support that the buses are located in Greece. As the chargers are located in Greece and we appreciate that we will be consistent in the schedules. However, he stressed that renewing the bus fleet with 250 electric vehicles does not address the problem and many more additional initiatives are needed. He stated that a contract was signed and in the coming days another one will be signed, with two companies, in order to add 300 18 and 12 meter natural gas buses to Athens, which are expected to have arrived by the end of 2025, while the following period the procedures for an additional tender of 750 new anti-pollution protection buses will be completed, thus completing the renewal target with a total of 1,300 new buses by the end of 2027 in Athens and Thessaloniki.

“Methodically and consistently, we implement, within schedules, every goal we have set for the real necessity of renewing the fleet in Athens and Thessaloniki”, said Mr. Staikouras. Finally, the minister, responding to those who are concerned about “where the resources of the Recovery and Resilience Fund are directed”, said: “The fact that the citizens of Athens and Thessaloniki will travel with new buses, with a new fleet, shows where the money of the Europeans, but also Greek citizens. The Recovery and Resilience Fund funded this fleet renewal, which after all is for the many, is for those who need it most. And this is the agenda of the current government.”

For her part, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, responsible for Transport, Christina Alexopoulou, stated that “with the 140 electric buses in Athens and the 110 in Thessaloniki, we are fulfilling another commitment of our government, as electric mobility is the future of motoring . But at the same time, by modernizing the city bus fleet, we are improving the daily life of citizens. We are quietly investing in anti-pollution technology buses – friendly to the environment -, thus implementing an important intervention for Sustainable Urban Mobility on our way to the transport of 2030”.

The general secretary of Transport, Yiannis Xifaras, said that “today is very important because a difficult effort that began three years ago, when we “launched” a tender for new vehicles, is bearing fruit, as the last time our country decided to take buses was in 2007, when the technology was very different. Finally, we succeeded and today the first electric bus is presented…. It is a very important priority of the ministry to quickly get these buses on the road.”

The CEO of the company, Stefanos Agiasoglou, focused on OSY’s preparedness as well as on the training plan of the employees, in order to fully respond to the new conditions created by electrification. Stressing that “this is a landmark day, as the next day in Public Urban Transport is inaugurated”, he referred to the possibilities of the new vehicles and assured that the day when modern electric vehicles will be on the roads of the basin is not long.

The CEO of OSA, Giorgos Spiliopoulos, and the CEO of the Superfund, Grigoris Dimitriadis, mentioned the benefits of electrification and the coordinated effort of all competent bodies in order for the 140 electric buses to join the fleet of OSY vehicles.

Finally, Jack Lee, general manager of Yutong in Europe, which is also the contractor Chinese company, referred to the significant progress of the Greek government in the transport sector, with the promotion of electric mobility.