In order to decrease its fleet pollutant emissions, the public transport operator for the city of Brno, Dopravní podnik města Brna (DPMB), decided to purchase 88 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. The procurement process started in March 2014 and the last of the 88 vehicles was delivered on 29 June 2015.
The public procurement is the result of the call ‘LVII alternative transport’ launched by the national Ministry of Environment under the framework of the EU’s Environmental Operational Programme (OP) in the Czech Republic. The overall aim of the process is to improve air quality in polluted areas including the city of Brno and the surrounding urban agglomeration. The renewal of Brno’s public transport fleet was selected as one of the winning proposals.
The tender published by DPMB, and based on the UITP tender structure, made an explicit reference to the EU’s directive 2009/33/EC on the ‘Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles’. As a consequence, an environmental dimension was inherent in the procurement process since the Euro 6 standard was set as a technical specification. In addition, low fuel consumption costs, low CO2 emissions (calculated over the lifetime of the vehicle) and low emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) were taken into account as criteria in the decision-making, together with other financial (the price of the offer and the price of certain spare parts) and technical matters (such as requirements relating to the doors of the buses). The project was co-financed by DPMB using its own resources (10 per cent), the EU Cohesion Fund (85 per cent) and money from the state budget (5 per cent). A cost-benefit analysis will be carried out at the end of the project.
As a primary result of the project, the 88 Compressed Natural Gas buses have been delivered and put fully into operation, and the drivers and other staff have been successfully trained. In addition, DPMB has purchased a CNG station outside of the project framework. The effect has been positive as the first estimates show lower operational costs and better air quality in the city.
DPMB would advise counterparts across Europe to launch a similar procedure, but stresses the necessity of financial support for this kind of procurement project. The extent of the preparations required for the tender should not be underestimated as, in this case, it proved to be a lengthy process.