Bogotá has agreed to buy 700 new buses for its Transmilenio public transportation system from Volvo, which plans to begin delivering the vehicles in March 2019.
The European automotive giant won the public bid in collaboration with Fabalca/Transdev and Somos K, which were awarded the operational lots.
This order represents roughly half of the 1,441 buses put up for public tender by the Colombian capital, which has been slowly moving on an expansion to its bus rapid transit (BRT) system that was first planned by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa after he was elected to govern Bogotá in 2015.
The new buses, all of which are Volvo B340M models, will help Bogotá in its effort to phase out less environmentally friendly vehicles with those that meet stricter emission standards known as “Euro V” for the updated European regulations that set new limits.
Colombia in general, including Bogotá, has been facing more pressure this year from citizen and environmental groups to cut down on the amount of particulates in the air, a form of pollution that can contribute to respiratory health problems and has led state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol to gradually lower the level of sulfur in the diesel fuel it sells throughout 2018.
Hakan Agnevall, president of Volvo Buses, praised the technological advances that make these vehicles an improvement over other models.
“Our solution, featuring high-capacity Euro V buses extended with particle filters, reduces local emissions by a massive 96% compared with the current Euro II buses,” said Angbevell. “The BRT Euro V offering with filters represents a well-proven solution that meets the demand of true sustainability from all aspects: environmentally, socially, and financially.”
All 700 purchased buses have 12-liter engines, and the majority (402 vehicles) are longer, biarticulated units with a capacity of 250 passengers. The remainder (298 buses) are articulated units that can hold 160 riders.
A local company, Super polo, will body the chassis in Colombia to begin readying the buses for the first deliveries next March, according to Volvo.
For Volvo, this is the largest bus order it has secured in Latin America in more than a decade. It will bring the total number of buses delivered by the company for Bogotá’s Transmilenio
system to 2,300 since 2001, including 360 hybrid buses.
Though the bid has already been awarded, the deal will be formalized on November 16, according to Volvo