Cities can’t wait for the law to pass to buy eco-buses


Czech cities are already buying buses with alternative fuel. They are not waiting for the approval of a law requiring them to purchase a share of electric, hydrogen, or compressed gas buses when renewing their fleet.

A bill mandating the purchase of low-emission vehicles in public administration, mass transit, and freight transport is pending in the House.

Brno already meets the statutory proportions of alternative fuel vehicles.

“The current composition of our fleet already corresponds to the upcoming law. The EU directive will be in force from 2019, and we are already following it,” DPMB spokesperson Barbora Doležalová said.

Brno has 160 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses, and the rest of the 341 vehicles meet the strictest standards for internal combustion engines.

Subsidies for new vehicles

According to Doležalová, the city would like to use electric or hydrogen bus subsidies. “We have tested electric and hydrogen buses in the past, but we still ran into high prices. However, if subsidies are announced for them, we will certainly not resist the purchase,” Doležalová added. The city is already drawing subsidies for compressed gas buses.

Olomouc already has one electric bus, and another 34 buses out of 81 meet the strictest European standards for diesel engines. The local transport company is now considering whether it would be better for the city to buy electric or hydrogen buses.

The subsidies are also being used in Karlovy Vary. “By the fact that subsidies currently support these vehicles until 2027, it is possible to purchase them with a subsidy of 85 percent of the total purchase price, so we are co-financing their purchase with ‘only’ 15 percent,” said DPKV spokesman Lukáš Siřínek. Half of the company’s fleet consists of low-emission CNG buses.

“Carriers providing public passenger transport services will be able to apply for subsidies for the purchase of electric buses or buses powered by hydrogen or biomethane,” Veronika Hešíková, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Regional Development (MMR), said.

The law passed its second reading in the Lower House, and the ministry would like it to come into force in the autumn.

The share will increase

According to the draft law, based on European legislation, the minimum share of newly purchased low-emission or emission-free urban buses should be 41 percent by the end of 2025.

Freight transport companies will be obliged to provide nine percent low-emission cars by then. The law also foresees a mandatory share of low-emission passenger cars and small commercial vehicles to be procured through public procurement.

“In the next reporting period, by the end of 2030, the share will increase only in the category of trucks and urban buses,” Hešíková explained. Transport operators will then be required to purchase alternative fuel for at least 11% of trucks and 60% of city buses.

The Office for the Protection of Competition will supervise compliance with the law. Failure to comply with the required limits will result in fines of up to 20 million euros.