As Mayor Péter Szabó already reported during inspection of the new bus fleet, the theoretical training of the bus drivers of Paksi Közlekedési Kft. started at 9:00 a.m., 7 December 2020, to be followed by the practical training and then the test operation of the electric bus fleet. The training is provided by professionals of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., the manufacturer of the buses, in accordance with the procurement contract concluded with the City of Paks in 2019. Education is needed because electric buses are slightly different in operation from conventional diesel vehicles, and therefore require special training in both their driving and maintenance. All bus drivers at our company take part in the on-the-job training, which started today and will take place in several stages, according to the demands of our company.
The people of the city can meet the new e-buses throughout Paks from the second half of the week, because, according to our plans, we are going to start the test operation of the vehicles at that time. During the test period, the vehicles will participate in the city’s road traffic without carrying passengers for public transport purposes. Our goal is for all bus drivers of Paksi Közlekedési Kft. to be able to participate in the test run, so that they have the opportunity to master the operation of the new vehicles before starting actual passenger traffic. But just as important is for our drivers to get first-hand experience of the entire line network and get to know characteristic traffic patterns in and around the streets covered. For this reason, the vehicles will mainly run along the routes where they will later be involved in scheduled public transport. The test run will be implemented from the beginning of December until the gradual start of the service, i.e. 0:00 on the 1st of January, and will continue on weekdays between the two holidays.
The buses will be tested at different load levels in order to model expected real operational conditions as accurately as possible. In order to get the most accurate picture of the energy consumption required to perform the task, the heating system will also be subjected to different levels of load. This is of importance in several respects: on the one hand, the proper tempering of the passenger compartment is an important factor as to the quality of the service we offer, but, on the other hand, it is also clear that the energy storage capacity of batteries is limited and the operation of ancillary consumers can significantly affect the range that can be covered with the buses.
The test run is not limited to a selected set of the vehicles, but includes all the buses in the fleet. However, this does not mean that people can meet all the vehicles of our company on all routes of the line network, as, on some routes, only a shorter-than-traditional, so-called “midi” design can be used, taking into account the parameters of the affected streets. The time available to us is expected to be enough for all vehicles to cover at least 200 km on city roads.