A free bus buzz is back for Christmas

Noosa Council launches their free Xmas bus at shire chambers last year.
Noosa Council launches their free Xmas bus at shire chambers last year. Geoff Potter

NOOSA'S congestion-busting buses are set to hit the streets for the Christmas rush with councillors being asked next week approve a $40,614 budget for the December 26 to January 4 service.

The funds if approved will come out of the public transport levy which has a balance of $546,000 for the 2016/17 financial year.

"The primary aim of the service is to reduce traffic congestion during peak Easter and Christmas holiday periods, as well as encourage greater use of public transport,” the report before council said.

The proposed Easter free bus should be April 8 to 17.

TransLink will provide free buses on routes 626, 627, 628, 629 and 632. As well Noosa is looking to pay Transit Australia Group $32,000 for a shuttle service between Peregian Beach and Noosa Heads.

Meanwhile, the council has signed up with global bus manufacturer Higer Bus and Coach to provide the vehicles for next year's electric bus trial. Two 25-seater buses will be on the road for the six-month trial driven by council and TransLink.

"If all goes well, it could hail the start of a greener and more marketable transport option for Noosa,” said council's planning and infrastructure director Martin Drydale.

The buses are powered by Aowei ultracapacitors that recharge in minutes via overhead charging plates. It will be the first time Australia has had an electric public bus charged this way.

"It means we can recharge an electric bus in the time it takes passengers to get on and off of it,” he said.

"We are looking forward to a positive trial with the Noosa Council,” Higer general manager Neil Bamford said.

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