The South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency Nonprofit Ltd. (DDRIÜ) is a partner in the eBussed Interreg Europe international cooperation project, which promotes the transition of European regions to low-carbon mobility and more efficient public transport. In this article, we provide an insight into the training of electric bus drivers through the example of Paks. The article was prepared in cooperation with Rita Véhman-Kósa, Project Coordinator of Paks Transport Ltd.
The training of the bus drivers of Paksi Közlekedési Kft (Paks Transport Ltd) was carried out in Paks in December 2020, before the start of the service, at the same time as the delivery of the 10 Solaris Urbino buses. The training was held in Hungarian by the Hungarian representative of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., Prim-Vol Trade Ltd. As the public procurement of the electric buses, the bus driver training was also financed from European Union grants (project number: IKOP-3.2.0-15-2016-00020, project title: Development of public transport of City of Paks”).
The contract for the sale of the buses included training for the drivers. During the training, the drivers received a 10-hour theoretical training that was followed by a practical training.
The topics of the theoretical training were:
- the construction and operation of the electric bus,
- the workplace of the bus driver,
- management of the bus,
- safety and security,
- emergency procedures,
- safe and economical driving,
- charging of the bus.
During the theoretical training, our colleagues familiarised themselves with the vehicles, learned the location and precise operation of the various controls and the emergency protocols associated with them.
The training focused on the design of the bus electrical system, including the high-voltage system, the location of the batteries and their impact on the running of the vehicle.
Practical or driving training
After the theoretical training, the drivers were given several days of driving training to learn how to operate the vehicles economically and how the generator mode works. The training was organised at Budapest, using the electric buses of the Budapest Közlekedési Központ (Centre for Budapest Transport).
Recruitment of e-bus drivers at City of Paks
Experience with electric buses was not a prerequisite for the recruitment of bus drivers. However, given that we took on eight bus drivers from Protheus Holding Zrt. who had already received such training, almost half of the bus drivers hired by the time the service started had specific knowledge of electric buses. The main criterion for recruitment was bus driving experience/qualification.
The eBussed project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary