The sound of travelling by public transport in the ACT has changed, with the warning sounds of an electric bus a new element to the cacophony of Canberra's roads.
Without the sound of a diesel engine grumbling away to alert pedestrians of its arrival, the new Yutong E12 battery electric bus has its own artificial warning.
The bus - the first of 12 due to enter service in Canberra - is otherwise very familiar: it looks, feels, rides and drives just like a bus.
Transport Canberra senior driver trainer Jeff Gill said drivers will be able to feel at home behind the wheel very quickly and easily.
"There's very little difference at all. It continues on with normalness. It drives very much like any other bus I've driven. It's quite well finished. It drives very smoothly. It's got plenty of power for what you need in a bus. The fact that it drives so bus-like is something the drivers will [appreciate]," Mr Gill said from the driver's seat on Wednesday.
The electric buses will have a range of about 400 kilometres and be able to complete any ordinary driver shift on the network.
Another three electric buses have arrived in Canberra and are being fitted out in preparation for entering service on Canberra's roads.
Transport Canberra plans to upgrade its entire fleet to zero-emissions technology by 2040 or sooner.
The ACT government has agreed to lease the electric buses for up to seven years before having the chance to buy the fleet.
But the ACT government has conceded delays to 26 new lower-emissions diesel buses have forced it to keep disability access non-compliant buses in the fleet.
The last of the orange-and-blue Renault buses will be retired over the first half of the year, later than their planned retirement at the end of 2022.
Transport Minister Chris Steel said 93 per cent of the ACT's buses already complied with disability access rules.
Meanwhile, a new timetable with reduced services is due to begin on Monday, January 30.
The reduction to some late-night services and service frequency on some routes is a result, the government has said, of delays expected on the road network caused by light-rail construction.
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