Wollongong residents will be able to spot the state's newest hydrogen bus in action this week, as it enters service on the popular free Gong Shuttle loop from Monday.
Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park said passengers could expect "a greener, quieter, and more comfortable journey on the loop between Wollongong station and the university" as the six-month trial of the bus begins.
The bus will also be trialled on a number of other routes throughout the Illawarra to test its capabilities after the first six months.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully has been calling for the free shuttle to be used for a hydrogen bus trial since 2021, and said the bus would help the region develop a greener fuel source for the future.
"Transport is a way that we can help develop both the supply and demand for hydrogen in the region as it is looked at as a cleaner, greener industrial fuel source in the future," he said.
Data collected from the bus trial will be used by the transport department to make decisions about electric and hydrogen technology for regional bus operators, passengers, and communities.
The Wollongong trial follows one on the Central Coast, in which the government said the bus "outperformed expectations".
Premier Chris Minns said the government was proud to see the new trial taking place in the Illawarra, given Port Kembla's role in the industry.
"Port Kembla has a long history with the hydrogen industry, so it's fitting this hydrogen bus is hitting the road in the Illawarra," he said.
"This trial in the Illawarra will help us determine what role these vehicles will play in bus fleets going forward."
Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the government was transitioning the state's fleet of 8,000 diesel and gas buses on our public transport network to zero emissions technology.
"That means rolling out electric buses onto roads in Sydney and Newcastle, and trialling technology like hydrogen buses in other parts of the state," she said.
"It is great to see this new hydrogen bus roll out ... in Wollongong."
The bus can drive for 16 hours and cover 515km on 32kg of hydrogen, while a similar diesel bus would consume 170 litres of diesel to travel the same distance.
The bus will be refuelled at the Coregas hydrogen refuelling station at the Port Kembla Hydrogen Hub, and is to be operated by Premier Illawarra.