For the next month, Tallinn trolleybus lines will be catered to by a 24-meter trolleybus sporting two bellows that can also operate on battery power as opposed to only relying on power lines.
Tallinn testing extra-long trolleybus for a month
The Solaris Trollino 24 MetroStyle fits around 200 passengers or four times as much as an ordinary city bus. The double-bellows trolleybus has five doors and uses eight wheels on four axes. CEO of Tallinn City Transport AS (TLT) Deniss Borodits said that the vehicle costs €800,000.
Heads of Tallinn are looking to such vehicles to develop a so-called metro bus system. “The metro bus is not a fleet but an entire system. A transport system of crosstown lines and high-capacity vehicles that is integrated in a way where different modes of transport operate in sync. So that no public transport vehicle would be stuck behind a red light or in traffic jams. An integral system aimed at high-capacity fleets,” Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov said.
Metro bus candidate
Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart said that metro bus lines are usually separated from the rest of traffic, allowing for unhindered progress.
“We plan to open new public transport lines and modes of transport in the form of metro buses. It is several times cheaper than creating new tram lines, while metro buses have a similar carrying capacity and can be environmentally friendly. This does not mean we will be closing tram and bus lines. Matters of lines and fleet need to be solved in a comprehensive way, with each solution a part of the bigger picture,” Kõlvart said.
Kõlvart was skeptical of the idea proposed by several parties to develop a tram network that would reach every district. “The metro bus is also an alternative for the tram. It can fit as many passengers and is just as fast if it has a separate traffic corridor. Therefore, I see no need to develop tram infrastructure where a metro bus can do the trick. Especially if we consider the cost of tram infrastructure, the plan to have trams going to all city district in the coming years is simply unrealistic,” Kõlvart opined.
He added that Tallinn is developing a new traffic model for a new public transit system. “Testing new fleet options and developing a new traffic system are taking place simultaneously so they could be executed at the same time.”
The tram’s equal
Andrei Novikov said the trolleybus being tested carries roughly the same number of passengers as a tram that is currently the largest public transport vehicle used in Tallinn. “Its advantage lies in the fact that a kilometer of tram infrastructure costs around €7 million to construct, with the vehicles themselves also more expensive,” Novikov said.
Passengers will be able to ride the new trolleybus on line 1 between Mustamäe and the city center from Monday. As with all vehicles being tested by TLT, the Trollino 24 MetroStyle does not have ticket validators and everyone can ride for free.