Trams will be partially replaced by driverless buses between Viru Square and Baltic Station in Tallinn for two months this summer as trams on routes 1 and 2 will be out of service to allow for the reconstrution of the Kopli routes to be completed, daily Eesti Päevaleht reported.
The section of the tracks between Tallinn's central railway station and Kopli in Põhja-Tallinn is expected to be completed by summer, following which a brand new section of tracks must be built alongside the Skoone Bastion near the city's Old Town. These works will be done in July and August, during which time tram lines 1 and 2 will remain out of service.
While bus number 52, which has been running as a substitute for the trams, will continue operating during this period, the team of the Estonian presidency of the EU intends to make use of this window of time to employ driverless buses to operate between the city center and Tallinn Creative Hub, a central venue during the presidency.
The exact route that the buses will run on has not yet been decided.
As the Kopli line trams will not be in service at the time, this will allow for the driverless buses to partially make use of the space reserved for trams, which would keep them separate from vehicular traffic on Mere Avenue. On Rannamäe Road, which the driverless buses would use following the Ahtri Street intersection, the buses will be separated from other traffic as well.
Opportunity to showcase technology
Putting driverless buses in operation between Viru Square and Tallinn Creative Hub will serve multiple purposes. First, it will serve to fill the gap created by the suspension of tram services at a time when large numbers of guests in the city need to commute between the city center and Tallinn Creative Hub for EU presidency-related events.
Second, it will also offer a good opportunity to showcase driverless bus technology to residents and guests of the city alike. As digital solutions and technology play an important role in the Estonian presidency, it will be easy to link the driverless bus project to the presidency program.
The driverless buses will be free to all passengers.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla