Until the start of December, a new bi-articulated trolleybus, capable of disconnecting from its powerlines and run only on its batteries, will be tested out on the trolley lines of Tallinn.
Passengers can take the trolleybus from Monday next week and it will initially operate on trolley line number 1, Tallinn public transport firm Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT) told ERR on Tuesday.
The city is currently testing the Solaris Trollino 24 MetroStyle and has no plans of acquiring new trolleybuses yet. The bi-articulated bus fits some 200 passengers, four times as much as a regular bus. It has a total of five entrances and eight wheels, the city's press office announced.
The completely electric-powered new generation trolleybus loads its batteries using the trolley poles and the contact network and can disconnect its poles from the power lines and go for another 3-8 km using its batteries.
Therefore, the trolleybus can be used on lines, which are partly left out of the power line network and can also disconnect its poles in the more complicated intersections of Tallinn, passing them faster than the current trolleybuses can, even at its extended length.
The new trolleybus could be used for express routes, which take main streets to take passengers to mid-town Tallinn during peak traffic hours. Express routes can be started faster and cheaper than new tramlines, since there is no need for tracks, the press office added.
The city of Tallinn has established a goal of losing all diesel buses from its public transport routes by 2025. The buses will be replaced by gas- and electric-powered buses and the entire public transportation fleet should be powered by either gas or electricity by 2035.
Using express trolleybuses would lose need for additional tramlines
Tallinn's new transport methods and corridors will be made clear in a new traffic model being drawn up. Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday that if the city would implement express trolleybuses, there would be no need for additional rapid trams.
The trolleybus tested on the streets of Tallinn fits four times as many passengers as a regular bus. The bi-articulated trolley or "metro bus" is 24 m in length, twice as long as a regular bus.
"We will first test it in the city, if this machine even fits on our streets, do our passengers like it. And another thing is if we can actually drive to the regions, where trolleybuses have not gone to so far. We can move up to 20 km on batteries," said Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS board chair Deniss Boroditš.
Major cities around the world have implemented long bi-articulated buses on separate lanes, which are called "metro buses" because of their similarity to subway trains.
In Tallinn, the "metro buses" would be implemented between major city districts and down-town Tallinn. "So if we are talking from the end of Lasnamäe to Väike-Õismäe or the Mustamäe trolley depot, those routes could end up being useful, but we must also understand that these buses could also go to Kopli," said TLT traffic expert Grigori Parfjonov.
The trolleybus would use the contact poles coming from Mustamäe, would pass through the downtown area on batteries and would reconnect its poles to the network on its way to Lasnamäe. This would require a connection to be developed on Laagna tee, Parfjonov said.
The rationality of the "metro buses" depends on the new Tallinn traffic model. "We have started on the work, the traffic model gives us the option of analyzing the routes and if it the new public transportation corridors are understandable, we can also think about the new transportation methods to implement," Mihhail Kõlvart said.
Since a "metro bus" costs three times less than a tram, the implementation of longer buses would lose a need for an express tramline. "The answer is yes, if we are talking about future routes and lines, the 'metro bus' is a clear alternative," Kõlvart added.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste