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Zurich [CH] - Two More Trolleybus Routes from 2017

J. Lehmann - 09.04.12


The city council approved the trolleybus initiative at its meeting on 21st March 2012. The VBZ needs to replace the majority of its diesel buses in the period between 2015 and 2017. In preparation for a replacement order, alternative vehicle concepts were investigated such as Biogas- or Diesel- Hybrid buses or conversion to trolleybus operation. Natural gas buses had already been excluded because of their CO2 emissions. Even a reduction in the trolleybus network was considered.
The environmental and energy policies of the city and canton were at the forefront of the decision process. Public transport had to help achieve the higher environmental objectives which the city had set under the title of “ Sustainable Zürich - on the way to the 2000 Watt Society.” This target had been embedded in city’s ordinances since 2008 and was confirmed in a referendum in November 2008 with 80% support. Extension of renewable energy and improvements to energy efficiency are important contributions on the way to the 2000 Watt Society. Under this the average energy demand of each citizen ought to be about 2000 Watts. At the moment the demand in Switzerland is estimated at 5000 to 6000 Watts per inhabitant. The aim is to reduce this figure, which includes the use of fossil fuels, in the medium term to the 2000 Watt level without an adverse effect on comfort. Energy consumption is to be reduced mainly by an increase in the efficiency of buildings, equipment and vehicles. Conversion of diesel bus routes to trolleybus operation admittedly requires a high initial investment but this is the best way to achieve a reduction in energy consumption.
Under the Trolleybus Strategy it is expected that bus routes 80 (Triemlispital–Bahnhof Altstetten–ETH Hönggerberg–Bahnhof Oerlikon Nord) und 69 (Milchbuck–ETH Hönggerberg) will be converted to trolleybus operation from 2017. The routes have high demand and a large potential for development. Moreover the operation of double articulated vehicles on these routes can help to make the use of additional buses in the rush hour unnecessary. VBZ is planning the conversion of the routes as follows: communication, preliminary study and operating concept 2012; preliminary design project and construction project 2012/13;budget approval by the ZVV (Zürich regional transport authority) 2013; plan approval procedure by BAV (Federal Office of Transport) 2013/2014; bids and construction 2015/16; vehicle tenders and acquisition 2015/16 and commencement of trolleybus service in 2017.
For the conversion an investment of 44 million Swiss Francs will be needed for the overhead, while around 14 million Swiss francs will be needed for vehicles. The city council is now asking for the inclusion of these expenditures in the second stage of the Conurbation Programme (a strategic plan for the conurbation).
The current contract with Hess includes an option for a further 10 double articulated and 40 articulated trolleybuses, however the contract is only valid until the end of 2016. The first 12 double articulated trolleybuses under the contract are being built now with delivery expected between 1st June and 30th November 2012. 21 articulated trolleybuses will follow in 2013.
Translation: Martin Wright

Photo:
More double articulated trolleybuses will enter service from June 2012, after which they will be used on route 32. Up till now they have dominated route 31, as here LighTram 73 on Lagerstraße on the bridge over the Sihl. Photographer: Jürgen Lehmann, 24.03.2011


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