Quito [EC] - Finally: Tender for 50 new trolleybuses
K. Budach - 14.09.18
After much impasse and political debate, the decision has finally been made to launch a tender for 50 new articulated trolleybuses. The city authorities have authorized a budget of 32 million EUR for this urgently needed fleet renewal. In addition to the 50 trolleys, 20 battery electric buses will also be purchased for use on the BRT lines. This positive development comes after it already appeared that the city would permanently replace the trolleybuses with diesel hybrid vehicles. Although it is not planned to use the battery buses on the long and steep trolleybus routes, their acquisition cost will nevertheless be 20% more expensive per vehicle than that of the trolleys.
By 2020, the city administration hopes to only permit electric and emissions-free public transport in the historic city center. Current plans call for the new trolleybuses to have high-floor access in order to permit boarding from the existing high platform stations along the BRT corridors. The new trolleys will replace the outdated Mercedes-Benz/Hispano units, which are now between 19-23 years old and have reached the end of their life-cycle, with each trolley having clocked well over a million service kilometers.
According to the 2017 annual report of the local public transport company, the total trolleybus fleet still included 94 units that year, although 15 had been mothballed as spare parts donors. The trolleys are used on lines C1 and C2. On the 22.6 km long route C1, the trolleybuses are used in mixed operations with 80 double-articulated diesel buses. These type Volvo DH12D/Marcopolo units were acquired in 2016/17. On the 32.6 km long route C2, normally only electric trolleybuses are deployed, although services only run on weekdays from Monday to Friday. The other BRT express lines C4 and C6 only feature diesel buses.
In Quito, even the oldest trolleybuses dating from 1995 are still used in revenue service. As seen here with No. 53 making its way through the narrow streets of the historic city center on 21 June 2018. Photo: Aleksandr Prodan
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