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City-News Archive

Moskwa [RU] - Vitovt Max Duo on trials

J. Lehmann - 14.06.16

Since early June 2016, an articulated low floor trolleybus of the BKM 43303А type has been on trial in Moscow. Built by the Belarus producer Belkommunmash in 2013, the vehicle had previously completed a series of tests in St Petersburgh in May and June 2015, where it was based at depot 8 and ran with the number 8600.

In the Russian capital, the last trolleybus deliveries now date from 2013, when the most recent series of low floor "Megapolis" units from the domestic bus builder TrolZa entered service. Presently, 360 such trolleys operate in Moscow, although the entire fleet has shrunk from about 1700 to 1500 operational vehicles.
In early May 2016, the closure of several trolleybus lines in the city center was implemented. This included the conversion of trolley routes 1, 2, 9, 15 and 31 to diesel operation. The alignment of routes 12 and 33 was also changed, while line 44 was discontinued. Along Tverskaya Street, the power lines have already been dismantled. Additional trolley closures and associated infrastructure removal is planned. Once construction work on the urban garden ring road has been completed, electric services will also disappear from there. The Moscow city administration has listed technical unreliability, slow running speeds and lack of operational flexibility as the main reasons for these trolleybus closures. Additionally, the dilapidated catenary is in urgent need of wholesale replacement and presently accounts for energy losses of up to 30%. Locally, the guided trolleybuses have become seen as an obstruction to other motorized traffic.

Despite of these circumstances, a number of local groups have lobbied for the retention and modernization of the urban trolleybus network, including City4people.

Their arguments in favor of trolleybus operations emphasize quality of life and the established environmental benefits of electric buses.

On 13 June 2016, the "Vitovt Max Duo" trolley is seen during trials on the ring line Б. According to the current plans of the Moscow city administration, this trolleybus route is to be discontinued and replaced by diesel buses. Photo: Artem Svetlov, 13.06.2016

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