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City-News Archive

Valparaiso [CL] - Changing history in the last two years

J. Lehmann - 18.08.08

Significant changes to trolleybus Operation have resulted from the implementation, on 6th January 2007, of a regional transport scheme called "Plan de Transporte Metropolitano de Valparaiso" (TMV). This
imposes grouping and a degree of regulation on all providers of transport in the town. Overall, routing changes implemented under the TMV have resulted in a substantial increase in trolleybus operations. All formerly-competing buses have been removed from Avenida Pedro Montt, necessitating an increase of trolleybuses on that route from one or two an hour to 10-15 per hour. There has been some reduction of trolleybus service on the Avenida Colon route, because some bus Services have been moved to that street, and also, probably, because thereare not enough serviceable trolleybuses to maintain the former service there, so many vehicies having been re-allocated to Avenida Montt.

For the first time since at least the 1970s, the trolleybus routes have been given route numbers, 801 for Avenida Pedro Montt, and 802 for Avenida Colon. Both continue to connect Aduana with Baron, and the TMV plan calls for extensions from both termini. The TMV also stipulates the style of livery, but each "Unidad" has its own colour. That for the trolleybuses is green, and exterior advertising is no longer permitted. However, because the Pullman trolleybuses, which comprise more than half of the fleet, were designated "national monuments" in 2003, all the trolleybuses are exempt from the modern styling of the TMV livery, and will be permitted to retain cream above the waist, and the silver roof, combined with green below the waist. Repainting of the entire active fleet was completed by mid-April. In addition to the Swiss vehicies that had long retained their original or former-advert liveries, the repainting Programme also encompassed all trolleybuses which had received the all-over-green livery which was briefly the fleet livery during 2003.

The near-monopoly that TCSA was given along Avenida Pedro Montt from 6th January lasted only about three weeks, after which sixteen bus routes were allowed to return to the corridor in response to complaints from traders on Avenida Montt that the 6th January changes had resulted in a 50% fall in their takings. This increased competition from buses caused a significant reduction in trolleybus revenue at a time when major expenditure was required to expand the Service and repaint the fleet to meet the new TMV requirements, and the resulting operating losses made closure of the System inevitable. An announcement was made that the System would close permanently on 15th June. This announcement provoked a strong public outcry, widely publicised in variousmedia, including many pro-trolleybus newspaper artides, which made the point that the trolleybuses were regarded as an icon of Valparaiso, had been declared a national monument in 2003, had helped the city to gain the coveted UNESCO "world heritage site" designation and, in short,should not be allowed to disappear. By the end of May the crisis had reached the highest level and the President of Chile herself, Michelle Bachelet, came to Valparaiso and declared that the trolleybuses "must not be allowed" to cease operating. In mid-June a plan was announced underwhich the System would receive an injection of government funds to allow the construction of a new depot, to replace the one lost in 2006, and of the long-planned north-westward extension to Playa Ancha.

As part of negotiations over the details of plans to bring long-term stability to the trolleybus System following the crisis, TCSA agreed to withdraw its service entirely from Avenida Pedro Montt, its route 801, and service ceased on or around 1 st September. Route 802 (Avenida Colon) will continue in Operation.

All of the vehicles listed as serviceable in 2005 (TM 261) remain so, with the addition of Shenfeng 607, and the withdrawal of ex-Geneve 643. This vehicie, which had been unique in the operational fleet, was withdrawn around October 2006, afternearly 14 years' Service in Valparaiso, and now serves äs a störe and mess room in a small yard, located on the west side of Avenida Argentina between ROSS and Rancagua, where current maintenance is undertaken.

This message is from the Trolleybus Magazine (Orginal in TM 280), with the kind permission of the editor. The Trolley Magazine is published every two months and reported worldwide about the trolleybuses, see related link!

Ex Zurich 129, build 1963, since 1990 in Chile, here with the new livery on 03.09.2007 at the Ave Esmeralda.
On the same day the about 60 years old Pullman Standard-Obus 814 on the Alm. Gomez, both taken by David Bowler, Slg. Gunter Mackinger

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