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City-News Archive

Schaffhausen [CH] - What price the environment?

J. Lehmann - 20.04.09

Schaffhausen – Switzerland

The town council passed a proposal on to parliament on 16.09.2008 in which they recommend the retaining of the Trolleybus system and credit for a modernisation investment of 11 million Swiss Francs. The money is to be used as follows: 8.4 million for seven new articulated Trolleybuses, 0.8 million for a new overhead maintenance vehicle, 1.3 million for the modernisation of the sub stations and unforeseen material and 0.6 million for an articulated diesel bus to act as a reserve vehicle. The town council is of the opinion that retaining the Trolleybus network is in the interest of the environment and that the 10% higher running costs of a Trolleybus system is a reasonable price to pay.

The parliament has not yet given a reply to the request which is due to the fact that due to local elections at the end of 2008 the parliament was newly reformed. So far the new parliament has only granted 590.000 Swiss Francs for the articulated diesel bus. Parliament has designated a special committee to come to a decision about the rest of the proposal. The committee met for the first time during April 2009 and a further two meetings were agreed upon for May. The findings of this committee can, therefore, not be expected to be put before parliament before June.

As soon as a decision is announced the town council will call for tenders for the seven new Trolleybuses. These vehicles will replace seven of the 1991 built vehicles which are currently serving route 1 which requires six vehicles. Trolleybus number 114, of this series, is stationed at the depot Ebnat and is currently being used as a donor after being taken off the road as the result of a fire caused by the auxiliary motor.

Bids had been invited for the, in an expertise, recommended conversion of diesel bus route 3 to Trolleybus operation. The well known firm Kummler & Matter have placed the following bid: Infrastructure for an 8.4 kilometre route 12 million Swiss Francs.
The bid includes 8 million for the overhead masts and fittings and 4 million for the necessary sub stations. The project will also incur costs of around a further 8.4 million for 8 new Trolleybuses. In all the investment will amount to 21.6 million, at today's prices. An application for funds for the project itself, however, is not expected before 2013 as only during 2001/2003 were new articulated diesel buses diesel buses purchased for route 3.

It has been suggested that the overhead and related infrastructure be constructed immediately and thus reduce the overall running and maintenance costs evoked by the running of a single route. Further it has been suggested that the two routes be serviced by the existing Trolleybuses and the new ones when they arrive. The new Trolleybuses for the new route could then be purchased at a later date.

The operator is of the opinion that this would be a false decision as the modern low floor diesel buses would be replaced by almost twenty year of Trolleybuses with steps. This would be a negative step as far as the passengers are concerned. It could even lead to a reduction in passengers. The operator insists that modern public transport sends out the right ecological message whether diesel or electric.

Our photo is an archive photograph of Trolleybus 114 taken on 20.05.2000 after a fire had rendered it un-roadworthy.

Translation: Bankes