Taking a ride from Nádraží Veleslavín to the airport will be more convenient in the coming years, but the environmentally-friendly means of transport will burden the city coffers with a price tag of one billion crowns. Passengers on line 119 will be driven by the new 25-meter 3-cell electric bus in just three years. Last Monday’s purchase of twenty high-capacity battery trolleybuses has been approved by Prague councilors.
The price for electrification of line #119 climbs to a blinding one billion crowns. The largest amounts will go to the purchase of electric buses, each of which costs 30 million crowns, exceeding the price of a conventional diesel bus more than two and a half times.
According to the transport councilor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě), high-capacity trolleybuses are worth it on the busy airport lines. According to him, three-piece buses with a length of 25 meters will carry twice as many passengers as joint buses with a length of 19 meters and their lifespan is longer by up to a decade. Even the amount of drivers will be lower.
“We will ease the transportation by avoiding adding more bus connections while reducing exhaust emissions to zero,” says Scheinherr.
The plan for electrification of the lines is in line with the climate commitment to which the city has subscribed, and is in line with the sustainable mobility plan proposed by the previous Prague coalition.
Larger cars won’t solve the lack of drivers
That is why the transport company started to test the trolleybuses on line 58 from Palmovka to Letňany. The Ekova Electron 12T is powered by batteries and trolley wires. It will be tested for one month.
Electric high-capacity vehicles are intended to solve the problem of overcrowding at the airport. Machines with dynamic recharging will draw energy from the trolley line in Evropská Street about halfway along the route.
“In a situation where there is a long and very critical shortage of bus drivers in the labor market, the only possible way to carry the same number of passengers is to have a larger vehicle,” explains Councilor Scheinherr.
Double the lifespan
Conventional diesel buses would be much cheaper, but Prague has embarked on ecological mobility. Unfortunately, the battery-powered vehicles are still more expensive than conventional vehicles, and therefore the municipality calculates roughly 20 million crowns for the joint battery trolleybus.
For three-cell vehicles of the length of up to 25 meters, the councilor states that the prices are higher and reach up to 30 million. The service life of trolleybuses ranges from 16 to 20 years, as opposed to only 10 to 12 years for buses. “Also, the trolleybus design can be upgraded,” adds Scheinherr.
The airport is supposed to be serviced by the railway in just ten years. The finished line would then be used for other lines according to the plan and electric buses would find use, for example, for the planned extension of the tram line from the Dědinská loop to the development area of the old airport or from Anděl to Strahov.
The transport company is now working on a new overall concept of alternative drives with a vision to 2030. “But we do not want to go to the extreme and bet everything on battery-powered vehicles. We are also planning to test buses powered by other alternatives, such as hydrogen,” according to Petr Witowski.
In addition to electrification of the airport line 119, the city also accounts for the electrification of bus lines number 131, 191 and 140.