Vilnius launches the biggest renewal of public transport in its history
Vilnius is celebrating an unprecedented and truly historic event. It has launched the biggest renewal of public transport in the city’s history. The first 50 of the total 250 new buses are on their way and will transport local residents and guests of the city across Vilnius. The last major renewal of Vilnius public transport took place a decade ago when almost 90 new buses were purchased. Today, in Europa Square, Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius presented the first out of 250 new buses, which was wrapped in red ribbon.
“As many as 6 out of 10 buses running through the streets of Vilnius will be completely new. Vilnius is likely to be the only European capital to renew its public transport on such an impressive scale. Ensuring comfortable city transport links is one of the municipality’s priorities. Therefore, we hope that these significant changes will encourage even more Vilnius residents to choose public transport for their journeys. I have no doubt that this will contribute to strengthening of the image of modern Vilnius. From now on, public transport will offer not only safe, but also fun travelling opportunities. Vilnius has achieved a great victory and 250 new buses will join the city’s public transport system,” announced Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius.
Two tenders were announced as a part of the public transport renewal process and included a tender for the selection of a new carrier and a tender for the purchase of 150 new buses for UAB Vilniaus viešasis transportas. The latter is still in progress, but plans are in place to announce the winner at the end of the month.
Interestingly, the outstanding design of the new buses was created by Elena Lašaitė, a student of Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts. This is a joint project of the City of Vilnius and Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts. As a result, all 250 new Vilnius buses will be united by this design.
Tomorrow, on 6 September, a number of new buses will start running through the streets of Vilnius. Passengers taking the following routes will be able to test them: 11 Žvėrynas-Senamiestis-Užupis, 15 Žolyno St.-Antakalnis-Turniškės and 114 Antakalnis-Mileišiškių-S. Kerbedžio St.-Dvarčionys–Vinciūniškės.
“Public transport passengers should find the new buses really comfortable and enjoyable as they are equipped with temperature regulation systems. In addition, all buses are low-floor and comfortable for getting on and off, especially for the disabled. Finally, public transport journeys will not prolong as new buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi and charger outlets for gadgets,” says Vladas Dapkus, Director of UAB Transrevis.
New buses are also equipped with video surveillance cameras covering not only the salon, but also recording images at the front of the bus. A higher level of safety will be ensured by the addition of an ignition interlock device next to the driver’s seat. The driver will be able to start the bus only following its activation.
A consortium of two companies UAB Transrevis and Latvian Rīgas Mikroautobusu Satiksme won the two-stage tender for the selection of a new carrier. During the tender, the cost per 1 kilometre was evaluated and then a certain number of kilometres was purchased. Routes for the tender-winning carrier buses were selected based on mileage. All routes that have been operating in the city until present will remain unchanged, but only some of them will use the new buses. The annual mileage of the tender-winning carriers will amount to about 4 million kilometres or one-tenth of the city’s total public transport mileage. Vilnius public transport annual mileage reaches around 40 million kilometres.
Start of operations of the tender-winning carriers will not affect the prices which will remain the same. Passengers will not need to change their travel habits either. They will be able to use the same types of tickets and ways of paying for travel with Vilnius Public Transport Card or mobile app m.Ticket. Buses operated by these carriers will provide an opportunity to purchase one-time paper tickets from drivers”, says Vaidotas Meškauskas, Acting Director and Head of General Affairs Department of SĮ Susisiekimo paslaugos.
According to the signed contracts, the new operating carrier will have to deliver almost 100 new buses to the capital, 43 of which are long three-axle buses and 52 are medium-sized two-axle buses able to transport more than 60 passengers. In total, the new carrier will cover one-sixth of all operating routes including four main ones: 4G, 7, 43, and 55 bus routes. All buses are environmentally friendly and comply with EURO6 pollution standards.
Following the renewal of the capital’s public transport vehicles, including the new carrier’s buses and buses purchased by UAB Vilniaus viešasis transportas, more than half (53%) of Vilnius’s public transport vehicles running across the city’s streets every day will now be brand new.