L-R: Astra Vagoane President, Valer Blidar, Mayor Nicusor Dan, STB Director, Adrian Criț, Source: City of Bucharest

The largest tram purchase in Bucharest since 1989: The first one is already here

The largest tram purchase in Bucharest since 1989: The first one is already here

The city had to spend 200 million euros on the vehicles, as well as an additional 600 million to modernise the tracks

In May 2021, local authorities in Bucharest signed a 200 million euro deal with the Romanian tram manufacturer, Astra Vagone, for 100 new trams. Recently, the first vehicle was delivered to city officials and Mayor Nicușor Dan held a press conference to mark the occasion.

According to a statement by the city, the company will start delivering the 100 trams on a tight schedule, bringing in four trams every month. The whole order of trams is set to finish after a 15-month period when much of Bucharest’s tram network will be modernised.

For the first time since 1989

The tram purchase is a big deal for Bucharest, as this is the biggest one of its kind since 1989. For the last 30 years, there have been only 17 vehicles, bought by the municipality. The new trams, however, were financed through the European Union and according to Mayor Dan, came with strings attached.

The main one he referred to was the fact authorities had to modernise the tram tracks in much of the city – something they had not done in a long time. This also made the tram project even more expensive, as last April, authorities announced a plan to redevelop around 80 kilometres of tracks.

The project’s costs were set at around 600 million euros, which would come through from the Romanian Recovery and Resilience Fund. This means that the trams have, in a way, provoked Bucharest authorities to redevelop the whole network to the tune of 800 million euros in total.

More efficient trams

Despite the high cost of modernising the tram fleet, the new purchases come with a lot of benefits that could prove fundamental to the sustainable mobility transition in Bucharest. According to the head of the municipal transport company, Adrian Criț, the new trams are around two to three times more efficient than what the city currently operates.

He explained that the new trams need around 0.6 kilowatt-hours per ton-kilometre, while the older 1975 models which permeate the transit network need around 0,11 to 0,21 kilowatt-hours per ton kilometre. He also explained that the new ones can handle up to 20% more passengers, making them much more efficient and sustainable.



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