The municipality of Chisinau has one of the largest contact networks for city electric transport and over 80% of the travellers are transported by trolleybuses. Approximately 400,000 passengers daily use electric transport in the municipality of Chisinau. A number of 332 trolleybuses run on routes in Chisinau, alongside 133 buses and 130 minibuses. But this number of public transport units is not enough to save the capital city from traffic jams, primarily at rush hour. The municipality aims to shorten the routes and to buy new-generation articulated buses.
Modernization of urban transport
The Electric Transport Company plans to replace all the old trolleybuses with high floor with new-generation units of transport by the end of this year. These trolleybuses represent about 18% of the company’s trolleybuses. The company’s director Dorin Chernyi said the Soviet trolleybuses can no longer guarantee comfort and the safety of passengers. Their power consumption is high and they are very heavy. Twenty trolleybuses were assembled last year and the same number is planned to be assembled this year. In parallel, they are looking for used buses. Approximately 30 used trolleybuses have been bought so far and ten of these are articulated. Ten articulated trolleybuses are to be purchased from Switzerland this year.
Owing to the cooperation with Eastern partners, trolleybuses made in Latvia, Switzerland, Austria run on the streets of Chisinau. “When they had been used in European cities, they proved their reliability. They are in a relatively good state even if some of them are older than ten years. Both the Chisinau Electric Transport Company as the provider and the passengers are very satisfied with these units of transport. Used trolleybuses run on almost all the routes, primarily on the most popular routes, such as No. 10, 4, 8, 22,” stated Dorin Chernyi.
The Urban Bus Company also acquired new units of transport. According to Vitalie Mihalache, head of the General Urban Mobility Division, 100 new buses and 74 used buses were purchased for the Urban Bus Company. All the buses that run now on routes were purchased recently. Sixteen articulated buses will also be put on routes in the city after they are subject to technical overhaul and the involved drivers pass the required training and testing.
Vitalie Mihalache noted that the passengers migrate to the municipal public transport. As the number of minibuses was reduced, the City Hall, the General Urban Mobility Division and the Urban Bus Company are looking for small-capacity units of transport to serve the areas where minibuses do not run. “We want the quality of the maxi-taxi transport services provided by business entities to be improved. We have quality passenger transportation standards that must be met and those who do not meet these will have to withdraw,” he stated.
This year the municipality will complete the implementation of the project to build 22 km of lanes intended for public transport, which will be used also by owners of alternative transport, bicycles and scooters, and by ambulances and firefighting vehicles. But the drivers with private transport still break the rules and sometimes use dedicated public transport lanes. Vitalie Mihalache said the responsibility can be increased with the assistance of the traffic police and infomercials.
Dorin Chernyi said the public transport lanes are situated in areas where the traffic is heavier. Surveillance cameras will be installed in areas with dedicated lanes where most of violations are recorded. The legislation should be reviewed so as to introduce penalties for the blocking of public transport. “The blocking of public transport leads to lost time, missed company incomes and dissatisfied passengers,” said the director of the Electric Transport Company.
The Chisinau City Hall launched the pilot project to introduce e-ticketing in municipal public transport in 2021, but the intention has been examined since 2012. “The e-ticketing project was initiated in 2012 and the reanimation of the processes started in 2012 was the most difficult part. We are assessing the possibility of continuing the project through financing from the EBRD. In parallel, we are initiating a project to take over the results achieved by specialists within the first project,” stated Vitalie Mihalache.
Dorin Chernyi noted that a number of improvements were made to reduce the falsification of tickets. “We had a lot of indexes showing how electronic ticketing should work in Chisinau City. The project is ongoing. Approximately 3% of the payments are made through these terminals,” he stated.
The other optimization measure is to install screens that show the waiting time for public transport. The General Urban Mobility Division is in the process of launching the purchase of 150 passenger information boards. These will be set up in bus and trolleybus stations. The screens used now on a trial basis show the waiting time according to the approved schedule, but the time is not accurate as the system is not connected to the GPS systems of the units of transport. The testing is done to rather see how these screens resist, including in the weather conditions typical of the municipality of Chisinau, and if the information is visible, explained Dorin Chernyi.
Optimization of sector
The municipality is preparing to launch a traffic monitoring center with the aim of identifying crisis situations or situations when other services need to intervene, including patrol officers. The project is long-lasting and necessitates human and financial resources. The municipality needs to attract specialists who would want to work at this center. The project is now financed by the EU, but later the municipality will identify solutions to support the center’s activities, said Vitalie Mihalache.
Dorin Chernyi noted that in 2022 all the objectives that were coordinated with the Chisinau City Hall were achieved. Big projects were planned for the immediate period and these necessitate large investments and the foreign partners’ support. With the support of the European Union, the Electric Transport Company aims to replace the traction substations and all the old trolleybuses. The routes will be reviewed and shortened and new routes will be opened. Battery-powered trolleybuses will be bought and units of transport will be assembled at the Chisinau Electric Transport Company.
Milena Macarciuc, IPN