Trolleybuses in Prague as an economical tool for the electrification of public transport
Historic trolleybuses returned to Prague’s streets on the 50th anniversary of the end of trolleybus service in Prague to bring attention to the upcoming return of this mode of public transport to the city. The capital city is reinstating the use of this type of vehicles mainly to reduce the carbon footprint of transport, reduce vehicle noise pollution, and increase passenger comfort (thanks to its quietness, among other things). In addition, trolleybuses can be operated in places where laying new tram lines would be too complicated. Fun fact: the buses will not have registration plates, as they are operated under the Railways Act!
In pilot operation, the City of Prague will deploy trolleybuses on the route Palmovka – Prosek – Letňany – Čakovice – Miškovice and the existing bus line 140 will be changed to trolleybus line 58. This line will be served by dual-mode buses, which can disconnect from overhead lines during the journey. In sections without overhead lines, they will run purely on battery power. The battery is significantly smaller in dual-mode buses than in their fully electric counterparts. In addition, compared to electric buses, dual-mode buses with a smaller battery also benefit from a lower acquisition price and operating costs. This is partly due to the fact that once the battery reaches the end of its service life, it does not get replaced, and the trolleybus spends the rest of its life on a fully electrified route instead. Vehicles on the new line 58 – which had the same designation back in the 1950s – will be powered from overhead lines for about half of the route and will run on battery power for the rest of the journey.
The reintroduction of trolleybus service in Prague is a step towards fulfilling the objectives of the Sustainable Mobility Plan (https://poladprahu.cz/action/elektrifikace-bus-linky-140-ii-etapa/) and other projects leading to the implementation of the Climate Plan objectives. The City of Prague and the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) are planning the electrification of other lines as well. These plans include the use of a three-section articulated trolleybus on the route between Veleslavín and Václav Havel Airport, which is set to replace line 119.