Tallinn in the News January 2019

Tallinn to switch to electric buses by 2035

Our friends Electric

Tallinn plans to turn the entire city’s public transportation system green by the year 2035
Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT),  the city-owned public transport company, and Eesti Energia, the state-owned energy company, plan to switch to electric transportation within 16 years.

The plan would mean scrapping both internal combustion engines and trolley buses and replacing them with electric buses.

Tallinn currently has four modes of public transport: trains, trams, buses and trolleybuses.

TLT plans to purchase 650 electric buses to replace the current stock over the next decade.

Deniss Borodits, chairman of TLTs management board,  told the press the plan would not only involve replacing the entire fleet but would also mean expanding services.

“We definitely also want to make additions to some routes and add new routes. In total, this means approximately 650-700 transport units.”

The cost of electric buses varies from 500,000 to 150,000 euros a bus.Boroditspointed out the technology is becoming more widespread and affordable.
TLT and Eesti Energia signed an agreement to test electric buses and find ways to improve their range.

The city is to run a pilot project in 2020 with Eesti Energia developing new cost-effective and efficient ways of charging the buses. Ten buses will form part of the pilot project.

Electric Cars 

Eesti Energia management board member Margus Vals said the city moving to electric buses would encourage citizens to move over to electric cars.
Vals argued stored energy from cars and buses can be reused by the network. He believes electric buses and cars would eventually be integrated into the network.
“The popular belief is that the growth of electric transport will cause an overload on the electricity network.”
“We believe that this burden may not develop into a problem, as electric vehicles can also be regarded as storage devices,”  Vals said.

Tallinn wouldn’t be the first city to go electric, Shenzhen in China has converted its entire fleet of 1600 buses to electricity. In Denmark, the municipality of Roskilde which has 50,000 residents will become the first municipality to switch over to electric buses in April this year.

Electric buses can travel approximately 150km with one charge. City buses in Tallinn cover some 450km per day.

Free public transport in Tallinn to be expanded to all residents  

National elections are close at hand. On March 3 the country will decide who will govern for the next four years.
The Centre Party, the leading party in the coalition government, has put forward a plan to make free public transport free in Tallinn available for all residents of Estonia.

Parliamentary (Riigikogu) member Toomas Vitsut said the step was necessary to introduce some fairness.

“Our objective is to enable free public transport for all of Estonia’s people both in Tallinn as well as other municipalities where free public transport is or will be provided,”  Vitsut said.

Under the current system, only people who are registered as living in Tallinn are eligible for free public transport.

The proposed change would mean everybody living in  Estonia would be able to use buses, trolleybuses and trams for free.
The move comes after local politicians in the municipalities argued the much lower salaries of people in the countryside meant that non-Tallinners were at a disadvantage when coming to the capital.
Tallinn gets tax revenues from registered residents.
Vitsut said state and local governments should move toward unified free public transport system across Estonia.

In 2018, 11 of 15 counties across Estonia have adopted free regional public transport.  Tallinn introduced free public transport in 2013, the first major city to do so. Since then the system has spread to other countries.

Paris follows Tallinn’s lead

Paris’s deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire,  came to Tallinn in May 2018  to investigate the possibility of introducing free public transport in Paris.
At that time he told his Estonian handlers that he would do a feasibility study to look at the

“I will need to implement a study with the point of view to reduce pollution,” Gregoire told the press.

Now the result of the study is clear.

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has announced public transport in the capital city will become free for children between the ages of 4 and 11
The scheme is to start on the 1st of September 2019.

Hidalgo promises free public transport for disabled people under the age of 20,  and discounts of 50 per cent for high school and college students.
The move by Paris is an interesting one because at the time the deputy mayor said the main motivation for free public transport who reducing pollution and getting people out of their cars.

”It is technically possible to have free public transport, but gratuity doesn’t exist. If it is free it is because someone else paid. We need to build scenarios to evaluate the purpose. The purpose is not only to increase the use of free public transport but to reduce the use of cars,” Gregorie said in May.

Meanwhile, Luxembourg is to make all its public transport free in the entire nation. Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted in summer 2019 under plans of the coalition government.

Chinese Light sculpture exhibited in Tallinn. 

Chinese New Year is upon us. In Kaarli Avenue there is on display a multicoloured sculpture of light. The giant dragon-shaped sculpture is a result of co-operation between Tallinn city’s cultural office and the Chinese Embassy in Estonian.

Vadim Belobrovtsev, Deputy Mayor said the sculpture of light was a representation of the greater cultural and economic ties between Tallinn and China in recent years.

“The Handcrafted animal-shaped lamps bring colour to the cityscape and will make the dark winter days brighter. The five-meter high and the nearly 40-meter-long dragon will be an attraction, and 11 pandas between bamboo roses will definitely rejuvenate you and want you to take a  picture with it, ” Belobrovtsev said.

Haitian Culture, an international company from China, has been organising the lantern festivals for 20 years in more than 40 countries.

The exposition of light sculptures opens a series of events dedicated to the arrival of the Chinese New Year, culminating on February 2 at Vabadus Väljak (Freedom Square). There will be musicians, dancers and martial artists coming to Estonia from Beijing.