VILNIUS - On Nov. 12, the Vilnius municipality-owned company Vilniaus Troleibusai (“Vilnius Trolleybuses”) presented the first trolleybus assembled on its premises. The first trolleybus of the brand named Amber was assembled in two months from parts produced in Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. Future Vilniaus Troleibusai-made trolleybuses will be assembled in 15 days. The production cost of an Amber trolleybus is 720,000 litas (209,000 euros) for the company.
“It is 30-50 percent cheaper to assemble a trolleybus here than to buy it from abroad,” Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas said at the ceremony in the Vilniaus Troleibusai premises.
“Amber uses 10-15 percent less electricity than Skoda trolleybuses, which now dominate Vilnius streets,” Vidmantas Romualdas Striska, director general of Vilniaus Troleibusai, said, adding that Amber can travel a one kilometer distance without contact with the overhead electric line, as would a bus. He also said that production of Amber provoked interest abroad. “Bulgarians are interested in purchasing six such trolleybuses, while Italians asked if we could assemble the electric-power part for their buses,” Striska said, adding that Amber trolleybuses will go onto Vilnius streets in January.
Regardless, Vilnius soon plans to buy additional foreign-made buses and trolleybuses as well because of the co-financing from EU funds for such purchases. Last week, voting was held on the Vilnius municipality’s Web site, vilnius.lt, over which new buses - Italian, Czech, German or Polish-made - should be purchased by the municipality. The winner of the poll was the German-made Man bus, followed by Italian, Polish and Czech buses. All these buses are tested on Vilnius streets.
“In the future, we will start assembling electric-power buses which will replace trolleybuses and gasoline-using buses in Vilnius,” Zuokas said.
He also stated that the Vilnius municipality is considering a plan to establish its own taxi company with the intention to lower taxi service prices in the city.