de-BVG Bombardier low floor tram

GERMANY: The supervisory board of Berlin transport operator BVG has approved plans to purchase 107 new trams from Bombardier to continue the city’s fleet replacement programme.

Meeting on December 3, the board also endorsed the next operating contract with the Land of Berlin, which is due to run to 2035 and is estimated to be worth around €19bn. The long-term strategy will see BVG investing up to €6bn over the next few years, according to recently appointed CEO Eva Kreienkamp, who took over in October.

She confirmed to local media that the coronavirus pandemic had seen BVG ridership slump from a record 1·13 billion passengers in 2019 to between 800 and 900 million this year. Transport Senator Regine Günther told the Senate on December 3 that the city’s transport networks would lose at least €300m as a result. BVG had reported losses of up to €117m for the period up to the end of August and S-Bahn Berlin GmbH another €155m.

Nevertheless, Kreienkamp insisted that ‘Corona is passing, but the climate crisis remains’. Around one-third of the planned €6bn investment will be targeted at expansion of the city’s tram and U-Bahn networks, one-third for decarbonisation of the bus fleet and one third for modernisation and renewal works, she explained. This is in addition to the 1 500 metro cars to be delivered by Stadler from 2022 at a cost of €2·4bn, which are being financed directly by the state.

Daimler Buses eCitaro battery bus for BVG.

Valued at €470m, the latest tram order will include 75 ‘extra-long’ vehicles of around 55 m, with a capacity for up to 310 passengers, as well as 32 trams with a length of 40 m. They are expected to replace life-expired Tatra trams, enabling routes M5 and M6 to be operated entirely with low-floor cars. BVG is reportedly also planning to purchase a batch of 30 electric buses to be based at its garages in Britz and Cicerostrasse.