Expert Voices: Marcin Wróblewski - Chief Specialist, City of Warsaw – on the city’s policy concerning clean buses
Transport plays a fundamental role in Warsaw’s green growth vision. The city continues to build a high-quality transport system to facilitate the movement of people and goods, improve the quality of life of its citizens and minimize environmental impact.
To achieve its vision and goals the city is implementing a large-scale investment plan to modernize its public transport system. The two crucial documents for sustainable transportation policies – “The Transportation System of Warsaw: Sustainable Development Strategy up to 2015 and for successive years” from 2009 and “Sustainable Energy Action Plan for Warsaw in the perspective of 2020” (SEAP) from 2011 – help the city build high quality urban rapid rail and public bus systems and continually extend and upgrade tram and subway networks. The city also improves the service offered by renovating its rolling stock and its bus fleet, upgrading the public transport stops and stations, and introducing IT management systems.
Other measures aimed at promoting alternative transport modes and facilitating multimodal travelling complement this high-quality public transport system. Warsaw has an extensive urban network of cycling paths and bike-parking facilities, a modern bike sharing system and improved conditions for walking. The city has also created a network of transfer nodes (e.g. Park&Ride) and integrated ticketing systems to promote multimodal trips.
Collaboration between the city and MZA municipal company – the largest bus operator in the Warsaw agglomeration – is critical for making public transportation in Warsaw even more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. MZA’s efforts include:
- 4 hybrid buses that have been operational since 2011;
- A tender for 35 natural gas buses in 2013, which was awarded to LNG-powered vehicles and has already been partially completed;
- The first tender for electric buses in 2014, comprising 10 vehicles.
The Warsaw-owned company is also evaluating a range of different modern propulsion technologies available in the market to find the best technologies for mass implementation in the future. MZA has already purchased diesel-electric hybrids and 12-meter standard plug-in electric buses, and is now preparing to acquire gas-electric hybrids and electric buses with additional pantographs, which allow for extending range. The stock will also include longer, 18-meter electric vehicles.
The near-future plan is for MZA to purchase ten to thirty electric or hybrid-electric vehicles each year, partially depending on obtaining an adequate external financial assistance. By 2020, the Warsaw bus company plans to have around 130 electric and hybrid buses in its fleet, which will make it one of the largest environmentally-friendly bus operators in Europe.
Moreover, Warsaw is involved in the C40 Low Emission Vehicle Network, which is encouraging manufacturers and funding institutions to help make clean buses a viable and scalable solution for cities.
Obviously, electric vehicles cannot and should not act in vacuum, but rather shall constitute one of the elements of the modern, smart city. Our vision for the future of Warsaw’s downtown includes electric buses and electric cars in a car-sharing system, charged by renewable energy stations capable of both transferring energy and sending it back from car battery to grid.