Basel: trolleybus versus gas bus
filed on: 29.03.2006 (29th Mar 2006)
As regulars to this website will be aware, Basel intends to abandon its trolleybus system. The system, however, enjoys significant popular support: The commitee Pro Trolleybus was formed to prevent abandonment and collected 7157 signatures in 2004, enough to force a referendum on the topic. The Basel government was not going to give in this easily and has now presented an official alternative for the referendum: the long term converison of the entire bus fleet to gas buses. This alternative, it is claimed, would provide the environmnental advantages of trolleybus retention at a fraction of the cost. The saved money might be better spent on cross-border tram extensions.
The results of a study (by the institute INTRAS and commissioned by the government) have been published comparing different bus types for Basel. The long term aggregated annual operating costs (without driver's costs) are 8.4 MCHF for an all-diesel fleet, 9.4 for an all gas fleet, 11.4 for a mixed trolley/diesel fleet and 12.0 for a mixed trolley/gas fleet.
Pro Trolleybus has been quick to point out how its actions have forced BVB's hand in departing from the all diesel option it had hitherto pursued. Furthermore, It points out the environmental advantages the report confirms and suggests that the additional costs must surely be worth this. The fight will go on!
Website comment: Quite besides the stated flaws in the official argumentation, the author of this website notes some interesting details in the text of the study. In the section on sensitivities (to errors in assumptions), it is suggested that the only factor influencing the prices of diesel and gas fuel are taxes. Anybody following the evolution of oil prices over recent years shouldn't have much difficulty spotting another factor. Also, the report stresses the difference to diesel costs rather than overall costs, so suggesting a trolleybus is at least twice as expensive as a gas bus. The comments on cross-border tram extensions sounds almost cynical — might being a mighty word.
This news item is from the 2006 newslog.
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