Abstract : Mexico City resident Jose Luis Aranda gets off a new trolleybus in the city, only to be surprised by how quiet and comfortable his ride has been, with passengers able to stay sufficiently distanced in today's post-pandemic world.
MEXICO CITY, March 25 (Xinhua) — Mexico City resident Jose Luis Aranda gets off a new trolleybus in the city, only to be surprised by how quiet and comfortable his ride has been, with passengers able to stay sufficiently distanced in today’s post-pandemic world.
The 70-year-old public accountant said he has seen the Chinese-made trolleybuses come and go for some time, but only until recently did he take one of the electric vehicles, known for their cutting-edge technology and energy efficiency.
“I like the way it looks, I like its comfortableness, above all it is quiet. It also has a panel that tells you all the stops and even plays music,” said Aranda.
Manufactured in China by leading bus maker Yutong, the slick blue-and-black trolleybuses have greatly upgraded the city’s 70-year-old trolleybus network, attracting new riders, both authorities and passengers agreed.
Since they started arriving in Mexico in 2019 from Yutong’s plant in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou, the fleet of 193 zero-emission trolleybuses have been serving capital commuters along several main thoroughfares, such as Eje Central, or Central Axis, where Aranda got on.
“Definitely the difference (with the old units) is huge … Right now, under this new normal, it is very spacious, so people can ride more distanced,” said Aranda.
Maria del Carmen Martinez, who has taken the trolleybus everyday for 15 years to visit her mother, said the new vehicles cut her travel time on the trip almost by half and substantially improved passenger experience.
“It was renovated, they are nicer, they are clean and it’s all air-conditioned,” said the 58-year-old real estate consultant.
Chinese trolleybuses are easy to board because their floors are lower, making them more accessible, Director of the Electric Transportation Service Guillermo Calderon said.
Moreover, those vehicles are well ventilated to reduce the risk of viral transmission, and 50 percent more energy efficient, he added.
“Yes, there are savings in terms of (energy) consumption per kilometer traveled. There is an important reduction of 50 percent,” Calderon told Xinhua.
The local government acquired the Chinese vehicles to make the trolleybus one of the pillars of its push to increase electromobility in one of the world’s most populous cities, which has been grappling with traffic congestion and air pollution.
Using the China-made vehicles, the city doubled the size of its non-polluting trolleybus fleet in two years.
According to Calderon, the previously dilapidated network was losing passengers and money.
The number of passengers on the trolleybus network, which connects with Metro stations and the Metrobus rapid transit service, increased to 100,000 a day by mid-February from 70,000 in previous months, he said.
Authorities were able to swiftly expand trolleybus routes without having to build the overhead catenary cables that feed units with electricity, since Yutong’s vehicles are equipped with a battery that can go 75 km without a connection to power cables, said Calderon.
“The performance was extraordinary … The batteries lost 7 percent of their charge, which was then restored by the conventional circuit connected to the catenary,” he said.
Drivers applauded the autonomy the battery offers, allowing them to easily bypass potential disruptions in service, like vehicles invading the trolleybus lane, and putting the cable out of reach, or power failures.
“Before, when an accident prevented us from passing, we would get stuck there. Now, we just go around and keep going,” said a driver with two decades of experience, who requested anonymity.
When announcing the renovation of a trolleybus line in January, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the electromobility project was advancing by leaps and bounds.
“This trolleybus is already becoming a Mexico City icon,” she said. Enditem
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Source: Feature: Chinese trolleybus fleet revamps electric public transit in Mexico’s capital