New Osijek Public Transport System Worth 58 Million Kuna on Horizon

By 4 August 2021

August the 4th, 2021 - Osijek and most of Eastern Croatia is continuously (and wrongly) overlooked, but despite that, it seems that a brand new Osijek public transport system worth a massive 58 million kuna is on the cards.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the City of Osijek could soon get one of the most modern public transport systems in all of the Republic of Croatia, which would be based on the modernisation and expansion of the tram network.

Namely, Osijek's City Passenger Transport signed a contract on Friday for the carrying out of various electrical and construction works with the companies Koncar-Inzenjering za energetiku i transport (Koncar-Engineering for energy and transport) and Colas Rail Hrvatska (Croatia).

According to the office of Osijek Mayor Ivan Radic, the works on the brand new Osijek public transport system are worth almost 58 million kuna, and they will renew the 9.5-kilometre tram network, the underground cable network, two existing stations, and they'll also build a new one.

Mayor Radic explained that these works are a precondition for the realisation of a mega project of the modernisation of public city transport worth 267 million kuna, of which 200 million kuna comes from European Union (EU) funds, and the rest is provided by the City of Osijek and the Croatian Government itself.

"The realisation of this, the largest project of the modernisation of public transport in Croatia, was agreed back in 2017 at a Government session held here in Osijek. As we know, in 2019, 12 new buses were purchased, 13 more modern buses are on their way to us, and now we're creating the preconditions to modernise our tram network as well. By the end of the year, we'll know who the contractor for the new depot will be, and after that, we're going to procure new, modern low-floor trams,'' said Radic, emphasising that the goal in the next three years is for the new Osijek public transport system to be the most modern in all of Croatia.

Minister Natasa Tramisak emphasised that 200 million kuna is coming from the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme 2014-2020, through the cooperation of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure. She added that the City of Osijek can count on European Union money in the further realisation of this praiseworthy but huge project.

"Tram traffic is recognised as one of the greener forms of transport and fits into the green policies of the European Commission (EC). Following this, we can expect the continuation of the modernisation of the existing infrastructure as well as the expansion of it, and at the same time the procurement of new vehicles,'' said Minister Tramisak.

Mario Sapina, the director of GPP Osijek, confirmed that these works on the new Osijek public transport system are an introduction to the next phase of the project of the modernisation of tram infrastructure in the City of Osijek, ie the procurement of brand new, ultra-modern low-floor trams.

Although rail and tram transport is the most environmentally and economically efficient model of transport in urban areas and beyond, the fact is that there are only two cities in Croatia where trams operate, with Zagreb and the famous blue ZET trams being the most obvious.

The introduction of trams, which is one of the few complex transport systems which can be fully produced right here in Croatia by Koncar, has been considered for decades in other Croatian cities, but for now only Zagreb and Osijek have this mode of transport.

About fifteen or so years ago, Zagreb had a large project to modernise its entire city tram system, and the same is now expected in Osijek. Traffic expert Zeljko Marusic believes that apart from these two cities in Croatia, there's unfortunately little to no space for another tram network to be introduced.

“Trams have their limits. They are, above all, applicable only in lowland areas, and not in hilly areas such as in Split and Rijeka. On the other hand, it isn't cost effective for smaller cities because there must still be some guarantee of a certain volume of passengers. Because of all this, I think that in other smaller cities, a much better quality environmental transport solution would be electric, hydrogen or diesel-electric hybrid buses,'' explained Marusic.

He added that he doesn't see any special purpose in expanding the tram network in the City of Zagreb either.

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