Wrocław City Council yesterday snubbed the opportunity to order more of the popular Pesa Twist trams, instead choosing to go for the much cheaper option presented by Modertrans.
The Modertrans trams, 56 in total, will be the same as the ones currently navigating the tracks in Wrocław (photographed above left). Five of the trams are to be delivered in October of next year, with the remaining vehicles expected to be ready 11 months after that.
The trams will cost 176 million zł, however Wrocław City Council can count on 159 million zł of EU cash to help fund the purchase. The money is being made available to the city for use in public transport projects that will greater assist passengers with reduced mobility.
Critics are nonetheless keen to point out that the trams are only 27% low floor, which many observers believe is very much behind the times when it comes to new trams.
The Modertrans trams also came under fire earlier this summer; in June a woman luckily escaped serious harm when she fell out of a packed tram after the doors inadvertantly opened while the tram was moving. Following an investigation MPK concluded that the problem was limited to the one tram in question. However soon afterwards fears about the trams re-emerged when a video surfaced of another Modertrans tram with a door that did not appear to close properly.
In defence of their decision, Wrocław City Council have stated that they must replace the city's 40 -year-old trams, which are 0% low floor. They have also stressed that the Modertans trams will be equipped with air-conditioning, a modern sound system and usb phone chargers.
The Pesa trams are also significantly more expensive – in fact they cost roughly double the price. Therefore if Wrocław City Council were to go with Pesa's offer, they would either have to accept purchasing less trams or cough up the extra cash from the city's budget.
The Pesa trams quickly developed a positive reputation among passengers once they were put into operation in 2015. The trams are very spacious as well as being 100% low floor. Like the Modertrans trams, the Pesa trams also feature air-conditioning, a modern sound system and usb phone chargers. Another advantage is the design and build quality. It is said to be noticeably better than that of the Modertrans, which is essentially seen as an outdated tram with modern trimmings.
Despite the fact that Wrocław will soon have significantly more accessible trams than ever before, Tomasz Owczarek of Wrocław Civic Movement did not seem overly impressed by the Modertrans deal:
In the low floor part, which is only 27 percent [of the tram], there are only 2 seats. Older people or pregnant women will have to climb the stairs to sit down. It's dangerous in a moving vehicle – I have seen it myself already as in the similarly constructed 205s and the presently running Modertrans Beta, the elderly people can fall over when they go upstairs to get free seats.
In a poll conducted by Gazeta Wrocławska, 92% of respondents said they preferred the Pesa Twist to the Moderus Beta supplied by Modertrans.
What do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section.