Riga Transport gets €60m loan to buy trams, hydrogen-powered buses

Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the Latvian municipal transport company Rigas Satiksme (Riga Transport) have agreed on a 15-year loan totalling €60m to finance the purchase of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles and low-floor trams, LETA learned from the bank.

The agreement also provides for construction of a refuelling station and investments in low-floor tram infrastructure in Riga.

Rīgas Satiksme is set to acquire 20 new low-floor trams and ten buses with hydrogen fuel cells, and to invest in related infrastructure.

The delivery of trams manufactured by Skoda Transportation is scheduled for 2017. The planned infrastructure upgrade is aimed at adapting certain lines of the city’s tram network to low-floor trams, including rail crossings, platforms at stops, feeding cables and overhead wires. Rigas Satiksme is also investing in a hydrogen fuelling station for the hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.

“The project financed by NIB is a pilot aimed at introducing a new type of bus and expanding the low-floor tram network in Riga. We hope this development will increase the comfort level of the city’s public transportation and help reduce the negative environmental impact of fossil-fuelled road transport in a longer run," said Henrik Normann, NIB President.

The principle environmental benefit of introducing new trams and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles is the reduced emissions of nitrous oxides (NOx) and fine particulate matter (PM10). However, the technology chosen for the production of hydrogen is not considered sustainable and will result in approximately the same greenhouse gas emissions as for diesel.

Rigas Satiksme is fully owned by the city of Riga. The company provides public transport services and parking services in Riga. At year-end 2016, the company operated 460 buses, 200 trams and 270 trolleybuses, and it employed 4,100 people. The company carries nearly 150 million passengers a year.

NIB is an international financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries.

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