Over the past decade, the capital has received hundreds of new public transport units. Here’s how they are steering Kyiv towards European standards.

Kyiv's new bus fleet

In 2015, the capital first faced a shortage of city buses due to constant breakdowns. To address the problem, the city authorities opened their own specialized maintenance station the same year. To this day, this service station, which is under the jurisdiction of Kyivpastrans, conducts diagnostics of bus technical conditions, performs current engine repairs, and undertakes complex body restorations of the enterprise's buses. This allows for cost savings and avoids involving private companies for the restoration of city transport. For example, the cost of repairing one unit of rolling stock at this station is 250,000 UAH, whereas external organizations would charge three times as much.

The issue of updating the bus fleet has also been resolved. Over the past 10 years, Kyiv has purchased 307 buses, and another 97 have been received as gifts from international partners. For example, the last three passenger buses arrived from Hamburg (Germany) at the end of April this year. According to the mayor of the capital, Vitali Klitschko, the city will receive several more such vehicles in the near future.

What buses did the capital have previously? If we exclude the remnants from the USSR, since 2006, Kyiv was dominated by old Belarusian MAZ buses. Their advantage was that they were cheap and easier to repair compared to German or Finnish counterparts.

Despite this, the capital needed a radical update of the bus fleet. In 2020, Kyiv acquired 200 new buses from the Belarusian MAZ factory under leasing terms. The new transport replaced the 2012 models and continues to operate on city routes.

Leasing a vehicle means a long-term rental, under which the client, by making monthly payments, has the right to buy the vehicle at its residual value and become the full owner.

The updated MAZ buses feature low floors, ramps, and special seats for people with disabilities. They are equipped with video surveillance and navigation systems. The driver's cabin and passenger salon are air-conditioned. Additionally, these buses meet the "Euro 5" ecological standard.

"Euro 5" is an environmental standard that regulates the content of harmful substances in exhaust gases.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that people travel around the city comfortably and to create conditions for motorists to switch to public transport as much as possible. This will help solve the problem of traffic congestion. It will also push outdated minibusses out of the transportation market, which no longer meet the requirements of modern comfortable transport,” said Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Steps in this direction have been taken. In May 2024, the "Malva" bus, produced in Ukraine, was showcased in Kyiv. The novelty was manufactured at the Chernihiv Automobile Plant.

"Malva" is a 9-meter bus designed to carry 72 passengers. It meets all accessibility standards and has 26 seats.

Each seat has a USB port for charging smartphones. The bus also offers free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Additionally, plans are to equip the bus with surveillance cameras and a vehicle location tracker. This will allow passengers to check where their bus is using the "Kyiv Digital" app.

The Cost of the Bus. The price of the bus is still unknown, as it has only been presented for demand evaluation. The debut of the first "Malva" buses on the streets of the capital has not been announced yet, but given their characteristics, their introduction is imminent.

Electric "Deer"

Kyiv's trolleybus network is the longest in the world, stretching 1,130 km. Therefore, this mode of transport is of great importance to the capital. After the collapse of the USSR, Kyiv's trolleybuses were mainly produced by the Kyiv plant "Aviant," but by the late 1990s and early 2000s, they were joined by Dnipropetrovsk's YUMZ-T, Lviv's LAZ, and Belarusian MAZ models. These trolleybuses operated in the capital until 2011–2013.

The first updates to the trolleybus fleet began in 2011, when the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced a tender for the purchase of 200 new trolleybuses for Kyiv. This agreement marked the beginning of the era of vehicles produced by "Bogdan Motors."

Bogdan Motors is a Ukrainian automotive company that is part of the Bogdan Corporation, a manufacturer of buses, trolleybuses, and electric buses.

Thanks to the agreement, Kyiv received new trolleybuses from Bogdan Motors until 2021, making up 98% of the capital's trolleybus fleet. These vehicles are equipped with air conditioning, video cameras for recording road and interior conditions, GPS trackers, an electronic ticketing system, passenger counting and accounting systems, light and sound route and information indicators, and have a minimum autonomous range of 1 km.

However, in July 2021, a court declared Bogdan Motors bankrupt. A year later, the state-owned Ukreximbank acquired the company's assets and decided not to resume production, opting instead to sell off the assets.

In 2022, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a new tender for the purchase of trolleybuses for the capital, worth 50 million euros. However, the procurement did not take place because none of the participants were approved.

Logical question: What will replace the outdated "Bogdans"? Before the full-scale war, this question was easier to answer because trolleybuses for other cities were produced by Lviv's "Electron," Chernihiv's "Etalon," Brovary's "Politekhnoservice," Lutsk's "BKM-Ukraine," and Dnipro's "Litan."

All except the first two manufactured buses with Belarusian MAZ and "Belkommunmash" bodies or were importers of Belarusian vehicles. Due to Minsk's position in the war, cooperation with these companies is impossible, leaving the question open.

In the past decade, only 111 trolleybuses have been manufactured in Ukraine.

Some companies have managed to replace Belarusian components. For instance, "Politekhnoservice" switched to bodies from the Turkish company AKIA. Dnipro's "Litan" won a tender to supply fifteen trolleybuses to Bălți, Moldova, but it's unclear what components they used.

Theoretically, the Ukrainian "Electron" could replace "Bogdan" in the capital. Currently, the company supplies trams to Lviv, but after fulfilling this contract, they could use their production capacity for trolleybuses. The need to update the trolleybus fleet in the capital is urgent.

The problem is that the service life of the "Bogdan" trolleybuses is ten years. While some vehicles have not yet reached this limit, the situation is approaching a critical point. Another issue is that "Bogdan" does not manufacture spare parts for its trolleybuses.

Given that Ukrainian production and repair are much cheaper, supporting local companies seems more promising for the capital. However, at the end of 2023, it was revealed that with funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB), Kyiv might receive nearly 70 new trolleybuses of Turkish or Czech origin.

The tender involved Czech company Škoda Electric and Turkish company Bozankaya. This was reported by Kyivpastrans and the NGO Passengers of Kyiv.

Škoda Electric offered to supply 70 trolleybuses, each 11.9 metres long, and three trolleybuses, each 18.5 meters long, for over 49 million euros. Bozankaya proposed to supply 71 trolleybuses, each 11.9 meters long, and three trolleybuses, each 18.5 meters long, for 150,000 euros less.

The NGO Passengers of Kyiv reported that the city would be able to receive the trolleybuses only 20 months after signing the contract, meaning the new trolleybuses would not be seen in the capital before 2026.

Changes in the metro

Over the last decade, the capital has undergone significant changes in its metro system. A total of 54 metro cars have been completely overhauled, 140 have been modernized, and 11 cars were received from Warsaw, Poland.

Most of Kyiv's metro cars, which were manufactured in the 1980s, have, frankly, served their time. In 2014, as part of the first phase of improvements, Kyiv received 95 modernized metro cars from the Kryukiv Railway Car Building Works.

Additionally, due to international cooperation between Ukraine and Japan, Kyiv received its first 35 modernized cars in 2015. Overall, Japan is set to update 200 cars, covering half of the repair costs.

In 2021, the city council returned to Ukrainian manufacturing. That year, the Kyiv Metro Repair Plant independently carried out the modernization of its rolling stock for the first time. Kyiv specialists repaired a train of five cars from 1981 to 1984. The refurbished train has been successfully running on the blue line of the Kyiv metro for three years. "We essentially have a new metro train—convenient for both passengers and the driver. The car bodies are made of fibreglass, and the new load-bearing structures ensure safe operation for the next 22 years," reported the Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA) press service.

The refurbished cars feature new windows, energy-efficient LED lighting, a new control panel in the driver's cabin, air conditioning, rearview mirrors, and windscreen heating. For the first time in Kyiv's metro, a visual station information system was introduced in the cars, displaying the metro line map and the train's location in real-time during travel.

The latest changes occurred in 2023: Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko met with Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski and signed a cooperation agreement between the metros of the two cities. Poland transferred 60 series №717 cars to Kyiv, the same ones used in our subway system.

As a result, since November 1, 2023, the first train composed of Polish cars has been running on the green line. In April 2024, a second train began operating on the same line. Some of the donated cars will be used as technical donors for major repairs, while others will be adapted and added to Kyiv's metro rolling stock. Adaptation work is currently underway on the third Polish train, which is expected to start operating by the end of this summer.

Regarding other changes, since 2020, Kyiv's metro has featured clocks displaying the time until the next train arrives. Additionally, defibrillators have been installed at all metro stations, saving several lives already.

However, no new metro stations have been opened in Kyiv over the last ten years, although they are promised to be completed in the coming years. For more details, read here. Also, it should be noted that part of the blue line was closed over the past year, and more information about this can be found here.

New trams

Before the appearance of the beautiful new trams shown in the photo, Kyiv's streets were populated by trams from the 1960s. In some parts of the city, these old trams still run. However, the city administration is doing everything possible to completely replace the old trams with modern ones.

The problem with trams in Kyiv began after the collapse of the USSR, when tram routes were massively cut in an attempt to replace them with wheeled transport.

The city's tram fleet went without updates for nearly 20 years, starting in the early 1990s. It wasn't until 2007 that a new tram model, the "Cobra," appeared on the city's streets. This tram was manufactured by the "Kyiv Electric Transport Plant." Essentially, it is a combination of two old Tatra T3 trams with an insert in the middle. This model can still be seen on the high-speed tram line in Borshchahivka. It was the first tram in the capital to have a low floor for easier access for people with limited mobility. Subsequently, the city purchased Odessa-made "Tatra-Yug" trams, but these were also morally outdated.

Significant changes were needed. From 2010 to 2014, specialists from "Kyivpastrans" built a tram called "Kashtan." It has three sections and a length of 31 meters. You can see it on the high-speed Borshchahivka line. In 2015, the "Kashtan" was replaced by the "Electron," manufactured in Lviv by a joint Ukrainian-German enterprise. This model is unique in that it is entirely low-floor, which improves service for people with limited mobility. It is over 30 meters long and can carry nearly 200 passengers at once, saving up to 40% of electricity compared to other trams.

The "Electron" was the first tram in the capital to have a modern and European look. However, this wasn't enough. That same year, a Polish tram, the "PESA," was brought to the capital. It was the first tram in Kyiv to have free Wi-Fi and USB ports for charging phones. It also has air conditioning. "Kyivpastrans" reported that before the full-scale invasion, the capital managed to receive 11 more "PESA" trams. Thus, the Polish model currently dominates the city's routes, but not for long.

Since the end of 2023, new modern Ukrainian-made "Tatra-Yug" trams have been running on route No. 8 "Lisova Metro Station-Poznyaky Metro Station" on the left bank of Kyiv.

"Thanks to the implementation of the 'Urban Public Transport of Ukraine' project, funded by the European Investment Bank, the city managed to purchase a batch of new trams," said Vitali Klitschko.

Route No. 8 operates seven three-section low-floor trams with a 15-minute interval. The passenger capacity is almost 2.5 times larger, so the route will carry over 1,000 passengers per hour.

Despite the full-scale war, Ukrainian enterprises are trying to provide the capital with public transport that meets European standards. In some ways, the war has even facilitated this effort.