All three trolley bus companies merged into one in Shanghai yesterday in a prelude to the metropolis' development of this environmentally friendly form of transport.
With registered capital of 220 million yuan (US$26.6 million), Shanghai Bashi Trolley Bus Co Ltd will bring the city's 500 trolley buses together under its flag.
Bashi Group, which accounts for some 50 percent of the city's bus transport, controls 47.7 percent of the merger.
"Shanghai aims to build itself into an ecological city ideal for both working and living. The trolley bus has a part in helping the city to achieve this goal," said Xu Peixing, deputy general manager of the Shanghai Urban Construction and Management Commission.
Free of start-up problems and producing little noise and exhaust, the trolley bus is regaining favor worldwide, especially in environmentally concerned nations, Xu said.
The Municipal Planning and Development Commission has suggested more trolley buses. But no specific plan has been revealed as yet.
"The government is urging the operators to best utilize existing resources and we foresee great potential for boosting our trolley bus fleet," said Wang Liqun, president of Bashi Group.
The city's overhead electrical cable network has the capacity to handle 1,500 trolley buses.
"Separate management and small business volume have hindered the overall efficiency of the trolleys," Wang said. "But people's demand is setting the stage for a resurgence of this transportation 'relic'."
Shanghai's first rail trolley bus was put into operation in 1908 by a British businessman. When they were in their ascendancy at the end of the 1980s, Shanghai had more than 900 trolley buses on 21 routes. Now, the figures have been reduced to 500 and 17 respectively.
(China Daily July 25, 2002)