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Moscow to introduce electric ships for river public transport; solicitation to open in September

The city of Moscow is planning to bring back river public transport after an absence of 16 years. Water transport first appeared in the city in 1923. In 1960s it was in great demand. In 2006 regular water transport on the Moskva River stopped running—only leisure trips remained. 49 bridges span the river and its canals within the city’s limits.


Landsat view of Moscow and Moskva River. February 2021

The Mayor of Moscow supports the implementation of the project and it will be launched in stages. As a first step, electric river trams will start shuttles regularly in 2022, and their number on cruise will gradually increase.

The carrying capacity of each route will be 15-16 thousand passengers per day; this will be another important element of Moscow transport and a convenient alternative to a personal car.


Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin inspects the model of the future Moscow passenger electric ship.

The future river vessels will be 100% electric—the same as Moscow’s city electric buses. The Moscow vessels will be spacious: about 22 meters in length, each with 42 seats, two of which are for people with disabilities. The cabin will have information screens, USB charging, Wi-Fi, places for scooters and bicycles, as well as comfortable seats and tables for working with a laptop.


One of mandatory terms for the supplier is a service contract; repair and maintenance remains with the manufacturer 24/7 for 15 years. It will give confidence that the manufacturer fully understands its responsibility and will produce reliable transport for the daily transportation of Muscovites and guests of the city.

All terms and requirements will be spelled out in the technical specification for the production of electric vessels. Moscow plans to launch the competition in September of this year.

Passengers will be able to pay for the trip with a Troika card, a bank card or using a biometric system. Single travel tickets holders will be able to travel on the ship at no additional cost.

A difficult challenge is the development of berths. Careful reconstruction and improvement of their availability will be required. For example, the transfer of surface transport stops or the creation of new pedestrian routes are necessary for the maximum convenience of future passengers. Some of the berths are equipped with charging stations for fast charging of vessels. Testing the first charging spot at one of the berths of route Nº 1 is already planned.


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