Moscow’s sense of water, Mayor Sobyanin’s zero-emission river option

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Moscow relies on electric boats to accelerate and decarbonise travel. The initiative is a return to the past, because the last line connections along the river from the Russian capital date back to 2006 (when the engines were conventional), when they were abandoned to give way only to tourist trips. If all goes according to the plans of mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow will get its public transport boats back practically a century after their introduction in 1923. According to estimates by the metropolitan administration, with the reintroduction of ferries at least one million and means of people will benefit from zero-emission aquatic mobility. The movements should also be much faster, at least according to the simulations. Moscow commuters should be able to leave from Fili Park and reach Verkhniye Mnevniki pier in less than a quarter of an hour versus 65 minutes by bus. Or to move between banks – from Kolomenskaya to Pechatniki – in 180 seconds by water instead of more than an hour by land.

The electric boats will measure 22 meters in length and will have 42 seats, two of which are reserved for the disabled. The boats will also be modern in their fittings with screens, USB charging sockets, Wi-Fi, seats and workstations for working with laptops as well as spaces for bikes and scooters. On paper, an attractive, as well as functional alternative: for residents and the environment. What the mayor requires from suppliers is maintenance and assistance service 24 hours a day for 15 years. An important commitment to ensure faster and safer travel to no less than 15,000 people a day for each line. The problem, even in this case, is the infrastructure: charging, but not only. Because several berths will be needed, as well as many comfortable and safe moorings: the river public transport network will in fact have to operate all year round, winter included when temperatures are low. The first boats are expected to enter service in June next year, but the offer is expected to gradually increase. In September of this year the necessary characteristics for the public tender should be released, but considering the development times it seems quite clear that the range of potential competitors is already quite limited.

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