Trambus, the city of Rome public transport company, re-introduced the filobus (trolley-bus) to the city on 22 March after an absence of 33 years. Thirty of these new buses have begun service on the 90 express route from the central Termini station to Piazza Sempione at Fidene, an area on the northern outskirts of the city.
The buses, which are 18 metres long, were built in Hungary and Poland and can carry up to 139 passengers, 45 seated and 94 standing. They run the 11,5 km route using overhead electricity lines from Piazza Sempione to outside the city walls at the Porta Pia, and from there to the Termini station they run on a battery.
There is something rather old-fashioned about the trolley-bus; they are not very fast (the route with 33 stops takes about 50 minutes) and they make only 10 per cent of the noise of a normal bus. Their greatest advantage is that they do not pollute the air at all.
When Walter Veltroni, the city mayor, inaugurated the new vehicles, he said that the city was moving into the future; however, many of the passengers using the 90 express, particularly the older city residents, felt that they had stepped back into a calm and tranquil past.