The Electric Buses of Recife

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The electric buses of Recife started to circulate in June of 1960, with a fleet of 65 buses imported from the US. The trolleybuses (“trólebus”), as they were known, served 13 neighborhoods (map), such as Beberibe, Engenho do Mato, San Martin and Tejipió. By 1963, more than 130 trolleybuses crisscrossed the city.

Starting in the 80s, the electric buses began breaking down. There were maintenance problems, a lack of sufficient electric energy and the service just became completely deteriorated, giving way to diesel-run buses. The entire system was actually closed for a brief time, until another company gave it another chance.

For many that regularly took the trolleybuses, though, it was a pleasure to ride, it was safe and even a bit romantic at night, but with the passing of time they began to fall apart. The “banana” (the rod that connected the bus to the electric network) would fall and the driver would have to stop the bus to put it back in its place.

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Despite the problems and the dwindling fleet over the years, around 30 trolleybuses were kept running until 2001, when the electric bus system was terminated. The main issue over the years was that, coming from abroad, the trolleybuses were hard to fix and when they’d break down while in service, it’d create traffic jams.

Regardless, foreign studies currently show that electric buses are best suited for big cities. They’re lighter than the metro and don’t pollute the air. Many other countries maintain this type of transportation and even more are testing out new ways of utilizing it. – Source (PT)

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You can read more here in English.

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