About Development – Tbilisi Trams
In 2004 the Tbilisi electric tram network celebrated its 100-year anniversary but just two years later it was closed due to its declining popularity and the prohibitive cost of overhaul.
The story of the tramway began in 1883 with the first horse-drawn tramcar. These were replaced in 1904 by an electrified tramway line.
One of the first electric trams
This beautiful old Tbilisi tramcar has been restored and is used as a cafe
By the close of the Soviet era Tbilisi had more than 100 kilometers of line and about 300 tramcars.
You can see what is was like to ride on a Tbilisi tram in this YouTube video
In 2010 the Mayor of Tbilisi signed contracts with French company Systra for a feasibility study to re-introduce trams to Tbilisi. Reporting in April 2012 Systra propose an initial 14 km long connecting the city centre to Saburtalo (universities) district. It is hoped that the line will open in 2014.
It is expected that the new tram line will serve 100,000 passengers daily with a travel time of 34 minutes in each direction.
The initial line linking the city centre with the Saburtalo university district via Rustaveli Avenue.
In the longer term there are plans for other lines to the airport in the south and to the densely populated areas to the north of the city (Digomi and Gldani).
The re-introduction of trams is very good news for the city. A tramway uses road area eight times more economical than auto transport and because trams use a special line on the road they are faster.
Tbilisi has a responsibility to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent by 2020. The tram line will play a significant role in this.