The Trolleybuses of
Ribeirão Preto

Transerp - Transportes Urbanos de Ribeirão Preto


In 1979, after the first oil crisis, Brazil's Transport Ministry created a
work group to develop a pilot project for trolleybuses in medium-sized cities.
Ribeirão Preto, in the interior of São Paulo state, was chosen and
Transerp - Empresa de Transporte Urbano de Ribeirão Preto,
a mixed economic enterprise, was created in 1980.
The routes were planned, construction began on the
workshop/depot, and 22 trolleybuses were ordered to Mafersa,
with Caio body and electric equipment by Villares - all Brazilian firms.
The first line, route 207, connecting the depot with city center,
was solemnly inaugurated on 30 April 1982 in the presence of
Mayor Duarte Nogueira, TV Ribeirão and the local press.
Revenue service begun on 24 July 1982.
Ribeirão Preto was the 12th city in Brazil, the 32nd in Latin America
to be have an electric trolleybus system.
New lines opened regularly:
on 7/8/1983 to Jardim Independência,
on 15/4/1984 to Vila Virgínia, on 1/12/1988 to Hospital das Clínicas,
and on 15/06/1992 - the fifth route -, to Iguatemi.
More routes and more passengers meant more vehicles and
the fleet was increased in 1992 - with 16 new diesel buses.
These began running alternately with trolleybuses on some lines.
In 1996, acknowledging their environmental advantages but faced with
progressively higher electric rates, and ever lower gasoline prices
(Brazil is now a major oil producer), Transerp tried to eliminate
trolleybus service. Six more diesel buses were bought.  
A new administration decided to keep the electric system,
but opposition forces were strong and three years later,
conquered but not convinced, it gave up.
In the early hours of Saturday 3 July 1999, the last Transerp trolleybus
returned to the depot and electric transport in the city came to an end.
Neither mayor nor TV cameras were present.
(* - Read in Portuguese what was reported.)
Consumatum est!
Transerp's seven routes were divided among the
city's three major private bus operators, which will operate
air-conditioned vehicles powered by diesel motors. 


(click on the photos to enlarge)



Allen Morrison visited the Ribeirão Preto
trolleybus system on 28 December 1982,
shortly after its inauguration.
He photographed vehicles
#1007 (above) and #1015
on the President Dutra line.

1007, 1982/12/28
1015, 1982/12/28


1013, 1985  

In the mid-1980s and again in May 1990,
Rio's Transporte Moderno magazine,
published articles about Ribeirão Preto
trolleybus system.
The covers of both issues
showed vehicle # 1013.

1013, 1990/05



Praça Carlos Gomes Transfer Station
was inaugurated on 30 November 1988.
All trolleybuses lines met there and
passengers could change vehicles
without paying an extra fare.
It closed at same time as the trolleybus system.

Trólebus 1002 na Estação de Integração da Pç. Carlos Gomes, 1999/06/14
Trólebus 1019 saindo da Estação de Integração, 1999/06/14


Trólebus 1022, Rua Américo Brasiliense, 1999/06/14  

In later years trolleybuses and diesel buses
shared the same routes. The electric vehicles
were always preferred and ran full
- as shown by Emidio Gardé's photo of
# 1020 (left), taken on 15 June 1999.

Trólebus 1020, Rua Martinico Prado, 1999/06/15



Two nice views of Ribeirão Preto trolleybuses
taken by Emídio Gardé on 14 and 15 June 1999:
# 1008 (above) and 1018 (right).
Build in Brazil by Mafersa,
both have Caio bodies and
electric shopper equipment by Villares.

Trólebus 1008, 1999/06/14
Trólebus 1018, 1999/06/15


Depôt, 1999/06/15  

Two pictures taken at same spot - 17 days apart:
Top view shows three trolleybuses in the
Transerp yard on 15 June 1999.
The bottom picture, taken on 3 July,
shows the entire fleet, all twenty two vehicles,
in the Transerp "cemetery"
in the morning after the system closed.

Cemitério, 1999/07/03


Bilhete, fase experimental, 1982


at the beginning in 1982 (left)
and at the end in 1999 (right).

Bilhete, frente, 1999/06/15
Bilhete, verso, 1999/06/15



The (enlargeable) map at right,
drawn by Gert Aberson,
shows the system on 15 March 1992.
Another line, route 103 to Forum,
opened later.

Mapa das linhas de Trólebus de Riberão Preto


Poleiro para pássaros.

Unless the error is admitted and the Ribeirão Preto system
reopens, and as long as the overhead wires is not sold,
perhaps this will be its only use.
It may be ecologically correct, but this was surely
not the reason that public funds were invested
in the Ribeirão Preto trolleybus system!




(*) I sincerely thanks Vitor Cervi and his newspaper Verdade (Truth) of Ribeirão Preto, who alone reported the closure of the trolleybus system. Sr.Cervi also sent basic historical data on the system and the black and white photographs shown on this site (Read the entire newspaper article, in Portuguese).

Nedstat Counter Editions: first - 2000.08.05; last - 2004.07.10
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