map placeholder
Click on a country for details.

Trolleybus Usage by Country 2024

Trolleybuses are a type of electrically-powered bus that receives its energy from cables that run overhead and are supported by spring-loaded poles. While they offer advantages over other forms of mass transit, trolleybuses are largely obsolete in developed countries, where they primarily serve as tourist attractions. However, trolleybuses still provide significant passenger transportation in a few countries.

History

The world's first trolleybus system was built in Germany in 1882, where it quickly became a popular form of transportation. They remained common in many countries during the early 20th century, until private motor vehicles became readily affordable to the general public. Since then, the use of trolleybus systems has been declining, with 276 active systems remaining in the world as of 2021. In total, over 800 trolleybus systems have existed, although not all at the same time.

Advantages

Trolleybuses offer several advantages over other methods of passenger transport. For example, the infrastructure is easier to build and maintain than tram networks. In addition, trolleybuses generally climb hills more efficiently, avoid traffic more easily and are quieter. They're also more environmentally friendly than buses, are easier to maintain and typically last longer.

Disadvantages

Trolleybuses require the driver to exert much more directional control than trams, creating a greater potential for collisions. The need for overhead cables also prevents trolleybuses from deviating from their prescribed routes the way buses can. This limitation is particularly disruptive when a trolleybus encounters a vehicle accident or road construction. For the same reason, trolleybuses can't overtake each other.

In addition, the cables can prevent tall motor vehicles like tractor-trailers and double-decker buses from using the same route as trolleybuses. Furthermore, inhabitants of areas with trolleybuses often consider cables to be unattractive.

Trolleybus Systems by Country

The following list shows the countries with at least 10 trolleybus systems as of 2021:

Trolleybus systems are highly concentrated in Eastern Europe and Asia. Russia has the most by far at 79, with neighboring Ukraine a distant second at 41. Ukraine also has the world's longest system in terms of route length, which is based in Kyiv. In addition, China and North Korea have a significant network of trolleybus networks. Outside Eastern Europe and Asia, Italy and Switzerland are the only other countries with more than five trolleybus systems.

Download Table Data

Enter your email below, and you'll receive this table's data in your inbox momentarily.

Country
Trolleybus Usage Status
Trolleybus Usage Cities
ArgentinaOperational (In various cities including Mendoza, Rosario, Córdoba)Bahía Blanca, | Buenos Aires, | Córdoba, | La Plata, | Mar del Plata, | Mendoza, | Tucumán, | Rosario
ArmeniaOperational since 1949, six routes run in YerevanYerevan
AustriaSalzburg has the largest system; Innsbruck's system closed in 2007 due to the expected light rail expansion.Innsbruck, | Kapfenberg, | Linz, | Salzburg
AzerbaijanSystems existed in five cities, all closed in the 2000sBaku, | Ganja, | Mingachevir, | Nakhchivan, | Sumqayit
BelarusMinsk has the world's largest trolleybus system. Other cities also have operational systems.Babruysk, | Brest, | Gomel, | Grodno, | Minsk, | Mogilev, | Vitebsk
BelgiumTrolleybuses operated in the past in Antwerp, Brussels, Liège, and Ghent. Ghent's system closed in 2009.No operational systems
Bosnia and HerzegovinaTrolleybuses operate only in Sarajevo with seven routes (101–107).Sarajevo
BrazilOperational (Separate systems in São Paulo and Santos)Santos, | São Paulo
BulgariaVarious cities have operational systems; Pleven has the most developed system. Some systems closed due to financial reasons or road construction.Burgas, | Haskovo, | Pazardzhik, | Pleven, | Ruse, | Sliven, | Sofia, | Stara Zagora, | Varna, | Vratsa
CanadaVancouver: Operational, Laval: Under Consideration, Montréal: Under ConsiderationLaval, | Montréal, | Vancouver
ChileOperationalValparaíso
ColombiaHistorical (No longer in operation)Bogotá (1948–1991), | Medellín (1929–1951)
CroatiaRijeka and Split had trolleybuses until 1972.No operational systems
Czech Republic14 operational trolleybus systems.Multiple cities
DenmarkTrolleybuses were in operation in Gentofte (1927–1963) and Odense (1939–1959).Gentofte (suburb of Copenhagen), | Odense
EcuadorOperationalQuito
EstoniaTrolleybuses in use, with a gradual substitution with hybrid drive buses.Tallinn
FinlandBoth cities had trolleybus systems in the past. Helsinki is considering restoring trolleybus services.Helsinki, | Tampere
FranceTrolleybuses are in use, and preserved trolleybuses are at the Musée des Transports (AMTUIR) in Colombes.Limoges, | Lyon, | Nancy, | Saint-Étienne
GeorgiaTrolleybuses once operated in 12 cities, only Sukhumi remainsSukhumi
GermanyThree cities have operational trolleybus systems.Eberswalde, | Esslingen, | Solingen
GreeceAthens has one of the largest trolleybus networks in Europe with 354 vehicles.Athens
HungaryTrolleybuses are in use in three cities.Budapest, | Debrecen, | Szeged,
ItalyVarious cities have operational trolleybus systems. New systems are under construction or planned.Bologna, | Milan, | Rome, | Multiple additional cities
LatviaTrolleybuses have been in use since 1947.Riga
LithuaniaTrolleybuses have been in use since 1956 and 1965, respectively.Kaunas, | Vilnius
MexicoOperationalMexico City
MoldovaTrolleybuses are used in several cities.Bălți, | Chisinau, | Tighina, | Tiraspol
NetherlandsTrolleybuses were in use in the past; Arnhem's system is still operational.Arnhem, | Groningen, | Nijmegen
NorwayTrolleybuses have been in use since 1950.Bergen
PeruHistorical (No longer in operation, converted into trams)Lima (1928–1931)
PolandThree cities have operational trolleybus systems.Gdynia, | Lublin, | Tychy
PortugalTrolleybuses are operated in Coimbra. Braga and Porto had trolleybuses in the past.Braga (past), | Coimbra, | Porto (past)
RomaniaSeveral cities have operational trolleybus systems. Timișoara's system was built with Italian equipment.Bucharest, | Cluj, | Iași, | Timișoara, | multiple additional cities
RussiaTrolleybus systems operate in various cities, including an interurban network in Crimea.Nizhny Novgorod, | Saint Petersburg, | 80+ additional cities
SerbiaBelgrade has eight trolleybus routes with plans for extensions.Belgrade
SlovakiaTrolleybuses operate in four cities.Banská Bystrica, | Bratislava, | Prešov, | Žilina
SloveniaTrolleybuses operated in Piran and Ljubljana in the past.Ljubljana (past), | Piran (past)
SpainCastellón de la Plana has a new system since 2008. Trolleybuses operated in various Spanish cities in the past.Castellón de la Plana
SwedenLandskrona has a small operational system.Landskrona
SwitzerlandSeveral cities have operational trolleybus systems; some systems closed in Lugano and Basel.Geneva, | Lausanne, | Lucerne, | multiple additional cities
Trinidad and TobagoHistorical (No longer in operation)Port of Spain (1941–1956)
TurkeyTrolleybuses operated in Ankara (1947-1986), Istanbul (1960s-1984), and Izmir (closed in 1992). New systems in Malatya (opened in 2015) and Sanliurfa (opened in 2023)Ankara, | Istanbul, | Izmir, | Malatya, | Sanliurfa
UkraineTrolleybus systems operate in various cities, including the world's longest route in Crimea.Kharkiv, | Kyiv, | Lviv, | Odesa, | multiple additional cities (40+ in total)
United StatesBoston: Operational, Philadelphia: Operational, San Francisco: Operational, Seattle: Operational, Dayton: Operational, Various Museums: PreservationBoston, | Dayton, | Philadelphia, | San Francisco, | Seattle, | various Museums
UruguayHistorical (No longer in operation)Montevideo
VenezuelaHistorical (No longer in operation)Caracas (1937–1949), | Mérida (2007–2016), | Valencia (1941–1947)
showing: 47 rows

What countries have trolley buses?

Many countries have had trolley buses over the years, but many no longer exist. Armenia, China, Georgia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, New Zealand, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Soviet Union, and Turkey, are all countries that have had trolley buses in recent years.

Frequently Asked Questions