Upgraded tram lines improve links between Riga and Skanste

Thanks to EU funding, new tram lines are being built and existing lines modernised in Latvia’s capital Riga. The work, which also includes the purchase of rolling stock, is part of a project to improve connections between the neighbourhood of Skanste and the city centre.

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A total of 3.6 km of tram line is to be constructed during the project. When completed, it will connect the existing tram route 6 with routes 5 and 9. The 3-km stretch of tramway earmarked for modernisation runs from the junction of Ganību Dambis and Pētersalas iela to Riga Central Market. The acquisition of 12 units of rolling stock will make it possible to run trams on the lines at maximum intervals of 10 minutes.

A long-term commercial bank loan of EUR 27.4 million was taken out by Riga municipal public transport company, Rīgas Satiksme, to finance the purchase of rolling stock. Further financing will come from national authorities and via other special financial instruments, as well as from the EU’s Cohesion Fund.

All the newly built and upgraded infrastructure will be adapted for low-floor trams, which improve accessibility, especially for people with reduced mobility, the elderly and people with prams or pushchairs. Furthermore, the project will contribute to achieving the wider aim of extending by 8 km the total length of newly built or reconstructed tram line in the city by 2023.

Better connections with main transport hubs

As a result of the work, Skanste will benefit from direct connections to Riga’s main transport hubs, particularly the Freeport of Riga, the international coach terminal and the central railway station. This is essential in light of the rapid growth that Skanste has experienced in recent years, in terms of both the number of people working there and residents.

By promoting a means of transport which emits low levels of greenhouse gas and strengthening links between nodes for various types of transport, the project will contribute to the development of environmentally sustainable intermodal mobility in the city. It will also support the shift towards a low-carbon economy, which is an important EU policy priority.

With close to 700 000 inhabitants, Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states and home to around a third of Latvia’s population. Famous for its art nouveau architecture, the city’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination. 

Located in the Vidzeme suburb, one of six administrative districts within the Riga municipality, Skanste covers a total area of just over 2 km². A new business district is under development in the neighbourhood, which is also home to Arēna Rīga, an indoor facility with a capacity of 14 500, primarily used for ice hockey, basketball and concerts.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Riga tram infrastructure development” is EUR 123 854 000, with the EU’s Cohesion Fund contributing EUR 65 669 331 through the “Growth and Employment” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.