The transport companies in the German cities of Essen (EVAG) and Mülheim (MVG) complete the final stage of their long-planned merger into Ruhrbahn GmbH on 1 September. The coalition incorporates the joint undertaking Via Verkehrsgesellschaft and will realise significant cost-savings through the combining of administrative functions. Longer-term it is envisaged to give the new operator a stronger position for joint procurement through collective ordering.
The merger was signed on 14 July by Essen Mayor Thomas Kufen and his counterpart from Mülheim Ulrich Scholten. The new Ruhrbahn has its headquarters in Essen and will have about 2500 employees, operating 184 trams on 11 tram and three Stadtbahn lines, as well as a combined fleet of 237 buses on 84 lines. With a population area of 760 000, 150m passengers are carried each year. The separate identities of both EVAG and MVG will disappear from 1 September, to be replaced by the Ruhrbahn branding with a new yellow and blue logo.
Duisburg operator DVG was originally intended to be part of the merger, but withdrew in late 2016.
In Essen Stadtbahn-M cars 1101-16 are being withdrawn; ex-Docklands car 5211 has been scrapped. Mülheim Stadtbahn-M trams 283/8-94 are for sale.