As Mayor of Tbilisi, former professional footballer Kakha Kaladze has committed to modernising local transport in Georgia’s capital city. In order to achieve this goal, he has placed his trust in partner MAN Truck & Bus.
When Kakha Kaladze sets himself a goal, he becomes single-minded in its pursuit. It is an approach that has served him well, both in his former life as a professional footballer and his current role as Mayor of Tbilisi. His latest mission is to get local transport in the Georgian capital fit for the future. To this end, he has placed his trust in his partner, MAN Truck & Bus – and the MAN Lion’s City. The city has ordered 90 of these modern city buses over the course of the past year, 50 of which have now been in use for several weeks. The remaining 40 vehicles are due to be delivered in October and November 2019.
In order to choose the design, colours and equipment of the city buses and make sure they were perfectly suited to the demands of local transport in Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze travelled to the MAN Customer Centre in Munich and Starachowice, Poland. “Our centre of expertise there is where our MAN city buses are made – including the vehicles for Tbilisi,” says Helmut Grosshauser, who is responsible for Regional Sales Management in the Center Importer Europe/CIS at MAN Truck & Bus.
The MAN Lion’s City M type buses come with a range of special features, including three extra-wide doors with stepless, low-floor entrances. These guarantee an optimum flow of passengers, thus reducing stopping times and easing tension on the streets of Tbilisi. Each one is driven by a 294 hp (216 kW), six-cylinder diesel engine with Euro 6. “Drivers, passengers and local residents alike will all benefit from the low exhaust emissions, quiet drive system and high level of safety these buses provide,” says Helmut Grosshauser. He then goes on to add, “After all, the buses are fitted with a number of assistance systems, such as the electronic brake system with ABS and an electronic stability program.”
MAN Truck & Bus had already delivered 144 MAN Lion’s City CNG buses to the metropolis back in 2016 and 2017. “MAN buses are safe, accessible, air conditioned, and comfortable for both the driver and the passengers,” says Kaladze. “But most importantly, they are ecologically clean because they run on biogas.” The mayor and his city’s great satisfaction with the vehicles was a key factor in the new contract that was agreed last year. “During our work together over the past few years, MAN has proven itself to be a partner we can really rely on,” says Kaladze, who is one of the most successful Georgian footballers of all time. The Georgian played for a number of clubs, including AC Milan, with whom he won the Champions League twice.