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Leipzig, Chemnitz and Dresden create a public transport partnership

Leipzig's newest tramway generation built by Solaris | © UTM/b

The SUMO programme aims to promote cooperation and reduce costs

In view of rising energy prices, a changing labour market situation, increasingly complex construction and vehicle procurement programmes, and the need for more digitalisation, the demands on local public transport have increased enormously. The Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB), the Chemnitzer Verkehrs AG (CVAG) and the Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB) have joined forces under the name “Sächsische Unternehmensallianz Mobilität” (SUMO) in order to fulfil their responsibility to make economical use of the necessary complementary funding from the federal, state and local governments. The aim of the public transport companies is to make their own contribution to reducing costs. Therefore, in addition to the reduction of energy consumption, the focus of SUMO is primarily on the search for future-oriented innovative solutions for timetable and service planning, customer-oriented digital sales, efficient infrastructure management, joint procurement of spare parts, cross-company training of employees or the use of environmentally friendly drives. Although there has been an exchange between the public transport companies for years, the coordinated SUMO programme takes cooperation to a whole new level. The activities are managed by the independent programme manager Andreas Trillmich, who, after 25 years as a managing director in public transport, has the necessary expertise.

“It is by no means trivial to conserve the remaining resources of our environment and to pursue the necessary digitalisation – but at the same time to maintain and further expand Saxony’s public transport. Therefore, the transport companies are also facing massive internal and external challenges. I see the Saxon Business Alliance Mobility SUMO project as an outstanding example in Saxony, especially in this task,” says Saxon Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport Martin Dulig.

“Saving energy has never been as important as it is today – not only from an ecological, but also from an economic point of view,” explains DVB Board Member Andreas Hemmersbach of one of the SUMO projects. “International political crises in particular have recently caused enormous price increases for energy, raw materials, building materials and personnel.” The resulting cost pressure is forcing transport companies to completely re-evaluate identified potential.

For example, in Dresden, the reorganisation of the night-time parking management of trams alone can save 975 megawatt hours per year.

Bus and tramway in Dresden | © UTM

Also included in the cross-company consideration in the SUMO programme are worn track sections that lead to a reduction in the speed of trams. Because of the associated energy losses, they must be assessed differently today than they were two years ago.

The introduction of the Deutschlandticket has once again underlined the high importance of digitalisation. However, SUMO is not only about customer-oriented electronic sales. Digital platforms for calculating timetables and service plans are also to be created, which can be used equally by all partners. In this way, even region-wide timetables can be calculated if necessary. Those responsible also see potential for cooperation in the increasingly complicated process of procuring new vehicles or developing assemblies for spare parts that are difficult to obtain on the market. Here, LVB’s main workshop in Leipzig Heiterblick is an efficient developer. Ulf Middelberg, spokesman for the LVB management: “It is important to us that SUMO turns our companies into real partners. A sustainable cooperation improves our future prospects, especially in the current crisis, and helps to secure jobs. We want to reduce our costs and offer ever better service for our customers.” Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe is involved in all six sub-projects of the joint project. To save energy in the current situation, LVB also implemented immediate measures. For example, the interior temperatures in the vehicles were lowered and on-demand stops were introduced for trams. This enabled LVB to achieve the statutory and municipal energy savings of 15 per cent in 2022. Further optimisations are underway: for example, the depots are being converted to LED lighting. An energy team is developing the measures, and the results are regularly checked with the help of a certification system.

While the first electric buses are in regular service in Dresden and Leipzig and an efficient charging infrastructure has also been set up, CVAG is successfully using hybrid buses powered by biomethane. In the future, two equally environmentally friendly hydrogen buses are to be tested. “We are happy to share the results from the practical use of our buses with the people of Dresden and Leipzig, and in return we would naturally like to know everything about how their electric buses prove themselves in everyday use,” says CVAG spokeswoman Juliane Kirste about the hoped-for further benefits of SUMO. Haulage companies are also looking for the best drive technology for trucks in the future. SUMO gives us access to highly reliable data and practical experience for our decisions in public transport without having to do everything three times. Cooperation is also needed in driver training and education. In Chemnitz, for example, all buses have a driver assistance system that provides information on energy consumption. The bus drivers have to be trained to use the accelerator in an energy-saving way. But the system and the training can also be applied in the other cities. The three driving schools are already in exchange.

Results or forecasts so far (examples):


    Modernisation of traction power supply (2010-2022) – 17GWh/a = €5.9 million (at energy price of 0.35 cents/KWh).

    Parking management trams (2023) – 975MWh/a = 340,000 €.


    Development of driver assistance system including training of driving personnel.

Tram sector: – 3.0 MWh/a

Bus sector: – 215,000 Litre/a

    Adaptation of tram systems (reduction of interior temperature) – 2.4 MWh/a


    Driver assistance system in the bus sector established for years.

Fuel savings of up to 5 percent – 150,000 litres/a

Expected energy savings for trams – 600 MWh/a

    Conversion of building lighting – 400 MWh/a

© DVB / LVB / CVAG Presse