PUBLIC COMPANY FOR CITY
A long time ago, in 1885., the first horse-pulled tram in Europe
had provoked amazement and doubtness of people of Sarajevo.
Nowadays, every year on The Day of GRAS the honor lap of the old
Wiener reminds the Sarajevans of the day when it all started, and everyone
is proud of successes this important company does one by one.
Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Jusufranic, general manager of GRAS, explains:
"The public company GRAS has had, in it's long existence, it's ups and
downs. We have faced the culmination of our development during and after
the Olympic Games were held in Sarajevo in 1984. Further progress followed,
just until the 2nd of May 1992., when the aggression on our country started,
causing the city's public transport to stop for the first time in our existence.
Until then it was covering 700 kilometers long lines, transporting nearly
850.000 passengers daily. All this been done with 520 vehicles, on six
ways of transport. And while stabile business was unobtainable for many
companies of this kind in Europe, GRAS was doing business well before the
war started, and was financing itself, a fact many envied us on."
Now, having already 112 years of existence behind, they raise
from the ashes again. The man that is ahead of this exceptional company
with over 2000 employees succeeded together with them to create a miracle.
"During its existence GRAS represents the vein of a constantly
evolving city. To be at service to its town, GRAS follows that development,
connecting the new-built neighborhoods, while at the same time trying to
offer its users a faster, more economical and more comfortable transport.
So, with the wish to go faster and further on, horse-pulled
trams were replaced with electrical ones. Buses are an aid to the tram,
a trolley-buses we use to satisfy both economical and ecological conditions(terms)
: using cheap domestic energy, reducing noise and air pollution. And the
minibuses found their own place, too. They are meant for hill-side parts
of the town, so that their inhabitants can also have fast public transport
to the city.
We have built a cable railway so that the tourist beauties
of Trebevic mountain and a most attractive view of Sarajevo is at everyone's
reach. With an angled elevator in Ciglane we've provided an easement to
the people living in this modern settlement."
THE BROKEN THREAD
"Our development was interrupted by the start of the aggression
on our country and the first tram being shelled. That did interrupt, but
did not stop the public transport. The employees of GRAS reacted immediately,
using buses as the only possible mean of public transport at that time.
About 1.200 GRAS employees stood up to defend their country, 109 built
their lives into what we have now, and nearly 300 were wounded. GRAS has
not forgotten them, and proceeds helping them within the limits of its
possibilities. During the war, a small team of 150 men worked on retaining
the public transport, having future in mind.
Thanks to them, at the end of the war GRAS had 67 projects
prepared to finish. Estimated damages in GRAS were quite close to 100 million
DM, but, thanks to friends throughout the world and donators, the consequences
of the destruction of war are being repaired daily. We also cannot forget
the great help and support given to us by the Government of Canton Sarajevo.
One date from the war history of GRAS we consider a great
turn-point to what happened after. In the surrounded, but never enslaved
city, a city under shellfire and snipers raging, on the 15th of March 1994.
the violently interrupted city's traffic was reestablished. It was a huge
and magnificent victory of the city and GRAS. The first tram was then celebrated
as attraction, probably not even a scratch smaller than the one in 1885.
when the first ever tram was driven by Johann Hanke. That tram was a symbol
of a new era in Sarajevo and Bosnia, and surely a new era in Europe. Our
tram in 1994. was a symbol of resistance, defiance and the invincible and
indestructible spirit of Sarajevo and Sarajevans. "
"After the reintegration of those parts of town which have
previously been under aggressors occupation (including Ilidza), on October
15th 1996. the tramway line Bascarsija- Ilidza, which is the longest one,
has been re-established thanks to the aid given by the European Community.
GRAS couldn't cure all it's war wounds alone, even making
extreme efforts by it's employees. The world lend a helping hand, and GRAS-
Sarajevo forwarded the aid correctly. All that we have been receiving,
we forwarded to repairement and to planned development of public transport.
There were some donations, but we didn't want to rely on them only. Using
its own finances, GRAS has bought 25 mini-bus vehicles, and nine
trolley-buses with automatic controlled power-drive. In such way, the quicker
intervening at eventual traffic and transport stops has been achieved.
It is our estimation that we have repaired about 50 % of war-harms our
enterprise has had.
At the occasion of our Enterprise Day (26th November,1996.),
we have opened the solemnly renewed trolley-bus line Dobrinja-Drvenija
with turn-round stations. We have repaired and put upside fixed posts for
electric-power conduction's network for that line, installed more than
three kilometers of electric cables, finished building of a new line turn-round
area and put in function a mobile DC electric power sub-station, all that
done in less than a month. Radio communication network covers the entire
trolley-bus line area, so immediate action can now be taken in case of
vehicle harms or stopping. We have finished repairing, rebuilt and put
in function our location for trolley-bus's repairing and testing premises,
as well as parking (depot), which have suffered heavy damages during war-time.
We didn't forget handicapped people. We have promoted the GRAS's
Driving-school for invalid men, where we shall have training for amputated-invalids
to become qualified bus, mini-bus, or why not even trolley-bus drivers.
We have the possibilities to arrange technical works on adapting
constructions of vehicles for invalidated persons use, enabling them better
society inclusion. Such works are now possible to be done, at the same
trolley-depot premises. After training satisfactorily finished, we will
give the opportunity to such qualified drivers to drive the specially adapted
vehicles of public transport, so don't be surprised when you soon catch
sight of a label stating: 'This vehicle being driven by invalid-men qualified
driver' at one of our vehicles.
We have opened a modern GRAS- own vehicles technical service, inspection
and test station, where all operations are computer-controlled, eliminating
the subjective human-mistake factor. The Service equipment and technical
staff are intended to give services to the third parties, too. In order
to improve and give the best services quality to our users, all our computerized
information will be soon connected to authorized organizations and authorities
in charge and/or dealing with vehicles technical inspection and car registration.
The tram's rail-line has been remount-repaired from Cengic Vila
to Ilidza, the tram turn-round station at Ilidza is repaired, and our new
communications central station is now functional. We have made modernized
the trolley-bus line from Mojmilo to Drvenija, too. These improvements
have already proved to be good reasoned, because now there are almost no
maintenance expenses at the power-supplying network. Together with 'Siemens'
-company we've put in order a previously damaged DC power supply sub-station.
AT CITIZENS' SERVICE
All the above contributes to the comfort, speed and in-time transporting
in town public transport. But GRAS couldn't have achieved all this on it's
own. Our passengers are an unbreakable part of our development, so if they
would have 'like a master of the house' behavior towards our (as well as
their) vehicles, they would allow us and themselves, a faster way towards
modernized future. With a little bit more care taking on their behalf,
we would save the huge investments, that we have to spend nowadays for
harms or damages repairment caused by irresponsible individuals. In return,
our GRAS will offer to them the modern, computerized and with the highest
standard town-public-transportation in the nearest future.
For the period up to year 2002, we made plans to realize a few
key-projects. Let be noted that our employees already work at tram-way
transport modernization, where a large part of electro-mechanical devices
will be replaced by electronics, applying a chopper system. This year we're
going to begin with building a new tram-line to Dobrinja, which was financially
supported by Canton Sarajevo. After that comes the connecting of Hrasnica
by tram-transport, while we also plan to build a new turn-round station
in Radiceva St., in the center of the town. Our trolley-buses will have
new lines to the Sarajevo Airport, Podhrastovi and Breka, while the old
lines to Vogosca and Jagomir will also be re-established.
We also plan to bring to use magnetic tickets soon, instead of
once-use paper tickets and monthly tickets with a coupon, since the efficiency
of that system has proven good in already 150 cities throughout the world.
All that we have planned may sound too futuristic or megalomaniac-like,
having in mind the after-war situation in general. But, if we remind ourselves
once more of the first tram with horses pulling it, do you really think
that everyone was applauding and admiring it? Of course not. We are going
forward with big steps, and everything we promise - we accomplish to do."
In the first month of the new 1998, people of GRAS surprised
again the users of their services, opening a contest for the most beautiful
commercial message's design shown on their trams. The jury of GRAS chose
'Fuji film', while the Sarajevans too, haven't been excluded from their
choice. The one they have chosen was a commercial for an Ecological telephone
('EKO Telefon') "For clean and beautiful, my Sarajevo'. GRAS awarded the
makers of the best commercials with six months free advertising on their
Besides all that is said so far, GRAS has shown yet another positive
example of fast adapting and progress - some of their trolley busses are
among the first vehicles in the streets of Sarajevo carrying new, recently
established, license plates. People in GRAS really are moving forward.