„Strategis goal: sustainable transport”
Interview with Krzysztof Dostatni,
CEO of MPK Poznań

As soon as next year, public transport in Poznań will enter the hydrogen age. We talk to Krzysztof Dostatni, CEO of public transport operator MPK Poznań about investments in environmentally-friendly public transport, preparations to include 25 hydrogen buses in the fleet and future development plans.

Krzysztof Dostatni, CEO of public transport operator MPK Poznań.

Investments made by Polish public transport operator MPK in environmentally-friendly public transport over the last few years are impressive and in many respects ground-breaking. What is your main motivation behind these activities? 
Public transport company MPK Poznań is open to new technologies and ready for any challenges. We keep up to date with industry and, as far as possible, financial news and make the most of available solutions. Why? Because we care about residents and passengers. And because we care about our company’s growth and about its employees. We want public transport in Poznań to be modern, accessible, reliable, and at the same time environmentally-friendly. This is important as we need to bear in mind the requirements imposed on us by the E-mobility and Alternative Fuels Act. In this respect, we are already following the policy of the city of Poznań and its “Strategy for e-mobility development for the city of Poznań until 2035”, which sets out its “Strategic objective II – Zero- and low-emission passengers”. This document indicates clearly the direction of measures to be undertaken to transform public transport into passenger-friendly transport that generates ever lower emissions.  

The fleet of MPK Poznań now boasts 58 e-buses. What is your experience operating them? 
The first e-buses in Poznań went into operation in 2019. They have performed well although we have not been spared certain “teething troubles”, which the manufacturer has quickly dealt with. The deployment of e-buses entailed the construction of charging infrastructure. E-buses in Poznań can be charged using two charging methods: cable charging, employed mainly when parked in the depot, and a pantograph, to recharge the batteries quickly at terminal stops when being operated. MPK Poznań also has mobile charging stations. 


As soon as next year, public transport in Poznań will enter the hydrogen age. And right away, carrier MPK has purchased an impressive 25 hydrogen buses. How long did it take you to take the decision to include hydrogen vehicles in your fleet?  
Based on our extensive experience in raising both European and domestic funds, as soon as we found out about the opportunity provided by the Green Public Transport programme, we submitted our application. We applied for funding to purchase 84 e-buses with a hydrogen fuel cell and to build a hydrogen refuelling station. The funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, which meant that the application had to be prepared as well and as quickly as possible, even though it concerned an area that was completely new to us.  

Our application was approved, however interest in the programme was so high that the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management deemed our project impossible to be implemented in its entirety. Following approval of the application, we were offered funds, admittedly a limited amount, but it was still the highest amount granted among the applications submitted in this call for proposals. It was agreed that we would purchase 25 standard-length buses. Taking into account this number of vehicles, we decided that, at least at first, it would not be necessary to build our own hydrogen refuelling station. The project was the result not only of excellent team work by many MPK Poznań employees, but also of their enthusiasm, commitment and perseverance.  

What kind of measures need to be undertaken, apart from raising funds, selecting the supplier and purchasing the buses, to introduce hydrogen solutions to a fleet? 
Naturally, a new type of vehicles poses a challenge, on the other hand, we stand a chance to gain new experience, knowledge and skills. The supplier of vehicles will be obliged to provide our employees, including drivers and service technicians, with training on servicing hydrogen vehicles. We, on the other hand, will retrofit our facility to service this type of bus.  

How will hydrogen be supplied to ensure the operation of 25 buses in the city?  

MPK Poznań has already signed a contract for hydrogen supplies. The oil industry company PKN Orlen, which submitted the winning bid, plans to build the requisite infrastructure at its petrol station located at Warszawska street in the vicinity of the bus depot. This will be a facility open to the public, which means that not only buses of MPK Poznań will be refuelled there but also any other user of hydrogen-powered vehicles will be able to benefit from it. Pursuant to the contract concluded with Solaris Bus & Coach, the first hydrogen buses will hit the streets of Poznań in the second half of 2023. That will also be the moment when regular hydrogen fuel deliveries will start. 


Does the purchase of 25 Urbino 12 hydrogen imply that you are going to turn your back on e-buses? 

For years, MPK Poznań has been gradually replacing its vehicles with ones that meet the highest emission standards, as this translates to better air quality in the city, and increased quality of life for Poznań’s residents. This applies both to our tram and bus fleets. We are aware that we are responsible for the environmental impact of our vehicles, but we are limited by the resources at our disposal. It is no secret that the prices of electric or hydrogen buses are much higher than those of vehicles with conventional drives, and it is only the possibility of using EU or domestic subsidies that allows us to meet expectations. MPK Poznań is looking optimistically towards hydrogen technology and believes that hydrogen is the future of public transport. However, we still plan further investments in standard electric buses. 

Do you intend to visually distinguish your new buses? Our customers often opt for additional wrapping or colours quite different from the usual livery. 

Conceptual work on visually distinguishing the hydrogen buses is already underway. We want to maintain the existing colour combination, i. e. green and yellow with a metallic and pearl effect, which is very well-known to Poznań residents, but we will certainly additionally single out the new vehicles. We will try to surprise our passengers to some extent. Perhaps it will be an additional wrapping, as is the case with e-buses, or perhaps it will be something else…  

What other ambitious goals does MPK Poznań set itself and what challenges does the changing economic and social environment entail?  

Public transport is one of most important tasks when it comes to the functioning of a city. The environment, especially recently, have been changing very rapidly. The pandemic and the war in Ukraine do not make it easy for companies like ours, where the modus operandi consists in providing services rather than generating profits. Guaranteeing the highest possible service standards means constantly balancing between having funds and spending them. We are aware of the increasing expectations of our passengers, hence we continually invest in modern, environmentally-friendly, air-conditioned and low-floor vehicles. Without great support in the form of EU subsidies, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement projects and thus to make a change for the better.  

Our goals are identical to those of the city, and they relate not only to the fleet. We want public transport to be more attractive so that residents choose it over their own vehicles. For this to happen, public transport must be reliable, punctual, accessible, comfortable, etc. Therefore, the city of Poznań is continuously improving the ITS system, prioritising public transport vehicles, introducing bus lanes, bike boxes at intersections and installing tram-bus lanes. At the same time, it is investing in vehicles and expanding the tram network and interdependent infrastructure. We want public transport to be increasingly attractive and environmentally-friendly as well as beneficial to residents, including passengers and public transport employees. 


To finish, let’s move onto… the future? What do you think public transport will be like in 20 years? 

I believe that, along with urban sprawl and increasing environmental awareness, transportation in cities in the near future will be substantially different from what we have today. The problem of traffic jams and air pollution should be solved by modern technologies and a change in thinking regarding mobility, which is heading towards zero-emission, autonomous and shared mobility.  

According to estimates from international organisations, by 2050 some 68% of the world’s population will live in cities. This means that already existing problems related to air pollution, congestion and the shortage of parking space may be exacerbated in the future. That is why it is so important to develop an appropriate concept for a transportation system to provide city dwellers with a high quality of life, taking into account the good of the environment.  

This is a long-term and more general view of things, but looking 20 years ahead to our area of operation, I would like to see a new tram depot built in the north-western part of Poznań, which would strategically shorten travel times to tram lines and thus ensure the better functioning of the tram transport network in Poznań. In addition, I am planning to gradually replace the vehicles, putting zero-emission and comfortable travel front and centre. I would like to make Poznań’s public transport so attractive that passengers gain a real benefit from travelling in a comfortable, clean, punctual and air-conditioned vehicle that enjoys various privileges when making its way through traffic. 

See also

Our websites use cookies

In order to properly provide services, Solaris Bus & amp; Coach sp.z o.o. uses information posted on users’ end devices (cookies).
For more information, see our Privacy Policy.