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Munich orders buses with trailers for passenger transport (Germany)

By Raf Canters / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
MVG, Munichs public transport service provider, has ordered 10 so-called bus-trains that will be delivered in 2013. Bus-trains are 23 metre long bus sets containing a 12 metre standard bus and an 11 metre long trailer for passenger transport.
The manufacturer of the bus-trains is the polish company Solaris. The vehicles will open new opportunities for a more efficient operation in the bus network. With the purchase of the bus-trains MVG acts upon increasing bus passenger counts in their network.

Designed for high capacity and fast boarding, the new bus-trains will be mainly operated on lines with high demand such as MetroBus line 53, Munich's most busy bus line. Another operating area will be rail replacement bus services. From Monday to Friday the bus trains will operate with their trailer; on weekends and holidays when there is lower demand, most of the trailers will be parked at the depot.

In the summer of 2011 MVG tested a bus-train on Metrobus line 60 for several weeks. In a survey, 83% of the passengers had a good impression of the bus-train. 55% were impressed by their spaciousness.

MVG chairman Herbert König said: “Bus-trains offer good opportunities to flexibly adjust the capacity of buses via uncoupling the trailer to achieve a more efficient operation in the bus system. This operational concept further helps to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. These vehicles do not needlessly spend energy in off-peak hours due to overcapacity like comparable double articulated buses do. In the case of low demand the trailers will be parked at the depot. “

With the trailer the 23 metre long bus-train offers capacity for 130 passengers. The tractive unit is a standard 12 metre bus fitted for trailer operation (trailer coupling, connectors for compressed air, electric, etc.). To ensure fast boarding the buses are equipped with three broad double doors and the trailers have two double doors and a wide standing area especially suitable for wheelchairs and prams. Of course the bus-trains are handicapped accessible with low floor design, a lowerable doorside (Kneeling) and ramps for wheelchairs. Further equipment includes air conditioning, on-board cameras and flat screen passenger information. Special permission from the traffic authority was required to operate the bus-trains due to the length and passenger trailer operation. Several bus stations had to be extended.

Bus-trains are no new concept. Until the early 1960s their use was common in German cities. Nowadays modern technology such as electronic axes steering and video control have led to a revival of this operational concept. Munich is the first German metropolis to operate bus-trains. Besides Munich the German cities of Fürth, Ludwigsburg, Osnabrück, Reutlingen and Wolfsburg operate bus-trains, as do a lot of Swiss cities.

Image Source: SWM/MVG
Country: 
Germany
Topic: 
Collective passenger transport
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