The hands of bus drivers in Dresden in Germany may well be shaking at the prospect of driving the city’s new unfeasibly long bus when it goes into service next month, but drive it they will.
At 30 meters (100 feet) in length, the vehicle is so long that one assumes on a particularly foggy day the driver will lose sight of the back of it. The bus, reportedly the longest ever made, can carry as many as 256 passengers, which could, at busy times of the day, result in some rather slow journeys with so many people wanting to get on and off at each stop.
Called the AutoTram Extra Grand Bus, the new $10 million electric vehicle can travel distances of up to eight kilometers on a single battery charge. A special on-board system that charges other batteries as the vehicle moves along enables it to cover greater distances with little problem.
Incredibly, no special license is required to drive the Extra Grand bus, though presumably a lengthy training course is needed.
Fraunhofer IVI, one of the companies that helped develop the vehicle, claims in a press release that thanks to its “secure electro-hydraulic actuator system….it can be maneuvered like a 12-meter bus both forward and [in] reverse.” One wonders if this will be enough to reassure Dresden bus drivers who must be wondering how they’re going to negotiate the various tight turns around the city. In other words, every turn in the city.
But Dresden isn’t the only city to get extremely big buses – Beijing and Hangzhou in China are also rolling out similarly sized vehicles this year.
London tried its luck a few years back with the so-called bendy bus – a vehicle two-thirds the length of the Dresden super-bendy affair – but decided to abandon it last year due to safety issues and claims that they encouraged fare dodgers. Hopefully the AutoTram Extra Grand Bus has a brighter future ahead of it.