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A bi-articulated Van Hool ExquiCity 24 on Mettis services at Metz, France
Curitiba Neobus bodied bi-articulated Volvo B12M running with 100% biofuel. At 28 metres, it is one of the world's longest buses. Each section features train-like doors for rapid exchange of people.

A bi-articulated bus or double-articulated bus and sometimes train-bus, tram-bus, trackless tram or double bendy bus is a type of high-capacity articulated bus with an extra axle and a second articulation joint, as well as extended length. Bi-articulated buses tend to be employed in high-frequency core routes or bus rapid transit schemes rather than in conventional bus routes.

Design considerations

Common bi-articulated buses resemble rail vehicles in design. They often have elevated train-type doors instead of traditional bus doors to use dedicated stations. Payment is typically made at a bus station using a fare gate rather than on the bus.

Compared to using multiple smaller buses on a route, challenges using a bi-articulated bus include:

However, a bi-articulated bus requires fewer drivers relative to the number of passengers per bus.

Early versions

In the late 1980s, the French manufacturers Renault and Heuliez Bus developed the "Mégabus" (officially the Heuliez GX237), a bi-articulated high-floor bus. The demonstrator Mégabus visited transit agencies throughout France, but the only city to order them was Bordeaux (an order of 10 buses, built in 1989). These buses, now retired, were used on Bordeaux's bus route 7[citation needed] until the city's tram system opened in 2004.[1]

Hungarian bus manufacturer Ikarus also developed a bi-articulated bus prototype, the Ikarus 293, in 1988. There was only one prototype made, because the longness of the bus caused it to not to work perfectly. During the test run in the city of Pécs, bus drivers have complained about the vehicle's slowness, its high deviation, its slow acceleration and turning speed. After it has seen multiple exhibitions, the bus was transported to Ikarus's depot in Mátyásföld. In 1992, a company in Teheran bought it and changed it's interior, and swapped its original motor to a 280 hp MAN motor. Because of the new motor's space requirements, the second passenger door was also moved forward. They also repainted it. In Teheran, the bus has worked for 17 years, until it's retirement in 2009. In 2022, the BKV has made a replica from two Ikarus 280-s, which is only slightly different from the original prototype. There are two main differences, the replica in Budapest features a more powerful motor, and a more stable and safer axle mechanism. The vehicle is not taking part in passenger transport, but is regularly seen by public during open days.[2]

An AutoTram Extra Grand

In Bucharest, the ITB (today the STB) operated a double articulated trolleybus (unofficially called DAC 122E), made by adding a modified section between the first and the last sections of a DAC 117E articulated trolleybus delivered in 1980, with the rear trailing section coming from a damaged DAC 117E. This vehicle was built to fulfill the need of high capacity person transportation, which was proving difficult for the ITB in 1988, when the prototype was made. However, the DAC 117E's 134 kW traction motor proved insufficient for such a heavy vehicle, let alone the weight of passengers when it operated at full capacity. As a result, the vehicle was very slow and had trouble operating on grades, especially the incline between Cișmigiu Park and University Square. It also had trouble making sharp turns and was difficult to control, especially on snow or ice. This trolleybus was operated on long lines with wide roads and no major turns except the end of the lines like 69 and 90, but occasionally entered on lines 85, 66, 79 and 86. Bucharest traffic became increasingly intense in the very late 1990s, and RATB sought shorter trolleybuses. The DAC 122E was withdrawn from regular service, being occasionally used on lines 69 and 90 until 2000 when it was fully removed from service, displaced by the then-new Ikarus 415Ts and scrapped. Bucharest no longer operates bi-articulated vehicles (except for trams) due to high traffic levels, which is also the reason why between 2007 and 2018, the RATB refused to operate normal articulated buses. A regular double articulated diesel bus was also made but the capital police refused to allow it to be road legal and to register it on the grounds of its excessive length being outside of the highway code (maximum 17m for articulated buses), and was converted to a regular bus shortly after; the trolleybus was allowed to run being part of a different vehicle class owing to its electric traction.

Use

A Van Hool bi-articulated bus in Hamburg, Germany

A bi-articulated bus is a long vehicle and usually requires a specially trained driver, as maneuvering (particularly reversing) can be difficult. Articulated electric trolleybuses can be difficult to control, with their motors producing momentary peak power in excess of 600 kilowatts (816 PS; 805 hp). The trailer section of a "puller" bus can be subject to unusual centripetal forces, which many people can find uncomfortable, although this is not an issue with "pushers". Bi-articulated buses are difficult to reverse park as joints force the bus into a zig-zag shape.

The transit system that has used bi-articulated buses the longest is the Rede Integrada de Transporte, in Curitiba, Brazil, which provides a type of service that has come to be known – particularly in American English – as bus rapid transit (BRT), where buses run in dedicated lanes and stop only at enclosed stations. Use of bi-articulated buses began in 1992,[3] with vehicles manufactured by Volvo (chassis) and Marcopolo/Ciferal (body), able to carry up to 270 passengers. Each bi-articulated bus is equipped with five doors where passengers can quickly load and unload. Buses stop only at enclosed, tube-shaped stations, where passengers pre-pay the fare and then board at the same level as the vehicle floor. Curitiba has over 170 bi-articulated buses in operation on routes serving five main corridors of dedicated bus lanes. These buses run on an average period of 50 seconds during peak hours.[citation needed]

Australia

Bi-articulated low floor buses with a capacity of 170 passengers are planned to operate on Brisbane Metro for its expected opening in 2024.[4]

Belgium

A Ringtrambus hybrid bus in Belgium

On 28 June 2020, the Flemish regional public transport company De Lijn inaugurated the Ringtrambus (route 820) between Brussels Airport and Jette via Vilvoorde, operated half-hourly by 14 24-metre double-articulated buses. The service is presented as a step towards the tramline that was originally proposed.

In Wallonia, TEC has operated a Van Hool AGG300 on line 48, between Liège and Sart-Tilman, from 1998 to 2020.

Brazil

The Brazilian bus body manufacturers Marcopolo, CAIO, Busscar and most lately Neobus have made many bi-articulated buses on top of Volvo chassis. They are currently used in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Campinas, Goiânia, Curitiba and, outside of Brazil, in Bogotá, Colombia.

In November 2016, Volvo launched the Volvo Gran Artic 300 bi-bus chassis, specifically developed in Brazil for BRT systems. At 30 metres (98 ft) long, this chassis is capable of carrying 300 passengers.[5][6][7]

Canada

In November 2019, Quebec City's Réseau de transport de la Capitale announced that it was planning to open the city's first BRT line along Boulevard Charest by 2026, utilizing a fleet of bi-articulated electric buses. This was later changed to the Quebec City Tramway light rail system before planning was suspended by the provincial government.[8][9]

China

The Chinese manufacturer Youngman developed the JNP6250G bi-articulated bus for 300 passengers[10] with assistance from Neoplan. In 2007, these buses appeared on trial service in Beijing and were thought to be the world's longest, at 25 metres (82 ft) long.[11]

Colombia

TransMilenio in Bogotá has operated bi-articulated buses since 2009, having purchased 120 by 2013.[12][13] In 2020 it will receive a further 58.[14][needs update]

Czech Republic

The Belgian manufacturer Van Hool offers a 25-metre (82 ft) bi-articulated bus with a capacity of about 180 passengers. This bus is used in Prague, with line 119 connecting the Václav Havel Airport Prague with the rest of the city.[15]

Denmark

In September 2023, Aalborg introduced bi-articulated busses (under the name plusbus) running between Væddeløbsbanen and Aalborg University Hospital. [16]

Ecuador

Empresa de Pasajeros de Quito in Quito operates bi-articulated buses since 2016, having purchased 80.[17] They are Volvo DH12D buses, model B340M EURO 3, with a diesel tank capacity of 120 gallons and a power of 340 HP. The chassis is a bi-articulated Volvo B340M. [18]

France

The Swiss manufacturer Hess produces 22 bi-articulated lighTram 25TOSA electric. These units are used in the city of Nantes for the BusWay line 4, to replace the Mercedes-Benz Citaro G CNG of the line, which had become under capacity (these having been assigned to line 5). The line 4 carrying an average of 42,660 per day in 2018,[19] the entry into service of the Hess buses taking place at the end of 2019.

The city of Metz and the Martinique island run Van Hool Exqui.City 24 hybrid diesel-electric and the city of Nîmes in the natural gas-electric version.

Germany

The Belgian manufacturer Van Hool offers a 25-metre (82 ft) bi-articulated bus with a capacity of about 180 passengers. These buses are used in the German cities of Aachen (lines 5 and 45) and Hamburg (Metrobus 5 and Eilbus E86), where single-articulated buses alone were not able to handle the huge number of passengers per day. In Hamburg they were retired in 2018 after 13 years of service as they started to require more and more maintenance due to their growing age and an unusual level of wear and tear, caused by the second articulation joint.[20]

In 2012, Fraunhofer IVI introduced the AutoTram Extra Grand in Dresden.[21] With overall length of 30.73 metres (100 ft 10 in) it is the longest bus in service with a passenger capacity of 256. Its unique 5-axle design is made possible using advanced computer controlled steering on the 3 trailing axles.

Luxembourg

The Swiss manufacturer Hess produces a bi-articulated, hybrid-engine bus based on the LighTram. This type is currently[when?] in use for the Luxembourgian bus operator Voyages Emile Weber.[22]

Netherlands

The Belgian manufacturer Van Hool offers a 25-metre (82 ft) bi-articulated bus with a capacity of about 180 passengers. In September 2002, fifteen were deployed on lines 11 and 12 in Utrecht, connecting the central railway station to office, college and university buildings at the edge of the city.[23] Twelve more have been added since.

From August 2014 to 2016, Swiss manufacturer Hess's bi-articulated LighTram buses were in service in Groningen, Netherlands on the route from the main train station via the city centre to the university north of the city. In 2016 these buses were moved to Utrecht because the few stops and higher speeds on this line made the hybrid engine perform poorly.

Norway

From August 2019 onwards, Trondheim have used Van Hool Exqui.City 24 CNG Hybrid on three core routes, known as the Metrobuss system.

Spain

Barcelona has had 24-meter long bi-articulated buses, running on fossil gas, on line H12 since May 2013.[24]

Sweden

Volvo has manufactured several bi-articulated buses now in use in Gothenburg. They are based on Volvo's "puller"-type articulated, low-floor bus model with the internal combustion engine mounted on the floor on the side of the bus, and the cooling system on the roof. They have not manufactured anymore and are currently being replaced by normal articulated buses.

The city of Malmö is currently[when?] operating two bus lines as a bus rapid transit route with 24 meter long, bi-articulated busses from Van Hool, and it is planned to upgrade further local bus routes with these bi-articulated busses.[25]

Switzerland

The Swiss manufacturer Hess produces a bi-articulated trolleybus called LighTram that is in use in several Swiss cities, including Zürich, Geneva, Lausanne and Lucerne.

Turkey

İstanbul makes significant use of Akia Ultra LF biarticulated buses in the Metrobüs. Manisa, Malatya and Elazığ also operate biarticulated buses.

See also

References

  1. ^ "French buses – the Megabus and other PR100 oddities". Archived from the original on December 5, 2007.
  2. ^ "Ikarus 293", Wikipédia (in Hungarian), 2023-04-06, retrieved 2024-01-09
  3. ^ Bushell, Chris (ed.) (1993). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 1993–94, pp. 79–80. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-1072-6.
  4. ^ "Brisbane Metro - Bus Rapid Transit with HESS electric double articulated buses". Urban Transport Magazine. 2021-06-02. Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  5. ^ Volvo launches the world's largest bus Volvo Buses November 24, 2016
  6. ^ Volvo will sell the world's largest bus in Brazil Auto Blog November 29, 2016
  7. ^ The world's longest bus Australasian Bus & Coach December 2, 2016
  8. ^ "Réseau". reseaustructurant.info (in French). Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  9. ^ ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Politique- (2023-11-09). "Tramway : une « autre promesse brisée » de la CAQ | Tramway de Québec". Radio-Canada (in Canadian French). Retrieved 2023-12-22.
  10. ^ "World's Largest Bus: China's 300 Passenger Youngman JNP6250G Set to Serve Beijing and Hangzhou". 17 January 2012.
  11. ^ an article in Shanghai Daily – 'World's largest' bus debuts in Shanghai By Kat Jiang 2007-3-14
  12. ^ First Set of Transmilenio Bi-articulated Buses Launched in Bogotá Institution for Transport & Development Policy August 19, 2009
  13. ^ Volvo Sells 120 Bi-articulated chassis for Bogotá BRT system Volvo August 27, 2012
  14. ^ Transdev in Colombia extends & expands TransMilenio fleet Archived 2018-05-28 at the Wayback Machine Transdev March 21, 2018
  15. ^ Endrštová, Michaela (2016-11-14). "Na letiště začal jezdit nejdelší autobus v Česku. Je to zážitek, říká řidič". iDnes (in Czech). MAFRA a.s. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  16. ^ https://plusbus.dk/
  17. ^ "Los biarticulados se probarán por tres semanas en Quito".
  18. ^ https://www.trolebus.gob.ec/index.php/gestion/nuestra-flota
  19. ^ "Le BusWay à la Nantaise" (in French). 4 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Tschüs, Langer! Heute rollt der letzte XXL-Bus durch Hamburg" (in German). Hamburger Morgenpost. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  21. ^ "Fraunhofer IVI AutoTram".
  22. ^ "News archive for Luxembourg" (in German). stadtbus.de. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
  23. ^ "Geschiedenis in vogelvlucht" (in Dutch). Het GVU – Openbaar Vervoer in Utrecht en omgeving. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
  24. ^ "El primer híbrid biarticulat s'estrena amb passatge a la H12 | GenTMB". gentmb.tmb.cat. Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  25. ^ Pershaf, Jonathan. "Bus Rapid Transit – MalmöExpressen". Nobina. Retrieved 2021-09-18.