The manufacturer MAN built this bus. The bottom part of the car is in the form of boat, the top part is designed as a bus – and so we have the HafenCity Riverbus.
Riverbus HafenCity is written in large letters on the sign of the bus station, which at first glance looks like a normal public transport sign in Hamburg. However, the vehicle which arrives shortly afterward is something ordinary: the lower part is basically a boat, while the top part is designed as a normal bus and you don’t see that everyday. HafenCity Riverbus is an amphibious vehicle capable of moving both on land and on water, built on a MAN truck chassis and propelled by a six-cylinder MAN engine with 280 hp power.
To further increase the novelty, the driver’s hab is equipped with lifebuoys, joysticks and radio equipment, clearly setting this vehicle apart.
The construction, testing and approvals for this bus lasted for four years. It took two years to design the bus, a year for the construction, and one year for receiving the necessary approvals to be able to run both on the road and on the water.
The operator Fred Franken, who has experienced the first amphibious bus concept in Singapore 18 years ago, said that the vehicle – built in Hungary – will arrive at the Elbe River through a ramp. The engineers say it is more like a boat than a bus, ensuring that it is absolutely safe to travel on water.
“I already had the idea for this kind of project 18 years ago,” explains Franken, who is a shipping merchant, as well as a self-confessed bus fan. “Back then, I had seen a similar attraction in Singapore and it was immediately obvious to me that we definitely had to bring something like this to Hamburg.”
The passengers will pass over the water in front of the strong container ships, historic buildings in the Hamburg harbor, and will see tugs at work, in full action.
These water tours of the port of Hamburg are set to last for approximately 80 minutes.
One challenge for this bus arises from its maintenance, among others. “This is neither a bus nor a boat and there haven’t really been any comparable vehicles up until now. So the workshop staff need an extremely high level of technical knowledge in order to quickly get to any parts in need of repair,”explains Mike Vannauer, MAN Truck & Bus Deutschland Regional Manager Bus Sales North.
As a skilled seaman, he is very excited about this special machine. The maintenance processes are carried out at MAN’s workshop at Moorfleet.
Several cities have keen eyeing this development in Hamburg’s harbour, and already orders for another five or seven amphibious buses being in the works, so let’s hope the idea catches on.