Saturday, 21 July 2012

Hamburg, Germany

With a population of around 1.8million, Hamburg is Germany's second largest city.

Hamburg's transport network is co-ordinated by HVV - their website (English language version) is here.  The U-Bahn (metro) and S-Bahn (suburban rail network) are well-developed.  As with Munich, only a handful of local bus routes enter Hamburg city centre.  Unlike Munich, Hamburg has no trams.  The last tram left Hamburg's streets in 1978.

At the time of my visit, in April 2012, two bus operators were providing services into Hamburg city centre - Hochbahn, using a red and white colour scheme, and VHH/PVG whose vehicles were in a silver livery.  Many vehicles were carrying all-over advertising.

The bus routes entering the centre of Hamburg generally fall into two categories - "MetroBus" and "SchnellBus".  "MetroBus" services are high-frequency, metro-style services operated mainly by high-capacity bendy buses with three or four doors:





It has sometimes been claimed that bendybuses were unsuitable for London's streets because they posed a danger to cyclists.  Here in Hamburg, cyclists and bendybuses seem to co-exist peacefully

As well as articulated vehicles, VHH/PVG were operating tri-axle single-deckers on their MetroBus route 3:

Bi-articulated vehicles were operating on MetroBus route 5.  These impressive vehicles have 65 seats with capacity for a further 123 standing, providing a total carrying capacity of 188 passengers.  The vehicles are just under 25 metres in length.  Two of them were branded "XXL":



Route 5 starts from Hamburg's modern Central Bus Station


Another bi-articulated vehicle carried special branding for its operator, Hochbahn:


Others carried either all-over white livery or advertising schemes:


"SchnellBus" services are limited stop, generally linking outlying districts with the city centre.  Although the HVV fare system is integrated between different modes, a supplement is payable on SchnellBus routes.  Standard single-deckers were the usual vehicle type on these services:




Bendybuses did also appear on SchnellBus services:


A small fleet of single-deck buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells entered service with Hochbahn early in 2012.  These carry "SauberBus" ("clean bus") livery:


More information about the SauberBus project is available in English.

Not all bus routes are branded MetroBus or SchnellBus.  Most other routes operate in the suburbs and outlying areas, but I noted one unbranded route (109) operating into the city centre.  Bendybuses were in use:

A number of recent bendybuses are diesel-electric hybrids.  These were carrying special "BusBus" livery:

It is possible to find double-deck buses on Hamburg's streets but, as in many other cities, they are confined to sightseeing tour work:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting reading - particularly relevant for this weekends travels. I shall look out for the XXL bendy buses!! P.