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Friday, February 12, 2010

State-of-the-art Amfibus

International transport group Stagecoach will shortly commence trials of an innovative amphibious bus on Scotland's River Clyde.

The new £700,000 ($1.1 million) “amfibus” can carry 50 passengers and is built in Holland by Dutch Amphibious Transport Vehicles BV of Nijmegen. Based on a bus chassis, the “amfibus” incorporates a hull to allow the vehicle to float and is fully safety certified for operation on road and water by European transport regulatory authorities. On the road, the vehicle operates like a standard coach. In the water, the “amfibus” is driven by twin water jets and can achieve a speed of 8 knots.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach chief executive, said: “This is an exciting transport project that would provide a seamless bus connection between two important local communities. “Passengers can use the amfibus to travel over road and water without having to leave the comfort of their seat to change from a bus to a ferry. It shows the potential of Scotland’s rivers and estuaries to be links rather than barriers to travel and we are looking forward to testing the technology on the Clyde.”

Stagecoach has already carried out tests of the “amfibus” in Rotterdam harbour where the vehicle coped well from the wash from heavily laden barges and provided a smooth travel experience. The “amfibus” being demonstrated next week is due to be used by Rotterdam Splash Tours for excursions around the harbour from next month.

A similar vehicle (or should that be "craft"?) was trialled on Lake Michigan last year. I wonder what became of that? Since the Stagecoach group is already well established in eastern Canada, maybe they could extend the trials to include Gabriola?