Last summer an operator introduced 25 hybrid buses in Göteborg. Some students performed a traveler survey asking the people riding with the new hybrid buses about their experience. On the question: “Have you noticed any difference in the noise?” 86% of the travelers answered that they noticed less noise in the Volvo 7700 Hybrid bus. Some of the travelers commented that they occasionally waited for the next bus if it was a hybrid*. They felt that the noise level in hybrid buses allowed a conversation in contrary to the conventional alternatives.
Now, one year later the travelers on the bus route with hybrid buses were asked the same question and 36% answered that they noticed less noise from the by now one year old buses. Interestingly, people rapidly get accustomed to the new situation!
In another example, a hybrid bus operator in Europe was rescheduling the Volvo 7700 Hybrid fleet in a city and moved the buses from one rout to another. This resulted in massive complaints, from the people and café owners situated close to the bus stops. The silent take-off was valued highly. The bus operator had to move the hybrid buses back to the original rout.
The 17th of June Olof Persson, President and CEO Volvo, and Anneli Hultén, Chairman of the Gothenburg municipality board, launched the Gothenburg ElecTriCity initiative that will introduce a rout of electric buses and connected services. One of the targets is to raise the attractiveness of public transports utilizing the new technology. At the occasion of the announcement a plug-in hybrid bus was used to transport the officials and the press and a temporary bus stop was introduced inside the “Nordstan” shopping mall.
The new generation of buses provide a number of benefits for the users. Less noise is one of the most appreciated. The introduction of electromobility for buses are undertaking a silent revolution of the cities.
How can city planners make use of the new technology?
Will the silent drive make people ask for a bus stop closer to their door?
Will there be indoor terminals in the future or will parts of the cities become emission free with roofs?
I welcome all feed-back and ideas!
*The real time passenger information system in Göteborg allows the travelers to see number of minutes for all bus routes.