Sunday 23 March 2014

La Révolution de Midibus Électrique et Gratuite [2]

So we are looking at the rolling stock for the Dijon "City" free bus. And below is one (orange line on map) just turning south at Place Darcy, one of the main interchange points on the network.
The bus is turning into Rue Docteur Maret and will be able to traverse the whole thoroughfare because of a physical bus gate half way down the road. Shown here open (from the back of correspondent David's bus) ...
... and closed/closing from Streetview.
The buses are all electric, manufactured by Gruau and promoted thus:-
Dijon's have lost their pale green flash in favour of the purple introduced with the new(ish) tram network.
But these intriguing vehicles are all over the place:-



Brive la Galliard



Clermont Ferrand


Mont Saint Michel


The marque has even made it o the streets of Paris, where, branded as "La Traverse" ...
... these little lovelies have joined the exciting variety of Public Transport.

This survey is not exhaustive and some of the services may not be free; fbb has not trawled every timetable.
But in that famous historic tourist town of St Helens, Merseyside (?) similar services have just ended after a patchy few years of experiment. Six Tecnobuses have been operated for the PTE by Selwyns on three free services each running every 20 minutes.
The routes breathed their last in February ...
... but are still "available" on-line via the PTE's current route map.
Tecnobuses are Italian ...
... and look just as weird as the Gruau but not quite as stylish.
Courtesy of YouTube we can enjoy a creaky wheezy ride round the centre of beautiful St Helens.
Well, Merseytravel has said that the vehicles were "reaching the end of their useful life".

So where does that leave the concept of all-electric buses? We have/had rechargeable in use in Durham and Dorchester; the brave new world of induction is struggling in Milton Keynes; trolleybi are still causing "debate" in Leeds. Without wires the problem is still with battery charge-life, battery weight and battery cost. Our government, wise in all things (?), thinks trams are too expensive a luxury. 

Whereas in France there are oddles of Gruaus, trolleybus extensions, and tram systems being littered across the nation like autumn leaves. (Mayhap a slight exaggeration?)

But we are back to politics; the UK's determination to keep direct taxation low and France's willingness to tax and spend. Ultimately it's the ballot box which will decide the future of green (at the point of use) public transport.

If you are still in a YouTube mood, try this view of a Tecnobus in Italy.
Buon Natale!
fbb has never been particularly interested in blog statistics. The number of readers has grown steadily over the nearly four years that the old crusty has been penning his purple passages of prose. But a small milestone was passed on Friday last 21st March.
At 0655 precisely, the total number of "page views" clicked up to ...
... half a million. Is that good? Or Bad? fbb has no idea, but remains amazed beyond belief at the number of good folk who do read his stuff. Many thanks, as they say, to all our readers!

And, in case you wondered whether the potty old pops had stayed up half the night to witness the momentous event, he didn't. He was downstairs making the long-suffering Mrs fbb a delectable morning cuppa when he just caught the specific statistical second.
 Next bus blog : Monday 24th March 


  1. The closest British equivalent seems to be the Severn-Lamb Minitram, which doesn't seem to have progressed beyond the initial prototype and trials of 2010:

  2. With all those exterior lights on the Italian (Christmas special?), it's a wonder that the poor batteries could cope with providing so much power.

    Perhaps that's why we only saw it moving past in the opening shots. After that it wasn't moving!