World’s Longest Bus Seats More Than 200 Passengers

Dresden, Germany, is getting ready to roll out the world’s longest bus, the 98-foot AutoTram Extra Grand. Dresden news outlet the Local is reporting that the supersized bus, which can carry up to 256 passengers, just went for a test drive.

Even more surprising, the AutoTram can be driven by any bus driver; no special license is required. The bus got the green light because of a special train-like steering algorithm that ensures the two rear sections, which rest on four guided axles, perfectly follow the cab.

Designed and built by the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI in Dresden along with the Technical University Dresden, the bus is set to make its debut in congested Dresden traffic in October. Currently, it is undergoing tests in special facilities outside the city.

“Due to its high transport capacity, the AutoTram Extra Grand bridges the gap between conventional city buses and trams, offering new possibilities for an environmental friendly public transport,” the Fraunhofer Institute said in a press release.

Matthias Klinger, director of the Fraunhofer Institute, told the Local there has been a lot of interest from cities in the developing world looking to develop cheap public transport systems.

Do you think the bus is a good idea, or an accident waiting to happen?

[Images courtesy Fraunhofer IVI]

VIDEO: Vintage Turkish Taxis

Millions of people get around Istanbul each day via dolmuş, a shared taxi. Similar to the colectivo of Latin America or the dollar vans of New York City, a dolmuş is generally a mini-bus or van that follows a fixed route for a fixed price. At the beginning of the route, the bus waits until it is full of passengers (dolmuş means stuffed in Turkish) before departing. You hand your money (theoretically a share of a private taxi’s rate, but usually 2-3 TL) up to the driver, and hop out whenever you get to your destination; there are rarely official bus stops.

The video above may look like it’s from the 1950s, but it’s actually from 1986. As recently as a few decades ago, the dolmuş vehicle of choice wasn’t the large yellow van you see today, but classic American cars from the mid-century and pre-war. Some of the vintage cars were customized with a third bench to stuff in more passengers!

Thanks to Turcopedia for the links and info.

No skeletons on the New Delhi metro, please

A friend of mine, freelance photographer Jane Shepherdson, was recently in New Delhi and rode on the city’s metro (subway system). She captured this odd sign about what’s prohibited for passengers to carry.

Some of it is predictable, such as explosives, guns, and radioactive materials. You also can’t carry “manure of any kind” (including your own, one would suppose) or rags. That includes oily rags in case you’re wondering.

What really caught her eye was the prohibition against passengers carrying “Human skeleton, ashes, and part of Human body”.

Makes sense to me. When I’m on public transport I only want to share it with the living. What’s scary, though, is that they wouldn’t have put this sign up unless someone had actually carried body parts on the metro. So if you’re going to New Delhi, please, leave the body parts in your hotel room.

How to Navigate Washington, D.C. Without Going Nuts

I’ve been on the road for more than a month, and here’s my number one tip: Don’t drive in Washington, D.C. Nightmare would be a measure too generous.

As soon as I could park my ride, I did, content to not touch it until I pulled out of the District two days later. And considering the byzantine fare structure and bizarre routing of the Metro, it’s something I avoid, too. Here’s a better idea.

Trade four wheels for two: Rent a bike. While you can certainly walk the city-getting to your destination eventually-it’s much easier to just pedal there, particularly in the summer, when temperatures in Washington hit roughly “surface of the sun” levels. Best to limit your exposure by riding where you’re going in a hurry.

The newest option in town is the Capital Bikeshare program. Another in a growing list of bike-sharing efforts around the world modeled on Paris’ Velib, the initiative is open to visitors because it offers 24-hour and five-day “memberships.” Any riding up to 30 minutes is free after that, with longer rides racking up bigger bills. (The clock resets each time you dock your bike, so it’s possible to do the whole day for five bucks.)

But the claim that Capital Bikeshare “puts 1,100 bicycles at your fingertips” is a stretch at best: On the occasions that you actually stumble across a station, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually find one to ride. A couple of smartphone apps have been developed to help with this problem, but they’re not foolproof yet.

The easier solution is to buy some convenience with a Bike and Roll rental. You’ll pay a little bit more, but you’ll have the same ride all day-and ditch the hassle of looking for docking stations while on the clock. With your bike dialed in, you’ll actually want to ride from the Capitol all the way down to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. monument that’s scheduled to open to the public before the end of summer.

Moscow Metro celebrates 76th anniversary

This year marks the 76th anniversary of the Moscow metro system. From the public to the private areas, the stunning architectural images showcase one of the world’s most fascinating transportation masterpieces, far exceeding the beauty of those in the United States.

Opened in 1935 with one 11 kilometer line and 13 stations, it was the first underground rail system in the then Soviet Union. Today, the system has 182 stations and a route length of 301.2 kilometers and is the second most heavily-used rapid transit system, just behind Tokyo.

Take a look at this magnificent panoramic image gallery:


Thanks to @LegalNomads for the tip and to Russos for the image gallery.