The city of Hamburg has a new attraction: MAN Hafencity Riverbus is the first amphibious bus in Germany and takes tourists to discover the city on land and water.
Boat or bus? The new Hamburg Hafencity Riverbus is a bit of both. The amphibious vehicle is perfect for a port city, located around the Elbe river, where most of the places worth a visit is either on the water or on the shores. This new attraction combines the chance to tour both.
MAN Hafencity Riverbus can go anywhere
Along the city streets the new MAN Hafencity Riverbus is a normal route bus with buttons to call the next stop. Not because it is a real option on this route, but because it was a requisite in order to get compliance certificates on such an unusual vehicle. The owner of the first amphibious bus in Germany, Fred Franken, has been quite a pioneer, as the development and construction took a good four years. And the hardest part was compliance itself: such vehicles are not contemplated by the German transportation laws. Franken, a past as maritime worker and bus passionate, says: “I started to think of this project 18 years ago, after seeing a similar attraction in Singapore. I immediately thought that such a thing had to come to Hamburg”.
Under the hull is a MAN truck chassis, while the body above comes from an Hungarian company. A further challenge is maintenance, as service to MAN Hafencity Riverbus can be provided just once a week. The reason being the unexpected, total success of the initiative. “In the first two months of activity, we counted over six thousand passengers, Hamburg citizens and many tourists”, explains a satisfied Fred Franken. And the voice is spreading: at the moment, there’s requests for another seven amphibious buses to serve other cities.