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Now open to the public: Denmark’s first BRT line using Solaris double-articulated e-buses

© Simon Andersen

Not a light rail like in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus, but a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system instead – that was the decision of the political leaders in Denmark’s fourth largest city Aalborg a few years ago. Cost considerations were the main argument. Now the time has come: Since 23 September 2023, the new electric double-articulated buses have been operating smoothly and fast through the city. Brand name for the new system is Plusbus.

The new BRT is a approximately 12 km long and serves 22 stops from Veddeløbbanen through the city centre past the two important railway stations to the extensive university campus. It replaces previous bus line 2, but the route has been adapted to BRT standard in many places, with long sections on dedicated lines, redesigned stops and largely consistent priority at traffic lights. Traffic restrictions and transit bans on various road sections along the line are also intended to ensure speedy progress. The journey time on the entire line is 30 minutes, 5-6 minutes shorter than the previous diesel bus line 2.

No chance to use the lanes by indivdual car traffic! | © Simon Andersen

The frequency is 7.5 minutes on weekdays, in the evenings and on weekends there is a bus every 15 minutes.

The Solaris Urbino 24 electric

14 double-articulated battery buses were delivered to the north of Denmark by the Polish manufacturer Solaris Bus&Coach. Solaris delivered its “MetroStyle” model with five entrance doors. The vehicles have two traction motors with a total capacity of 240 kW driving two drive axles. Solaris High Energy batteries with a total capacity of over 700 kWh are recharged exclusively by plug-in.

Each of the e-buses has an automatic driver assistance system and is equipped with the “MirrorEye” system, with cameras that replace the rear-view and side mirrors and ensure optimal visibility without the dangers of blind spots. The bus also becomes a little narrower. The cameras on both sides of the bus warn drivers of pedestrians or cyclists who are (too) close to the vehicle.

We had already reported on the vehicle concept here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/for-the-first-time-in-denmark-electric-double-articulated-bus-on-ac-bus-rapid-transit-line-in-aalborg/

In the city centre | © Simon Andersen
Interior design of the e-buses | © Simon Andersen

Looking ahead

Aalborg currently has around 121,000 inhabitants, and the number is rising. The university facilities are not the only factor contributing to the city’s noticeable growth. Already decided upon extensions and new facilities on the university grounds to be expanded will enable a future prolongation of the Plusbus line at its eastern end.

Now all interested parties are looking forward to the success of the new system, which should very soon be reflected in rising passenger numbers on the entire Aalborg’s public transport network.

A video about the new system is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zlfd1MReWI

University terminus | © Simon Andersen
Two double articulated e-buses in in the western part of the city of Aalborg | © Simon Andersen