The FINANCIAL — On 28 November 2008, Omnibus Groß GmbH, based in the town of Rottenburg am Neckar, became the first private bus and coach company in Germany to put the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity high-capacity bus into service.
"This highly symbolic move by a private company unquestionably marks the start of an era of innovative local public transport for the town of Tübingen and its neighbouring boroughs", said ministerial head of department Klaus Tappeser at the official presentation. Just two weeks later, on 11 December 2008, four further Mercedes-Benz CapaCity models were handed over to Jakob Kocher GmbH in Tübingen. The five buses, all of which will serve the town of Tübingen, could have a lasting effect on future urban transport concepts. "The climate-protection initiative launched by the Tübingen transport operators means that innovative vehicles like the CapaCity can already start meeting the transport requirements of the future", says Holger Suffel, managing director of EvoBus GmbH.
Model town for innovative mobility
With more than 86,000 inhabitants and around 25,000 students, the university town of Tübingen is unique in Germany when it comes to mobility and transport infrastructure. Given the extensive public transport network, the need for an environmentally compatible urban transport system in Tübingen can be seen as representative of other towns. There are 37 bus lines in Tübingen, covering a route network of around 330 km in length. Over 17 million passengers were carried in 2007. And there are 225 bus stops throughout the town. With the exception of a few small areas, nowhere in Tübingen is more than 300 metres away from a bus line. And the vast majority of places are less than 150 metres away from the nearest bus line.
As in Tübingen, the CapaCity can provide the solution to many local public transport problems, even in other regions, not least because it concentrates operating efficiency on main lines whilst reducing fuel, driver, workshop and capital costs. What's more, the CapaCity meets passenger demands for more attractive local public transport concepts as well as local-authority demands for ecofriendly drive systems. Its engine complies with the EEV emission standard, meaning that it undercuts future emission limits.
Measuring 19.54 metres in length, the CapaCity can carry up to 193 passengers, while its low-floor design throughout, the stepless entrances and exits, and the wide doors allow fast passenger turnover. Despite its imposing length, the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity is as agile as a conventional articulated bus of around 18 metres in length thanks to its four axles (two of which are steered) and the articulation joint. The CapaCity's turning circle of 22.85 metres is exactly the same as that of the 17.94-metre long Citaro G three-axle articulated bus, meaning that the CapaCity is more manoeuvrable than other high-capacity bus concepts with a double joint or even those with a trailer.
Excellent directional stability and road adhesion thanks to four axles and pitch/roll control
The exceptional manoeuvrability of the CapaCity is largely down to an electrohydraulically controlled trailing axle. When driving forwards, having four axles instead of three, for example, further enhances directional stability and road adhesion. Meanwhile, the chassis – featuring independent front wheel suspension and a pitch/roll control system with variable shock absorber characteristics and control – is both safety- and comfort-oriented. In addition, the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity is fitted with the tried-and-trusted Electronic Brake System (EBS) in combination with anti-lock brakes (ABS) and acceleration skid control (ASR), including disc brakes all round and independent front suspension as standard.