Floating bus to test the water for passenger service

Transport group Stagecoach is set to trial an amphibious bus on the River Clyde in Scotland next week.

A demonstration of the state-of-the-art vehicle, which can operate on water and roads, will be held at Renfrew ferry on Monday 8 February.

Stagecoach believes there is potential for a new 'amfibus' service linking communities on the Clyde, making use of existing slipways at Renfrew and Yoker. The 'amfibus' would run by road from Braehead to the Renfrew ferry slipway, cross the Clyde to Yoker and then travel on by road to Clydebank.

It would be a boost for local people facing the loss of the existing ferry service between Renfrew and Yoker from the end of March.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announced the decision last month as part of a series of cost saving measures. The current vessels - the Renfrew Rose and the Yoker Swan - are reaching the end of their working lives.

The new £700,000 'amfibus' can carry 50 passengers and is built in Holland by Dutch Amphibious Transport Vehicles BV (DATV) of Nijmegen.

Based on a bus chassis, the 'amfibus' incorporates a hull to allow the vehicle to float and is fully safety certified for operation on road and water.

On the road, the vehicle operates like a standard coach. In the water, it is driven by twin water jets and can achieve a speed of 8 knots.

Stagecoach has already carried out tests of the 'amfibus' in Rotterdam harbour, where the vehicle coped well from the wash from heavily laden barges and provided a smooth travel experience. The 'amfibus' being demonstrated next week is due to be used by Rotterdam Splash Tours for excursions around the harbour from next month.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group chief executive, said: "This is an exciting transport project that would provide a seamless bus connection between two important local communities. It shows the potential of Scotland's rivers and estuaries to be links rather than barriers to travel and we are looking forward to testing the technology on the Clyde."

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