BY EXQUI.CITY FROM BRUSSELS AIRPORT TO BUSWORLD EUROPE
Flemish public transport operator De Lijn previously ordered 14 Van Hool Equi.City 'trambuses'. The first one made its maiden trip on a dedicated bus lane on 25 October 2019. The buses will be delivered this summer and go into service in September, right before the start of Busworld Brussels in Octobre. The 14 'trambuses' will operate between Brussels Airport Zaventem and Brussels Expo, where Busworld Europe will have its 25th (!) edition. Busworld visitors who arrive at the Brussels airport will have the opportunity to be a passenger on Belgium's first BRT like system.
Flemish Minister of Mobility Ben Weyts attended the first trip this week in the new Van Hool Exqui.City on the new dedicated bus lane from the Belgian city Machelen to the airport in Zaventem. It will be part of the future bus line named 'Ringtrambus' in Brussels of which 16 kilometre will consist of dedicated bus lanes. De Ringtrambus is the first part to be realized of the bigger project 'Brabantnet', where three high quality bus lines will realize a better connection between the cities surrounding Brussels and the capital itself. A project that will take three years to be developed. “With the new trambus and the dedicated bus lanes, the quality and speed of the connection, we believe we can get more commuters out of their cars and into these new plubic trambuses”, says Minister Weyts. It is their understanding it can reduce the number of cars going into Brussels by 10,000.
The double articulated Exqui.City De Lijn has ordered will be 24 metres long with a capacity of 137 passengers (51 seated, 86 standing). Four wide doors and an overall low floor give a typical BRT-access. The fourth axle is a steering one. The driver who has his workspace in a secured cabin will monitor passengers getting in and out of the bus by cameras. De Lijn is investing in a low emission bus fleet. These new Van Hool's are hybrid buses, diesel/electric and will, according to Roger Kesteloot, Managing Director of De Lijn, save 200.000 litre diesel per year.
The new Exqui.City's will be operating on the existing busline 820. Parts of this route already consist of dedicated bus lanes. De Lijn expects that travelling time over this 25 km long route will be reduced with more than 20 minutes. 25 streets and squares have to be modified to create the route. Along the BRT-route 23 kilometres of cycle lanes will be constructed with parking space for 930 bicycles and 600 trees will be planted. The 14 Van Hool Exqui.City buses will be the first of their kind operating in Belgium.