Zagreb welcomed a team of European road testers to hop aboard three buses – two available in the UK – and for four days, they put them through their paces
With a field of four vehicles eventually reduced to three with the withdrawal of MAN’s Lions City at short notice, this year’s Bus Euro Test offered a mixed bag; two of the buses were electrics and one a diesel with light hybridisation.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times that there were no diesels, but the trio before us were cutting-edge vehicles; the articulated Irizar ieTram; the 12m Heuliez GX337 Linium Elec; and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro Hybrid.
Based on an extended version of ZET’s route 16, the range of conditions and road surfaces fully tested the vehicles’ capabilities. A driver change was incorporated at the halfway stage to ensure that everybody got to drive or travel on each vehicle. One drawback of testing electrics when charging is only available at the depot is that you have to leave them sufficient time to recharge, cutting down the time they are available for testing. This was a particular issue for the opportunity charged Irizar… much less so for the Iveco.
How the judging is done
In order to select the International Bus of the Year and, in alternate years, the International Coach of the Year, the Bus & Coach of the Year Jury stages a BusEuroTest to thoroughly assess the candidates.
It is a four-day process during which 20 specialist bus and coach journalists from 20 different countries undertake extensive road tests, carry out their own tests on vehicles, hear presentations from manufacturers and closely inspect the respective vehicles before the votes are cast following a detailed discussion session on the final day.
This year’s test, to decide the Bus of the Year 2019, was organised under the auspices of the Croatian magazine Kamion & Bus, represented on the Jury by Bosjan Pauser. Also playing a big part in the organisation was Zagreb resident, Goran Kekic, who combines journalistic and Jury duties with the Slovenian magazine Transport & Logistika with a role as press officer for ZET, the Zagreb transport company. ZET generously provided support and facilities throughout the event, including the use of one of its depots.
Zagreb did everything it could to make everyone welcome and promote the competition, with a Mayoral reception and traditional dancers in one of the city’s main squares as well as national television and local press coverage.
The BusEuroTest couldn’t be held without sponsorship and the longstanding collaboration with Busworld and ZF, each of which sponsored evening dinners, and the support of Goodyear Tyres and ZET was very welcome.
Now, to the road tests…