It is called the Volvo Gran Arctic 300 and it measures no less than 98 feet (30 meters) from end to end. Capacity? 300 people between the trio of articulated segments.
It was developed by Volvo Bus Latin America specifically for Brazil’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system. It sits at the top Volvo’s “bendy bus” range on the continent, which also includes models that seat 150, 180, and 210 passengers.
The Gran Arctic is actually the second double-articulated bus that Volvo has built for the Brazilian market. The first was launched in the early 1990s and had a capacity of up to 270 passengers. Volvo reckons the new model’s higher capacity means fewer buses will be needed, cutting the cost per passenger for operators, and reducing traffic and emissions in Brazil’s congested cities.
Gallery: Volvo Gran Arctic 300
Speaking of which, the Gran Arctic’s massive size should not be too much of a problem, as it is mostly intended for use in segregated bus lanes. But I dare say there will be occasions when it has to join the normal traffic flow, where it will probably take up most of the road.
The president of Volvo Bus Latin America, Fabiano Todeschini, said: “We are leaders in vehicles for BRT and we are making available to the market the greatest coach in the world. This vehicle will provide more efficiency to organized transport systems, ensuring better quality of life for passengers and [being] more cost effective for operators.”
There are other makers of double-articulated buses in the world, even just in South America. But none produce anything on the same, gigantic scale as the Gran Arctic.
I actually live in a city that uses articulated buses and, as a motorist, I pretty much hate them. They simply take up far too much space. But I'll let you in on a little secret: in a former life, I was a bus driver, and the bus driver bit of my brain really wants a go in the Gran Arctic.