Heat wave: New public transport buses without air conditioning

Heat wave : New public transport buses without air conditioning

The new public transport buses for Bonn do not have air conditioning, but rather cooling units that are not as strong as classic air conditioners. Most of the trams are completely without air conditioning or any kind of cooling system.

With temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius, riding on public transportation is not exactly a joy. A reader reached out to GA because the bus driver only switched on the cooling system at his request. "The drivers are required to operate the air conditioning", explains Veronika John of the Stadtwerke (SWB), the public transportation authorities.

Of the approximately 190 buses, only a number of them have a classic air conditioning system, found in the older models, the cool air generated by a compressor. The rest are only equipped with cooling units. Vehicles acquired after 2013 have an automatic (temperature control) system that drivers cannot influence. "At outdoor temperatures above 17 degrees Celsius and cabin temperatures of 22 degrees, the cooling mode is automatically activated," says John. The system cannot be switched on before that. The decision to use only cooling modules instead of air conditioners is, according to information from the SWB, based on a decision by the city council. In contrast to the classic air conditioning systems, the vehicles are more economical in consumption and climate-friendly.

Passengers probably don’t feel the effects of the cool air very much because of the doors opening at every stop, and warm air flowing in. To make matters worse, the stops are especially close together in urban areas. There is not enough time for the bus to cool down. Karl-Peter Naumann is a spokesperson for passenger association Pro Bahn and he says there are no legal requirements (when it comes to cooling). On trains, air conditioning is generally required but in local urban traffic, requirements differ from city to city.

Most of the SWB trams are largely without cooling. The few that do have air conditioning are used on the routes of lines 16 and 18. A decision on whether or not to fit trams and buses with air conditioners is a matter of cost and weight, as the cooling systems have to be transported throughout the entire year, even if they are only used for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the SPD party is calling for standard air conditioning equipment on new trams and buses, and it should be run with climate-friendly cooling. "If we want to convince more people in Bonn to use public transport ... we need to increase attractiveness and quality. This includes that buses and trains have sufficient air conditioning in the hot weeks of the year," says Angelika Esch of the SPD fraction.

(Orig. text: Sabrina Bauer / Translation; ck)

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