Wakayama city and Nankai Electric Railway conducted an articulated bus trial run in the city on 6 March as part of their joint research efforts toward a Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), the Mainichi Shimbun has reported. The prefecture is pursuing an integrated resort and casino bid at Wakayama Marina City.
The joint bus project hopes to realize a high-speed BRT running on a dedicated bus lane on surface streets to efficiently transport visitors by the time an IR is implemented.
In the test run, an articulated bus with a capacity of 100 people was used. This particular bus is already in service at Osaka’s Kansai International airport, operated by an affiliated company. The trial bus departed Nankai Electric Railway’s Wakayamashi Station and took a route that connected JR Wakayama Station and Wakayama Marina City to see whether a bus of 18 meters in length would be able to safely navigate intersections and what impact it would have on passing vehicles.
Wakayama Mayor Masahiro Obana said the ride was successful and felt similarly comfortable to a train due to the bus’s low center of gravity and rolling motion. The low floor is also considered to be elderly-friendly.