The Swimming Dutchman

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A few days ago we wrote about flying cars. Today we’ve got a bus that swims.

Floating bus

The fact that the tour bus industry is in a state of constant flux and innovation is demonstrated by the latest wave of companies that are organizing tours on amphibious buses.

The tourism company “Lovers” ( has moved into the niche of providing transportation for passengers who have a layover of at least four hours at Amsterdam International Airport. They’re offering a tour from the airport to downtown on a bus that can get into the water once it reaches the port by lowering itself onto a special ramp. The bus then goes through several canals and points of interest for tourists before bringing the passengers back to the airport for their connecting flights. During its first three months in service, this tour has already had more than 15,000 participants.

The manufacturer of this bus-boat is a company called DAT BV (Dutch Amphibious Transport Vehicles); they currently make two types of vehicles for tourism: one for calm waters like those in Amsterdam, and another for rougher waters like the Maas River in Rotterdam.

The bus-boat that’s being used in Amsterdam uses a compound green technology: once the bus gets into the water, the propulsion switches from the gas motor to an electric system that is powered by a series of batteries that charge while the bus is on the road. The bus is low enough to pass under the bridges and has 48 seats. The tour to and from the airport comes to €20.00 ($26.11 or £16.23) from downtown and €39.00 ($50.91 or £31.64) from the airport.

The model of bus-boat that provides service in Rotterdam is powered completely by a hydraulic diesel propulsion system and has more robust characteristics; it has 43 seats.

We at Rentautobus we see a lot of opportunities for the bus rental service companies in Spain. The same service that Lovers provides could be provided for passengers awaiting connecting flights at Barcelona Airport. A mid-day guided tour from the airport to downtown to the seaport could be a spectacular service for tourists who might not want to sit around bored at the airport while waiting for their next flight. It might also be an attractive service for tourists arriving in cruise ships as they won’t be afraid of being in the water.

Floating Bus in a river tour

Which Spanish rental company will have the gumption to try it first? Perhaps a modern company like Autocares Padrós or maybe Autocares Izaro? And since Spain has a lot of cities with ports and rivers, there are certainly many places where a company could surprise tourists with a “wet” tour.