The slowest, but perhaps most remarkable Keolis bus can be found on the streets of Ghent. The first provisional buses ran on diesel, but since October, 6 electric People Movers have been in operation in Ghent city centre. They cover a fixed route within the pedestrianised area. Although the People Movers are primarily meant for people who have difficulty walking, anyone can use them.
These striking buses have attracted pedestrians’ attention for several months now. The people of Ghent and the tourists have predominantly positive opinions on the project. The People Movers are not only more environmentally friendly; they are also safer than the Sprinters that used to go around the city centre. "There is no noise pollution, because the buses do not make a noise. These electric vehicles also make the inner city more liveable," says a local resident.
The Ghent alderman responsible for travel and transport Filip Watteeuw is also full of praise for the electric buses: “The People Movers transport people who are finding it difficult to walk across the pedestrianised area.” According to Dirk Hellemans, Operational Director of Keolis Flanders, the idea will soon be copied by other cities. “Everyone immediately feels like taking a ride on this attractive vehicle.”
Two branches are cooperating on the project’s implementation: Gino Tours from Jabbeke secured the contract with the City of Ghent and Heyerick from Zulte is taking care of the actual implementation.
Riding a People Mover, which accommodates up to 8 people, is free of charge. Do expect the entire route to take at least three quarters of an hour, as the buses travel at an average 5 km/h.