Buses get heavier and withstand larger and larger loading capacities the further we move into the twenty-first century, as the technology and engineering surrounding mass transportation also advances forward with the times.
This engineering phenomenon has led to the creation of some truly massive machines that allow humanity to move large groups of people at once, particularly in high tourism areas. These buses are some of the heaviest in the world and are designed to navigate some of the most crowded street traffic.
Ten of the heaviest buses in the world from lightest to heaviest, according to curb weight or gross vehicle weight in pounds (lb) are as follows:
- NABI 60 LFW – 42,800 lb curb weight
- New Flyer DE60LF-BRT – 43,700 lb curb weight
- NABI 60 BRT – 47,200 lb curb weight
- IRISBUS CIVIS – 47,300 lb curb weight
- APTS Phileas 80/85 – 47,600 lb curb weight
- Volvo 9700 – 49,400 lb gross vehicle weight
- Setra S417TC – 50,534 lb gross vehicle weight
- Prevost H3-45 – 53,000 lb gross vehicle weight
- Van Hool CX45 – 54,000 lb gross vehicle weight
- MCI J4500 – 54,000 lb gross vehicle weight
A bus’s curb weight is the weight of the bus with standard equipment installed and a 90% full fuel tank, whereas a bus’s gross vehicle weight is the weight of the bus itself as well as any intended passengers and cargo.
Read on to find out more about each of these monster machines and how much they weigh.
1. NABI 60 LFW
Photo taken by Ian Fuller
Weight: 42800 lbs (19413 kg)
The NABI 60 LFW is a bus by the North American Bus Industries (NABI) and is a 60-foot low floor articulated bus that was manufactured from 2002 through 2008.
This bus features a Detroit Diesel Series 50 engine with a dry weight of 2230 pounds (1011 kg) and a ZF 5HP602C transmission weighing 192 pounds (87 kg). The total estimated curb weight of the NABI 60 LFW is 42,800 pounds (19413 kg).
In 2009, all NABI 60 LFW buses were abruptly pulled from service following a series of recorded structural problems such as poor suspension, malfunctioning rear doors, and weakness of the articulation joint.
2. New Flyer DE60LF-BRT
Weight: 43700 lbs (19821 kg)
The New Flyer Low Floor (LF) 60-foot articulated bus was designed for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems and was manufactured by New Flyer Industries from 1991 through 2014.
The LF line of buses was discontinued when New Flyer Industries introduced the Excelsior bus in 2014. New Flyer LF buses were sold with a variety of motors ranging from conventional diesel and combustion engines to electric hybrids and buses powered by hydrogen fuel cell.
Many New Flyer DE60LFs run on a Cummins ISL engine, which weighs in at just over 1764 pounds (800 kg). The total estimated curb weight of the New Flyer DE60LF-BRT is 43700 pounds (19821 kg).
3. NABI 60-BRT
Weight: 47200 lbs (21409 kg)
The NABI 60-BRT is a 60-foot low floor articulated transit bus that was first delivered to work the Los Angeles mass transportation system in 2005. The NABI 60-BRT’s passenger capacity (including standing room) is 119 people including the driver.
NABI was acquired by the transit corporation New Flyer in 2013, and all the NABI’s products, including the NABI 60-BRT, were discontinued by 2015. The NABI 60-BRT hybrid model was used on the Orange Line of Los Angeles County, the first dedicated BRT corridor in America.
The total estimated curb weight of the NABI 60-BRT is 47200 pounds (21409 kg). The measured curb weight of the front axle is 10940 pounds (4962 kg), the measured curb weight of the middle axle is 12840 pounds (5824 kg), and the measured curb weight of the rear axle is 22090 pounds (10020 kg).
4. Irisbus Civis
Weight: 47300 lbs (21454 kg)
The French-built Irisbus Civis is an articulated transit bus designed for the bus rapid transit system of Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas was the first and only operating system of the Civis in North America.
The Civis is a diesel-electric hybrid and features self-guidance that allows the bus to steer itself while the driver maintains control over acceleration and braking functions.
The total estimated curb weight of the Irisbus Civis is 47300 pounds (21454 kg).
5. APTS Phileas 80/85
Weight: 47600 lbs (21590 kg)
The Phileas 80 and 85 are rapid transit buses developed by Samenwerkingsverband Regio Eindhoven (SRE) and are named after Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.
The Phileas 80/85 were originally designed to be operated without a driver via magnetic guidance system, but this system has since been discontinued by the regional authority for urban transit in Eindhoven.
These buses have been procured for tourism purposes by Istanbul, but due to routine overcrowding of the buses that far exceeds their recommended carrying capacity weight, modifications were later made to the bus axles to mitigate the problem.
The total estimated curb weight of the APTS Phileas 80/85 is 47600 pounds (21590 kg).
6. Volvo 9700
Weight: 49400 lbs (22407 kg)
The Volvo 9700 is a coach style travel bus introduced by Volvo in 2001 as a replacement model for the Carrus Star bus and the Vector/Regal model lines.
The Volvo 9700 has a total estimated gross vehicle weight rating of 49400 pounds (22407 kg). The front axle has a capacity of 16500 pounds (7484 kg) and the rear axle has a capacity of 32900 pounds (14923 kg)
In Sweden, Norway, and the northern part of Finland, the Volvo 9700 is available as a bruck, or a bus-truck hybrid, for the function of transporting heavy cargo. The bruck style Volvo 9700 went out of style after the mid-engined B12M bus chassis was discontinued in 2009.
7. Setra S417TC
Weight: 50534 lbs (22921 kg)
The Setra S417TC has a gross vehicle weight of 50534 pounds (22921 kg) and is manufactured by Setra, a German bus division of EvoBus GmbH. The name “Setra” comes from the German word “selbsttragend”, which means “self-supporting”.
This refers to the integrated nature of Setra’s bus engineering standards back in the 1950s, when all its closest competitors still featured a separate chassis and body.
The designation S417 is meant to classify the S417TC in two ways. The 400 class means that the bus features a high floor construction (no wheel arches in the passenger cab) and the “17” means that the bus contains seventeen seat rows. The “TC” stands for the model “TopClass”.
8. Prevost H3-45
Weight: 53000 lbs (24040 kg)
The Prevost H3-45 is a coach style travel bus with a gross vehicle weight of 53000 pounds (24040 kg) and seating for 56 passengers. Prevost is a subsidiary of Volvo and is located out of Canada. Its wet weight with a standard transmission is 38700 pounds (17554 kg).
One standout feature of the Prevost H3-45 is the luggage space, with this coach billed as having the most luggage space out of any coach style passenger bus on the market. The Prevost H3-45 has over 500 cubic feet of underfloor cargo capacity.
9. Van Hool CX45
Photo taken by MW Transit Photos
Weight: 54000 lbs (24493 kg)
The Van Hool CX45 is a 45-foot motor coach found in Canada and the United States. The gross vehicle weight of a Van Hool CX45 is 54000 pounds (24493 kg). This motor coach can seat up to 56 passengers.
The Van Hool CX45 is manufactured by ABC Companies, the North American branch of Belgium’s Van Hool corporation. This motor coach was launched in November 2013 along the TX range of motor coaches in central Florida. The CX45 is an evolved model of the C2045.
10. MCI J4500
Weight: 54000 lbs (24493 kg)
The MCI J4500 is built by Motor Coach Industries, a branch of New Flyer Industries, a transit company based out of Canada. The gross vehicle weight of an MCI J4500 is 54000 pounds (24493 kg). The MCI J4500 has the distinction of being America’s best-selling motor coach.
The MCI J4500 was introduced to the market in 2001 at the UMA Expo in Atlantic City. This motor coach can seat up to 56 passengers.
Honorable Mention: Volvo Gran Artic 300
While no curb weight or gross vehicle weight specifications were readily available for the Volvo Gran Artic 300 at the time of this writing, no list of the heaviest buses in the world would be complete without mentioning this leviathan.
Billed and revealed as the single largest bi-articulated bus model operating on the planet today, the Volvo Gran Artic 300 is just shy of a hundred feet long and can seat up to 300 passengers. To put that in other terms, it’s like seating an entire movie theater full of people in one vehicle.
The Volvo Gran Artic 300 was designed specifically for use in Brazil’s bustling bus rapid transit system and launched in November 2016; due to its sheer size, the Volvo Gran Artic 300 could easily beat any other bus on this list for the title of heaviest bus in the world.