Daimler Buses is celebrating 25 years of production of its familiar, Europe-wide city bus range, the Citaro, which has sold over 60,000 vehicles during its lifetime.
The Mercedes-Benz Citaro has become familiar in cities across Europe; whether it be the first or second generation, the classic bus, articulated bus or crowd-swallowing 21-metre CapaCity, and with a conventional drive or in the guise of the all-electric eCitaro, the Citaro set the standards for a generation of buses following its 1997 premiere at the UITP Congress in Stuttgart.
The low-floor model was joined by the low-entry Citaro LE in 2005, which brought about styling changes that were incorporated into the rest of the Citaro range in spring 2006, the year the range moved to Euro V emissions levels. Also in 2005, the four-axle Mercedes-Benz CapaCity articulated bus, derived directly from the Citaro, hit the roads, offered with a choice of Citaro-style or individually designed ‘metro’ styling, and the same year the first right-hand drive buses were produced.
After more than 32,000 buses, the second generation was launched in 2011. Maintaining the Citaro look, it brought a refreshed, more rounded style. The all-electric eCitaro made its debut in 2018.
The Citaro low-floor bus has also been used as the base for numerous special-purpose vehicles, the most well-known of which being the batch of 101 specially-bodied buses ordered by Hanover operator Üstra, designed to mark the city hosting the Expo 2000 World Exhibition in 2000. Police buses, mobile television studios, mobile energy advice centres and emergency patient transport vehicles are just some of the uses the buses have seen.
The Citaro has seen success beyond Europe’s borders too, and passengers can encounter the type in Mexico or Istanbul in their BRT systems, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Japan or even the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
The world’s first customer Citaro was handed to Hamburger Hochbahn on 27 November 1997. In 2000, the 1,000th Citaro went to Südwestdeutsche Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft, the 5,000th Citaro was delivered to Postbus in Austria, and the 10,000th to Alsa in Spain. The 15,000th Citaro went to Bergkvarabuss in Sweden, number 20,000 to Pflieger Reise- und Verkehrs GmbH in Böblingen, Germany. Linz Linien in Austria commissioned the 30,000th in 2012, while Voyages Emile Weber in Luxembourg had the 40,000th Citaro. The 50,000 Citaro mark was reached by a CapaCity for Wiener Linien in 2017.