Hot ride: Japanese public transport has a new lease of life as a mobile sauna. Photo / Sabus, PR News Japan
The foggy windows and the swimsuits in public transport are a dream.
Unless, of course, your city bus is also a sauna.
A company in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan has turned the unloved city transport into a charming wood-framed sauna.
The old Shinki Bus which served the town of Himeji has been transformed into a “transport of delights” nicknamed the Sabus.
Composed of both Sauna and Bus, the service promises to be very hot this winter.
The old bus connections were once a point of pride for the Japanese city. Her cute cartoon mascot is a regular finalist in the Country Bus Character Championship, which is surprisingly big in Japan.
However, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, public transport in the city of Himeji has been going through rough times. Reductions in commuting and tourism over the past 20 months have resulted in many buses being taken out of service.
To encourage people to get back on their buses, Shinki has moved sideways to the mobile public saunas.
The hammam on wheels is an original idea of the Ribahsu company. A subsidiary of the Shinki Urban Network, according to the Japan Times, the word “リ バ ス” sounds both “rebirth” and “re-bus”.
The Shinki logo of a bird has been transformed into a phoenix, bringing warmth to the imaginative design.
Beyond the pun, the bus itself has a lot of quirky charm. Wooden seats and panels have been incorporated into the design alongside the original features.
Older stop buttons are designed to release steam when pressed.
The fully mobile on-road sauna will make a series of stops at festivals and events throughout February.
The Sauna Bus might be the hot topic for Ribahsu, but there are plenty of other designs in the works. The company aims to turn old models of buses into portable showers and toilets or emergency facilities that can be deployed at any time.
This is a project that Hyogo emergency services can get involved in.