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July 11 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Low-entry Leopard aimed squarely
at inter-urban routes

Plaxton is to deliver an all-new coach in 2018, designed for inter-urban work currently carried out by buses or high-floor coaches.

The front section of yet-to-be-named coach is based on Plaxton’s existing Leopard model, mated with Volvo’s Euro 6 B8RLE chassis.

Stagecoach has placed an initial order for the 14.5m tri-axles.

The low front provides access through a single door to a wheelchair bay and seats for less mobile passengers.

The total capacity is 53 seats. Deliveries, to as yet unspecified regions, are expected in April 2018.

The design bears some similarity to Wrightbus’ ‘commuter coach’, called the Eclipse Commuter, built on a version of Volvo’s B7RLE chassis with a higher floor section extended to the front axle.

Intended for longer distance work, only five were built a decade ago, mostly for Stagecoach West Scotland.

With the accessibility of coaches on inter-urban work an issue with the requirements to meet PSVAR, coupled with loading times and the inaccessibility of rural bus stops and most bus stations for conventional side lifts, it is thought this design will provide a better solution.

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