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October 03 2017
By Mel Holley

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

Innovative ‘friends and family’
seats for 54 Go-Ahead buses

A surprise exhibit, launched today (Wednesday) at Coach & Bus UK at the NEC, is an innovative ‘friends and family’ seating layout.

Being introduced by Go South Coast, the first of the 54 new ADL Enviro200 MMC buses to be fitted was revealed on the Mistral stand.

The £10m order for the 11.8m Euro 6 single-deckers is a major shift in design, takking cues from 40 Wrightbus’ StreetCar artics, initially introduced in York in 2006, which also had a rear ‘social seating area’. Since then, while there have been been occasional, one-off, distinctive seating arrangements, this is the first to take a radical step and go into series production; a big commitment to the concept by the operator.

Says Go South Coast MD Andrew Wickham: “I’m sure the whole concept will be a winner. For some time we’ve been pursuing a seating arrangement that provides a more sociable setting, creating a comfortable space for friends and family.

“We took the idea to ADL and it responded with this horse-shoe arrangement that creates a relaxed seating area or lounge-type environment at the back of the bus. It is complemented by a wrap-over skylight rear window. There are also USB charging points at all 35 passenger seats.”

The first 13 will be delivered in the next few weeks and go into service with its Thamesdown brand in Swindon. These will be followed by a further 41 in the first quarter of 2018 that will join the Morebus fleet in Poole and Bournemouth.

Adds Mr Wickham: “Our aim is to encourage more people to make good use of sustainable transport and we can do this by enhancing our customers’ travel experience.

“This initiative endorses that strategy and our ability to fund it is a direct result of more people choosing to travel with us.

“This ambitious project has been made possible thanks to the ingenuity and forward-thinking adopted by our own team and the design engineers at ADL.” 

Martin Brailey, Regional Sales Director at ADL, commented: “It has been a pleasure working with Go South Coast on this initiative. We have a long-standing relationship with them and it is fair to say they are a company that never stands still.

“Challenges like this enable us to rise to the occasion and stay at the forefront of the industry.

“I am sure this new design approach will usher in another era of inventiveness. Everything we can do to enrich the passenger experience and encourage people out of cars and onto buses is a step in the right direction.”

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