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April 02 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Plaxton launches interurban Leopard variant

49-seat, 12.8m accessible model has wheelchair bay opposite dual centre door; first for Lothiancountry

Lothiancountry will take eight interurban Plaxton Leopards on Volvo B8R

Plaxton has developed an accessible interurban variant of its Leopard coach. The first eight are for use by Lothian Buses’ Lothiancountry subsidiary on express services to and from Edinburgh under the Green Arrow brand, and they will be unveiled at the UK Coach Rally in Blackpool on 6-7 April.

The interurban Leopard is 12.8m long and it has 49 seats with three-point belts. It also has a double-width nearside centre door, both to reduce dwell times at stops and to permit the placement of a wheelchair lift as part of PSVAR compliance requirements.

Fully accessible

Mounted on the Volvo B8R chassis, the Lothiancountry coaches will have ZF’s EcoLife automatic gearbox. They will be used across its growing network, says Lothian Buses MD Richard Hall.

“To give commuters a credible alternative coupled with high levels of customer service means that our investment in these new coaches with improved accessibility has been designed with comfort and convenience in mind.”

The interurban Leopard, which Plaxton parent Alexander Dennis (ADL) says has been developed to meet Lothian’s specification, is tailored to the demands placed upon a vehicle by interurban work, explains CEO Colin Robertson.

Adds ADL Coach Commercial Manager Mark Ballam: “Interurban services are a growth market across the country when provided with the right type of vehicle.

“In addition to ADL’s wide range of specifications for our Enviro buses, the Plaxton line-up offers purpose-designed models including the new 49-seat Leopard interurban coach.” The first of the new models will be handed over to Lothian on Thursday 4 April. They will then be shown at the UK Coach Rally.

Strong ties

The deal for the interurban Leopards for Lothiancountry comes a year after Lothian Motorcoaches was launched with a batch of Panther-bodied B11Rs.

ADL and Volvo have also been favoured by Lothian for a batch of 42 B8L-based Enviro400XLB double-decker buses which seat 100 for use on Lothian’s urban network in Edinburgh. The first of those entered service recently.

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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019